China’s New Orwellian Social Credit Scoring System In Full Swing

21st February 2019 / United Kingdom
China's New Orwellian Social Credit Scoring System In Full Swing

From the South China Morning Post comes the updated story of China’s social credit scoring system that was being trialled in several provinces covering tens of millions of people last year. That same system has now been rolled out and is collecting billions of pieces of data every day as it builds a picture of all its 1.3 billion citizens. TruePublica reported in January last year that China was using social media as an official source of ID and the previous June TruePublica reported that pre-crime systems were also being trialled. Today we find out what the impact of government mass surveillance can really mean by looking at China.

After reading the report below don’t somehow think that this won’t happen in Britain. As an individual, you have no privacy and your every move is being documented. The government has been accused and lost cases in the highest courts both in Britain and Europe for its constant illegal violations. From listening to your calls, tracking your online activity, monitoring your interactions with friends to what you spend your money on and taking (and storing) ‘compromising’ images of you and your family.  The British government have been slammed by the United Nations privacy chief who said – Britain was now ‘worse than scary.’

Joseph Cannataci, the UN’s special rapporteur on privacy also accused MPs four years ago of leading an “absolute offensive” and an “orchestrated” media campaign to distort the debate and take hold of new powers. And Cannataci is right of course. Led by now Prime Minister Theresa May when she was in the Home Office, the British state has taken unprecedented powers over its citizens by doing what China is doing – spying on everyone with intent to use that information for its own agenda.

This is not the stuff of conspiracy theories. The British government, accused of scandal after scandal when it comes to privacy and surveillance lawbreaking have announced that a centralised biometric database is underway and the same with health records. It is not possible to escape these mass intrusions by the British government. So read the article below. Read what is being said and also understand the journalist is only allowed to say so much in the Chinese press – hence why the report comes across as being pro-social credit scoring – and then imagine living in a world where artificial intelligence, which can only function with mass data, makes all the decisions about what you can and cannot do.

By He Huifeng – SCMP: Millions of Chinese individuals and businesses have been labelled as untrustworthy on an official blacklist banning them from any number of activities, including accessing financial markets or travelling by air or train, as the use of the government’s social credit system accelerates.

The annual blacklist is part of a broader effort to boost “trustworthiness” in Chinese society and is an extension of China’s social credit system, which is expected to give each of its 1.4 billion citizens a personal score.

The social credit system assigns both positive and negative scores for individual or corporate behaviour in an attempt to pressure citizens into behaving.

Human rights advocates, though, worry that the arbitrary system does not take into account individual circumstances and so often unfairly labels individuals and firms as untrustworthy.

Over 3.59 million Chinese enterprises were added to the official creditworthiness blacklist last year, banning them from a series of activities, including bidding on projects, accessing security markets, taking part in land auctions and issuing corporate bonds, according to the 2018 annual report released by the National Public Credit Information Centre.

The centre is backed by the National Development and Reform Commission, China’s top economic planner, to run the credit rating system.

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According to the report, the authorities collected over 14.21 million pieces of information on the “untrustworthy conduct” of individuals and businesses, including charges of swindling customers, failing to repay loans, illegal fund collection, false and misleading advertising, as well as uncivilised behaviour such as taking reserved seats on trains or causing trouble in hospitals.

About 17.46 million “discredited” people were restricted from buying plane tickets and 5.47 million were restricted from purchasing high-speed train tickets, the report said.

Besides restrictions on buying tickets, local authorities also used novel methods to put pressure on untrustworthy subjects, including preventing people from buying premium insurance, wealth management products or real estate, as well as shaming them by exposing their information in public.

A total of 3.51 million untrustworthy individuals and entities repaid their debts or paid off taxes and fines last year due to pressure from the social credit system, the report said. The report highlighted untrustworthy problems at peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms and recent high-profile scandals in medical care that have caused public anger.

A total of 1,282 P2P operators, more than half located in Zhejiang, Guangdong and Shanghai, were placed on the creditworthiness blacklist because they could not repay investors or were involved in illegal fundraising.

Health care product maker Quanjian Group and vaccine maker Changsheng Bio-Technology were added to the creditworthiness blacklist because of their involvement in major health sector scandals.

Quanjian was accused of making false marketing claims about the benefits of a product that a four-year-old cancer patient drank, while Changsheng, the major Chinese manufacturer of rabies vaccines, was fined US$1.3 billion in October after it was found to have fabricated records.

Lawyers worry that the accelerated use of the creditworthiness system will violate an individuals right to privacy.

“Many people cannot pay their debt because they are too poor but will be subject to this kind of surveillance and this kind of public shaming,” a lawyer said. “It violates the rights of human beings.”


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