China's Social Credit System - A Facebook-1984 Mashup
China is hard at work creating and implementing their Social Credit System which combines all the least likable parts of mass surveillance and big data analysis technology.
Initiated in 2014, the Social Credit System is essentially a measurement of each citizen, looking at honesty in government affairs, commercial integrity, societal integrity and judicial credibility. It is being implemented by the rather serious-sounding Central Leading Group for Comprehensively Deepening Reforms.
The tracking of individual behavior in China has become easier as economic life moves online, with apps such as Tencentís WeChat and Ant Financialís Alipay a central node for making payments, getting loans and organizing transport. Accounts are generally linked to mobile phone numbers, which in turn require government IDs.
The final version of Chinaís national social credit system remains uncertain. But as rules forcing social networks and internet providers to remove anonymity get increasingly enforced and facial recognition systems become more popular with policing bodies, authorities are likely to find everyone from internet dissenters to train-fare skippers easier to catch -- and punish -- than ever before.
Fans of the amazing science fiction author Jack Vance may recall a less formal but no less rigorous social system from his incredible 1976 story The Moon Moth:
Intricacy in all things: intricate craftsmanship... intricate symbolism... and above all the fantastic intricacy of personal relationships. Prestige, face, mana, repute, glory: the Sirenese word is strakh. Every man has his characteristic strakh, which determines, when he needs a houseboat, whether he will be urged to avail himself of a floating palace... or grudgingly permitted an abandoned shack on a raft. There is no medium of exchange on Sirene; the single and sole currency is strakh.
(Read more about strakh)
Younger readers may recall the concept of whuffie from Cory Doctorow's 2003 novel Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 11/21/2018)
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