Robert's Thoughts

Comments (3) / June 30, 2024

Iceland is a small country (forty thousand square miles – about the size of Hungary), an island in the North Atlantic between Europe and North America. It is   peopled by four-hundred-thousand people mainly of Nordic descent, the large majority of which lives in Reykjavik, the capital city, a place that runs on geothermal power. (Google)

The country is teaming with volcanoes, geysers, hot springs and lava fields, not to mention extensive glaciers.  It also features spectacular Northern Lights.

There is a reason why Iceland is called the land of fire and ice. Here, volcanoes and lava tunnels exist in harmony with glaciers and ice caps. One minute you could be witnessing crystal formations inside an ice cave and the next minute, hiking up the infamous Eyjafjallajökull Volcano. The diversity of landscapes and natural phenomena is one of the top reasons why Iceland is so favored by tourists. (Wikipedia)

In addition to natural phenomena, Iceland is famous for taking leading strides in social issues such as gender equality and literacy. The country also prides itself for having great respect for Social Justice.

But consider this:

Every Iceland resident has to have an ID number called a Kennitala. Without one, life in Iceland can become tricky. It’s used for everything. From getting a membership at your local swimming pool to registering at university and opening an Icelandic bank account.

You cannot NOT have a digital ID to live in Iceland comfortably.

You can’t get the power turned on, get a phone number, buy or register a car, rent or buy a house, or even buy certain items without having a kennitala.

Here’s a mockup of an Icelandic identification number (kennitala) used to demonstrate how it’s constructed:

  Birth date (DDMMYY)

  Random number (20 to 99)


  Birth century indicator

The ID numbers are administered by Registers Iceland (Iceland’s civil registry). ID numbers are issued to Icelandic citizens at birth, and to foreign nationals in Iceland upon registration for residence. They are also issued for identification purposes for corporations and institutions.

Consequently, anyone can look up where you live, the license plate of your car, how much tax you pay, your phone number, your name…

Marrying the system with AI will give the government a formidable tool to exercise almost absolute control over practically everything happening in the country.

Over the coming years the government will make it impossible to opt out of the digital card ID system. Nothing will ever again be private, even your bank account with all its details.


P.S. Australia has also adopted the system.

3 Responses to :

  1. Jacob Potashnik says:

    Hmmmm… given how progressive Iceland is, I wonder how long it will take before the citizens realize how intrusive their system is and reject it? Would any true viking worth their salt accept this assault on individualism and privacy?

    Would we?

  2. Christian says:

    Iceland is far from the only country requiring the use of an identity number. I can’t recall for European and other countries, but in most, if not all, Latin countries you have to identify your “cedula” number for just about any important transaction. And for visiting foreigners, you have to provide your passport number, full name, place of birth and date of birth…(even to book access to a national park in Chile)! Very few people outside these countries reject this “assault on individualism and privacy”. However I do question how secure some of these systems are to prevent identity theft. Not to mention the prospect of AI mucking about these databases.

    Moreover, an interesting thing about the Icelandic “kennitala”, this identification number is used to access the “Book of Icelanders” genealogical database, which is necessary to ensure you don’t “marry” your cousin. It is extremely popular, read about it here:

  3. Veronique says:

    Scary! Worst of all, we’re all heading that way, and much worse is coming with AI. Not only will all people’s personal data be accessible to all, but their portrait, voice, body language etc will be too.
    Imagine the mess, confusion, misinformation and misunderstandings that will result, even without any bad intentions. As for deliberate mischief on every level – it’s really too awful to think about….
    But then I’m a pessimist.

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