China’s chilling ‘Social Credit System’ is straight out of dystopian sci-fi, and it’s already switched on

“It’s been in the pipeline for years: a sprawling, technological mass surveillance network the likes of which the world has never seen,” Peter Dockrill writes for ScienceAlert. “And it’s already been switched on.”

“China’s ‘Social Credit System’ – which is expected to be fully operational by 2020 – doesn’t just monitor the nation’s almost 1.4 billion citizens,” Dockrill writes. “It’s also designed to control and coerce them, in a gigantic social engineering experiment that some have called the ‘gamification of trust.’ That’s because the massive project, which has been slowly coming together for over a decade, is about assigning an individual trust score to each and every citizen, and to businesses too. According to China’s Communist Party, the system will ‘allow the trustworthy to roam freely under heaven while making it hard for the discredited to take a single step.'”

“To pull this off, the unprecedented scheme will harness the immense reach of China’s technological infrastructure: some 200 million CCTV cameras, according to a report by Australia’s Foreign Correspondent,” Dockrill writes. “The idea is these ever-watchful eyes will be hooked up to facial recognition systems, and cross-checked with financial, medical records, and legal records – with the whole apparatus regulated and interpreted by advanced, big-data-crunching AI networks.”

“For positive personal and social acts – such as paying bills on time, engaging in charity, and properly sorting your recycling – citizens get their score bumped up, which gives them access to perks, like better credit facilities, cheaper public transport, and even shorter wait times for hospital services,” Dockrill writes. “But if you break the rules, beware. People who are late with payments, or caught jaywalking or smoking in non-smoking areas, will be punished.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: And lo, a Brave New World was born.


    1. Why expect them to understand it? Below in this thread we have a plethora of odd assertions, including an attack on the germ theory of disease (citing an article that seriously argues that there is no such thing as scientific certainty.)

  1. I’m sure many people will suggest that we are doing this to ourselves voluntarily with systems like Facebook, but there’s a huge difference in sharing information with people voluntarily and having it quietly captured and used against you to control your behavior by the government.

    China is using gamification to control the population.

    Wired Article:

    1. The main difference is that the government is gathering the information there, here it’s businesses, and they use it for some of the same purposes. There’s a ton of new things that combine to make up your credit score, not just “how’s your credit?”

      1. Remember that the US credit rating system doesn’t rate how creditworthy you are but rather how likely you are to be profitable to a lender. These are related but different issues. If you pay off your credit cards immediately but never pay any interest, that actually hurts your credit rating. If you always owe a lot and pay the minimum payment on time, you’ll have great credit.

        In China, they call it trustworthiness but you KNOW they are also measuring whether you attend resistance rallies or buy books about democratic institutions or date a Westerner. The Party’s idea of trust is likely to just coincidentally align with the Party’s own interests.

  2. We’re taking baby steps. I can see this EASILY being adopted in California.

    California could make it seem like its a game to make society better, when its really a system to control your behavior, influence your votes, monitor what you say on social media etc. We are going full blow fascist in California, and I don’t know if there’s anyway back.

    There’s a bill on the governor’s desk waiting for his signature right now…

    “…California’s politicians seem to believe only some ideas are welcome—if those ideas have been “fact-checked” by the heavy hand of government-sponsored boards.

    “…“fact-checking” will be deployed against those who express doubt, for example, about climate change, vaccine safety, or “educating” children about gender dysphoria…”

    Anytime the government touches the Internet, bad things happen.

    Authoritarianism is alive and well in California. I would not bet on California not creating a system similar to China’s.

    The one thing they really can’t stand, is us talking to one another. Calmly.

    1. It’s ANY state really, I mean, don’t tell me that if you could erase all backwards wrongheaded liberal thinking from books and the internet that you wouldn’t do it. 🙂 I know I’m ALL in favor of limiting the ability for non-conservatives to vote. Any normal person WOULD be. Then, you simply force California to comply!

  3. Whoever writes the laws shapes governance and controls people. In China, it’s the Communist Party while in the US, It’s the Corporation Party.

    Who does not write the laws? The lower and middle classes.
    How do top officials assure compliance? They starve and marginalize lower and middle classes so they have to beg for resources that are hoarded by the 1% of both nations. But this bullshit is not limited to just China and the US; It’s world-wide and even in Tibet, Rojava, and Iceland.

    As much as any Capitalist corporation is able to mitigate the effects of budding Stalinistic practices world-wide, Apple is the best; the most trustworthy which is why I favor Apple products.

