Leader of Russian Church Opposes Total Digital Control Over People

"The development of total control over man means slavery, and everything will depend on who will be the master of these slaves," said Patriarch Kirill, leader of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Originally appeared at: Union of Orthodox Journalists

The Church is strongly opposed to the use of digital technology in ensuring total control over the person. The Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, said this in a traditional Christmas interview, the text of which was published on the Patriarchy.ru website on January 7, 2021.

"Digital technologies are able to create tools that provide total control over the person," said Patriarch Kirill. “Nothing like this could have happened in the past. Human thought, technical civilization today have reached a level where, by implementing digital technologies, it is possible to ensure total control over the human person. Not just observing a person, but managing human behaviour.”

He reminded that the book of Apocalypse speaks of total control over the person, accompanied by the coming of the antichrist.

"These words are not used there, but it is quite clear from the content that we are talking about the ability to totally control human behaviour," said the Primate of the ROC. "It says that the seal of the antichrist will be placed on a person's forehead, and without this seal, it will be impossible to buy, sell or participate in any social relations – a person will be doomed."

According to him, the devil is not in the form of a villain, but in the form of an angel of light (see 2 Cor. 11:14), and the coming into the world of the antichrist will be accompanied by the appearance of an amazing man who, by his intellectual power and influence will be able to bring humanity out of the crises in which it has fallen. This person will suggest that in order for all crime to leave our lives, let us be guided by the fact that each person has a key to everything he/she needs. For example, it can be a card – you apply it and get access to food, education, and if you do not have this card, then everything is lost.”

The head of the ROC explained that he cited the example of the Apocalypse and the Antichrist, “to convince those people who may not have thought about it yet, that the maximum development of total control over man means slavery, and everything will depend on who will be the master of these slaves."

"That is why the Church is categorically against the use of digital technologies in ensuring total control over the human person," said Patriarch Kirill.

Earlier, the Synod of ROC declared that the use of digital identifiers and wide collection of personal data has to be controlled by the society and the Church as a public institution.