China Has Started Ranking Citizens With A Creepy Social Credits System

Weird | By Ian Anglin | April 9, 2018

People have always had fun with ranking systems, be it sports related and considering which teams or players rank where on current or all-time lists, comparing statistics like scored points, assists or goals; or perhaps playing online video games like Call of Duty and keeping track of who leads the scoreboard at hand. In a similar fashion what's in the works for China is a ranking system that subordinates the behavior of its vast population and there are certain consequences that come with it.

Bad Behaviors Lead to Lower Social Credit

China's ranking system in question observes the actions and behavior of the population and sorts the people depending on their so-called "social credit". This system was first heard of back in 2014 and as quoted in a government document its goals are, "keeping trust is glorious and breaking trust is disgraceful". As of now, the system includes millions of people and the predictions are that by 2020 it will be in full effect.

The current progress of the system is gradual. Some of the scores are kept by private tech platforms withholding personal information while others are in the hands of city councils. The system doesn't exclude the notion of a ladder and its version of "social climbing" alludes to people's social scores and how everyone's could rise or go lower based on their individual behavior. Part of the bad behaviors includes things like risky driving or smoking in areas where it is not allowed.

Low Social Credit Equals Adequate Punishments

There are definitely consequences i.e. punishments for people's bad behaviors. One of the possible penalties a person may get is the limitation of their traveling. For the people who have low scores the option to buy business-class train tickets may not be available. They may also get banned from getting tickets for local flights. In other words, both luxurious and everyday benefits may get taken away from people. In the future, if a person attempts to ride without a ticket - it will be punishable.

Other than losing travel privileges, the system may "come after" a person's internet connection. The possible reasons for this would be things like not paying bills on time, but also, in addition, a person should be careful not to play video games for too long or spend their money unwisely. Moreover, posting on social media could be questioned and if this involves sharing fake news especially if it's something related to terrorism then that should be considered a wrongdoing.

Good Behavior May Earn Some Rewards

As far as this system is concerned, actions such as bailing out on military assignments may lead to a person getting denied higher education. As an example from last year, 17 people who could be blamed for this weren't allowed to enroll in better schools, meaning their options to get in high school or move on with their studies were cut short. In relation, if people are to have low social credit then even their kids could possibly be prevented from entering certain private schools.

Aside from getting denied good education, people with low social credit may end up losing their option to apply for management jobs in regards to firms and banks that are belonging to the state. In addition, committing fraudulent crimes may result in severe blows to a person's social credit. People may also get denied access to luxurious hotels, but if their social credit is high they may even get a reward in the form of discounts.



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