China has started ranking citizens with a creepy 'social credit' system - here's what you can do wrong, and the embarrassing, demeaning ways they can punish you
The Chinese state is setting up a vast ranking system system that will monitor the behaviour of its enormous population, and rank them all based on their "social credit."
The "social credit system," first announced in 2014, aims to reinforce the idea that "keeping trust is glorious and breaking trust is disgraceful," according to a government document.
The program is due to be fully operational by 2020, but is being piloted for millions of people already. The scheme is mandatory.
At the moment the system is piecemeal - some are run by city councils, others are scored by private tech platforms which hold personal data.
Like private credit scores, a person's social score can move up and down depending on their behaviour. The exact methodology is a secret - but examples infractions include bad driving, smoking in non-smoking zones, buying too many video games and posting fake news online.
1. Banning you from flying or getting the train.
2. Throttling your internet speeds.
3. Banning you (or your kids!) from the best schools.
4. Stopping you getting the best jobs.
5. Keeping you out of the best hotels.
6. Being publicly named as a bad citizen.
A prototype blacklist already exists, and has been used to punish people.
There is also a list for good citizens — that will reportedly get you more matches on dating websites.
They can also get discounts on energy bills, rent things without deposits, and get better interest rates at banks.
Despite the creepiness of the system — Human Rights Watch called it "chilling," while Botsman called it "a futuristic vision of Big Brother out of control" — some citizens say it's making them better people already.
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