China is developing a Social Credit System (SCS) to measure how trustworthy and productive its citizens are.
Basically, the system will follow all of your shopping, leisure, and financial habits and give you a score that will publicly known and compared to other citizens.
Wired explains the basic idea,
“Imagine a world where many of your daily activities were constantly monitored and evaluated: what you buy at the shops and online; where you are at any given time; who your friends are and how you interact with them; how many hours you spend watching content or playing video games; and what bills and taxes you pay (or not).”
Sounds like Black Mirror.
As for the policy itself, it maintains that this will make society more productive and trustworthy,
“It will forge a public opinion environment where keeping trust is glorious. It will strengthen sincerity in government affairs, commercial sincerity, social sincerity and the construction of judicial credibility.”
Critics of the policy are calling it Orwellian and dystopian. The government tracking your every movement with the help of BIG DATA is some scary shit.
That’s how Johan Lagerkvist, Chinese internet specialist at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs, sees the policy. He called it ‘ambitious’ but also noted the undeniably fucked up part of the whole thing. Lagerkvist told Wired,
“It is very ambitious in both depth and scope, including scrutinizing individual behavior and what books people are reading. It’s Amazon’s consumer tracking with an Orwellian political twist.”
Sesame Credit is one of the companies in charge of the new system. Li Yingyun, Sesame’s Technology Director, described how the scoring system will work,
“Someone who plays video games for ten hours a day, for example, would be considered an idle person. Someone who frequently buys diapers would be considered as probably a parent, who on balance is more likely to have a sense of responsibility.”
While Google, Facebook, Instagram and all our social media is already collecting all the data they want from our little lives, a government actively rating its own citizens citizens based on their activities and purchases is pretty scary.
Maybe it’s naive to assume that this isn’t already happening, but the whole rating system just seems rude. The Chinese government is putting all its slacker citizens on blast and I feel personally attacked.