China boasts of restricting millions from public travel due to low social credit scores
The Chinese government operated English news site, Global Times, tweeted recently that the government had restricted 2.56 million people from purchasing plane tickets, and 90,000 people from buying high-speed rail tickets during the month of July, due to too low of a social credit score.
China’s new social credit system will be fully operational by 2020, but it is apparently already in place across China.
Like a person’s financial credit score, a social credit score can move up or down based on your social behavior. In recent years, China has increasingly monitored its citizens activities through social media, and extensive facial recognition software.
“Bad behavior” can lower an individual’s social credit score, and “good behavior” can increase it.
Reported examples of “bad behavior” include: playing too many video games, spreading “fake news,” drinking too much, walking your dog without a leash, smoking where you are not supposed to, or simply being too noisy on a train or bus.
Last year, a reporter with Business Insider posted a video of his Beijing-Shanghai bullet train ride when a female voice announced over the intercom in English that people who travel without a ticket or “behave disorderly” — like smoking in public places — would be “punished according to regulations, and the behavior will be recorded in individual credit information system.”
Besides banning you from riding an airplane or train, other ways China can restrict its citizens for having too low of a social credit score include: throttling your internet speeds, banning you — or your kids — from the best schools, stopping you getting the best jobs, keeping you out of the best hotels, getting your dog taken away, or being publicly named as a bad citizen.
Could something like this be implemented in the United States? Most of the major corporate-media outlets in the U.S. have reported about China’s new social credit system as something negative, but I did find one exception. The Washington Post published an article last year titled: “The West may be wrong about China’s social credit system.”
The Washington Post is now owned by Jeff Bezos, founder and owner of Amazon.com.
Amazon.com is also selling facial recognition software in the U.S. to law enforcement and governments. (Source.)
To see what this might look like in the U.S. in the future, see Netflix’s show Black Mirror’s ‘Nosedive’ episode.
Here is a clip (warning: profanity in dialog):