Since 2018, the Chinese government has developed a so-called “social credit” system. Please note, this is not the system of Social Credit conceived by Douglas and advanced by Louis Even. In China, the words “social credit” have a completely different meaning and refer to a citizen’s rating system, aimed at controlling the population by rewarding good behavior and punishing bad behavior. Each citizen is awarded 1000 points, which is affected by their actions. Did you throw paper on the floor rather than in a trash receptacle? Such incivility will cost 50 points. A donation can earn 50 points. Reporting suspicious behaviour can add 200 points and thus snitching on others is encouraged. Low scores result in restriction on travelling by train or plane, renting an apartment, or even accessing a bank account, etc. The project is expected to be fully operational across China by the end of this year.
Mass surveillance of the population, not only on the internet, but also by millions of surveillance cameras installed across the country is essential for such an ambitious scheme. Imagine that every deed and gesture of a Chinese population of 1.3 billion people can be collected and assessed in individual profiles!
Every aspect of life becomes controlled. Are you late for a professional meeting or offend social network norms established by the state? Your social credit score is reduced. Are you a pedestrian and cross the street at a red light? You lose 50 points, and in less than three seconds, a camera has identified you thanks to a sophisticated facial recognition system containing the faces of all Chinese citizens. In Shenzhen, for example, the faces and identities of ‘guilty’ pedestrians are displayed on a giant screen until their fines are paid. Is such a system destined for the west? May God deliver us from such a technocratic dictatorship!