  4. A New World Order is coming folks. They will control your every move when it comes to buying, selling and living. It will be the United Nations that will control every one of us and that scares me to death. Technology is a wonderful tool to have but in the wrong hands it spells Disaster! Just IMO though. 🙂

  5. Ha, I remember pres. Klinton saying that if we let China get trade privileges, they would probably open up their society. Boy was he wrong on this one (at least so far…). And this happened after he was given illegal contributions from the communist Chinese government and then what appears to be pay back by granting them (along with the Republican congress who pushed if for free trade reasons, not political payoff) PNTR which lead to the most US manufacturing jobs lost in US recorded history according to the St Louis Federal Reserve MANEMP data/graph.

    Basically, he SCREWED america for some cash that he had to give back after getting caught.

    Now we see China going full surveillance of its people 23/7/365 watching to see if you’re a good communist.

    What a fucking joke and thank you Klinton for giving China millions of our manufacturing jobs. You fucking piece of socialist shit…

      1. Nixon didn’t grant them PNTR and after receiving illegal donations. Clinton did AFTER he received illegal contributions. Nixon got the ball rolling and that’s all the ball did, roll a little and roll a little.

        Clinton took the ball and economically bombed America with it.

      2. “Nixon got the ball rolling?” What the hell does that mean?

        “Clinton, while signing the NAFTA bill, stated that “NAFTA means jobs.” also from Wiki.

        No, not USA jobs. As Ross Perot famously said about NAFTA the “giant sucking sound” will have a negative affect on USA jobs. He was most certainly right and ahead of his time.

        Obama continued the meme by saying “those jobs aren’t coming back.” Two Democrats making excuses for their incompetence.

        President Trump is smarter than those two put together and PROVING how wrong they are in less than two years. Simply amazing…

        1. acclaimed for skillfully engaging the Chinese that had been largely, up to that point, mostly inward focused.

          I always remember Nixon’s efforts as one good point to his administration. All other’s efforts prior, fizzled. Yes, his efforts may have led to China’s ability to “score” on American, but it was the president who really knows how to score who owns it. Thanks BIll.

    1. To pin this exclusively on Clinton is simplistic and wrong. Since Nixon, EVERY administration was working towards the same two goals, and was trying to open China up to American business as well as hopefully nudge China in a more democratic direction and weaken the communist party. This seemed reasonable under Deng Xiaoping and Jiang Zemin in the 80’s and 90’s, but political forces within China then veered more sharply nationalist in the past 15 years, with hardliners in the Communist party and military regaining power. As for the trade side, blame your local congressman before you blame Clinton. The payoffs of US corporations to Congress were much more effective than any contribution to Clinton by China would have been. It is Congress that screwed America by allowing China into the WTO without more restrictions to begin with and then allowing China full rights without further monitoring. Anyone, regardless of party, that wants to fix decisions like this that hurt American PEOPLE should support drastic campaign finance reform, beginning with reversing the Citizens United decision. Coprorations are clearly not people, and have their own interests in the name of maximizing profits that are in pretty direct opposition to the best interests of the actual people that work for them. The business methods of US corporations are just as damaging to American people as Chinese government trade practices are. I say this as someone who has spent most of my life doing business in China as well as working with large US corporations.

  6. most countries have similar systems, it’s only the extent that is different

    Have a criminal record in North America and all kinds of things are denied you like working in jobs involving money, children etc.
    (I have a clean record but for various jobs i had to do police checks, some every two years while on the job)

    Extreme cases even if you have served your sentence you are restricted to where you can go or live ( like for pedophiles)

    The governments keeps track of things like your driving record, again ‘bad’ behaviour results in penalties and demerits which again might limit you in the future.

    LITTER in some neighbourhoods and you get penalized and it goes in your record. In my town not separating recycling can also result in a fine. (echoes at the article about China and recycling)

    Have bad credit and it goes into your record and results in limits and penalties.

    There are millions of government CCTV cameras in most countries, not just China.

    if you have doubt about how extensive government surveillance is just read about people getting trouble with their passports.

    Various whistle blowers have already shown the widespread surveillance by NSA, CIA, Homeland , FBI etc and their use by government to control and coerce. FBI surveillance and action against civil rights leaders etc is well documented.

    In other several countries i’ve been to citizens carry computer i.ds that show your ethnicity, religion etc. Wrong religion and you are denied all kinds of services like business licenses, schooling etc.

    Again it’s the extent that China is trying to implement, not the fact that other countries are innocent

    1. Davewrite — I really must object to you trying to confuse the issue with FACTS and LOGIC. Furthermore, there is a terrible lack of inflamatory generalizations and name-calling.

  7. Not related to the article, but I haven’t visited MDN very often the past couple of months. The new insertion of ads into the actual comment threads will ensure I won’t bother reading very often. Kind of ironic how the MDN takes always find a way to bash Google’s lack of respect for privacy, yet their own website is cramming Google (badly) targeted ads down their readers throats.

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