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China Prepares to Rank Its Citizens on ‘Social Credit’
December 11, 2015 Blog big data

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China government authorities are hard at work devising their own e-database to rate each and every one of the nation’s 1.3 billion citizens by 2020 using metrics that include whether they pay their bills on time, plagiarize schoolwork, break traffic laws or adhere to birth-control regulations. And there’s no opt-out option.

Proponents of the so-called Social Credit System say it will help China overcome a multitude of societal ills for which it has gained international ignominy, from food and drug safety scandals to flagrant corruption, counterfeiting, tax evasion, academic cheating and even public defecation.

But some fear that marrying FICO-style credit scores with school, employment, criminal and other records will create the ultimate Orwellian instrument of social control in a one-party state, which in recent years has shown less and less tolerance for critical voices.

The Chinese government already has a back door into everything on your phone and on the Internet, so this isn’t exactly a new way to control people’s lives.