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Jordan Peterson raises concerns about government collaboration with banks, warns of growing surveillance state during hearing.

Psychologist and author Jordan Peterson expressed concerns to members of the U.S. Congress about the potential dangers of governments collaborating with banks and the use of new technologies such as digital identity systems and central bank digital currencies. He warned that these could pave the way for totalitarian surveillance states.

“The combination of both can and will facilitate the development of a surveillance state, the scope of which optimistic pessimists of totalitarianism such as George Orwell could scarcely imagine,” Mr. Peterson said on Capitol Hill on March 7.
Mr. Peterson shared these views during a session of the House Judiciary Committee’s Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government. Committee chair Republican Jim Jordan had revealed earlier in January that the U.S. government had flagged bank transactions using terms associated with former President Donald Trump.

Mr. Peterson highlighted a global trend of collaboration between “gigantic, self-interested corporations, and paranoid security-obsessed anti-human governments.” He elaborated on how they are utilizing online data and advanced algorithms to create detailed profiles, not just of actions but also of thoughts and words, enabling them to control and manipulate deviations from their desired norms.

Concerning the tracking capabilities of corporations, Mr. Peterson emphasized their ability to monitor purchasing behaviors, online activities, and even predict future actions based on algorithms, leading to a potential scenario where everything people do and say can be tracked, monitored, and penalized.

Mr. Peterson also raised red flags about Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC) being explored by certain countries, which have faced criticism over privacy concerns. While the Bank of Canada is considering the issuance of a CBDC, a report from August 2023 highlighted significant obstacles to adoption.

China’s Surveillance System

Mr. Peterson referred to China’s social credit system as an example of complete control exerted by the Chinese Communist Party over its citizens’ online activities. This system assigns each individual an electronic score that can be adjusted based on their behavior, affecting their access to employment, public transport, and banking services.

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“This allows you purposefully to be shut out of all activities that can be virtualized, and in a rapidly virtualizing world, this increasingly means all activities: driving, shopping, working, eating, finding shelter, even fraternizing with friends and family,” Mr. Peterson explained.

Mr. Peterson cautioned that Western countries, having followed China’s approach to lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic, might inadvertently be moving towards implementing similar social credit scoring systems. When asked about the use of surveillance and AI for enhanced safety, he warned against sacrificing privacy to address immediate threats, citing the long-term dangers associated with such practices.

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