Bloomberg reports, Nov. 21, 2018, that the Chinese Communist government is on course with a program to track and rate the behavior of each of its 1.3 billion people and assign social credits or points that will be used to reward or punish. The program will be implemented in two years, by the end of 2020.
According to the plan, various agencies, including tourism bodies, business regulators and transit authorities, will link their databases to get a detailed picture of every resident’s interactions across a swathe of services.
The tracking of individual behavior is made possible as economic life moves online, with apps such as Tencent’s WeChat — a multipurpose messaging, social media and mobile payment app — and Ant Financial’s Alipay — China’s leading third-party mobile and online platform for making payments, getting loans and organizing transport. Accounts are generally linked to mobile phone numbers, which in turn require government IDs.
More than a dozen cities have announced the plan, including Hangzhou and Beijing:
- On November 17, 2018, Hangzhou, a city in Zhejiang, eastern China, rolled out its personal credit or point system, whereby the behavior of every citizen 18 or older will be tracked. Those who exhibit “pro-social behaviors” such as volunteer work and blood donations will be rewarded, while those who engage in anti-social behaviors such as violating traffic laws and charging under-the-table fees will be punished.
- On November 19, 2018, the Beijing municipal government posted its social credit plan on its website. The city will pool data from several departments to reward and punish its 22 million citizens based on their actions and reputations. Those with better social credit will get “green channel” benefits. Those who violate laws or are deemed untrustworthy will be “unable to move even a single step”. According to the website, the social credits plan was written on July 18, 2018.
Already, as of last May, people with bad social credit in China have been blocked from booking more than 11 million flights and 4 million high-speed train trips, according to the National Development and Reform Commission.
The final version of China’s national social credit system remains uncertain. But as rules forcing social networks and internet providers to remove anonymity are increasingly enforced and policing bodies increasingly employ facial recognition systems, the government will find it easier to identify, catch, and punish those deemed anti-social, from internet dissenters to train-fare skippers.
Facebook has already acquiesced to Beijing’s totalitarianism.
In June 2018, Facebook admitted it has data-sharing “partnerships” with at least four Chinese electronics companies — Huawei, Lenovo, Oppo and TCL — at least one of which, the manufacturing giant Huawei, has a close relationship with China’s government and has been flagged by American intelligence officials as a national security threat. The agreements, which date to at least 2010, give the companies private access to some Facebook user data. (New York Times)
No doubt the Left would dearly love to implement such a “social credits” system on Americans.
Already, there is a proposed bill in the New York State Assembly, S. 9191, that would require a review of one’s social media and Internet search engine prior to the approval of an application or renewal of a gun license.
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