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  • Chances are you might have heard about China's new social credit system.

  • You knowthe thing people are calling a scary dystopian surveillance program right out of George Orwell's book '1984.'

  • "It's almost like they're exporting dystopia."

  • "China's dystopian future. The world's first digital dictatorship."

  • It's been painted as a countrywide surveillance program that watches every single thing that you do.

  • From what you're posting online to the way that you cross a street.

  • But what would you say if I told you that a country-wide behavioral monitoring system is NOT actually a thing in China?

  • Well not yet, at least.

  • So China wants to set up a massive, state-sanctioned system that would rank every citizen based on their behavior.

  • "So basically it's meant as a tool to enforce all kinds of different laws, regulations, and other policies more effectively."

  • "By getting people to self-police their behavior."

  • "People and also legal entities, like companies."

  • "So this is not just about regulating people's behavior, but also companies."

  • Behavior considered 'good' by the government would get a better ranking than behavior deemed 'bad', which would get a lower ranking.

  • And if you have a bad score, you get punished.

  • You could be banned from flying.

  • Your kids could be prevented from attending good schools.

  • And you could even lose out on a good job.

  • And when reports of the system hit Western media, some people were terrified.

  • They compared the proposed system to that crazy episode of 'Black Mirror'.

  • But the idea of a credit system that tracks you in certain ways;

  • To determine how much or how little access you should have to certain things isn't new at all.

  • Take the United States, for example.

  • It has a financial credit system where a number of different factors determine your credit score.

  • If you don't have a good score, you can be denied housing, loans, or lines of credit.

  • And although it has its problems, it does serve a purpose.

  • It helps determine whether someone can be trusted to repay their debts.

  • In China, the world's most populous country and second-largest economy, there hasn't been anything like that.

  • So their proposal? The social credit system.

  • But China took the idea of credit one step further.

  • On June 14 2014, the Chinese government formally announced its plans to create their social credit system.

  • A policy it deemed essential in "Building a harmonious, socialist society".

  • "The way that this is presented in Chinese media is that, you know, China is a low trust society."

  • "There is no trust between market participants."

  • "Like, you can't really tell if a company or person's trustworthy, if they'll pay back the money."

  • "So this social credit system is kind of presented as a cure-all of China's trust-based and supposed dishonesty-based problems."

  • And under their proposed system, all behavior, not just financial, would be considered relevant in your ranking.

  • So if you're caught doing things like jaywalking;

  • Spending too much time playing video games;

  • Or posting things deemed inappropriate on social media, you could get penalized.

  • But the exact methodology that the state will use to determine what is and isn't relevant remains unknown.

  • And that is probably because the government is still figuring out how they want this system to be implemented country-wide.

  • "There are a number of cities that have kind of been designated as experimental zones in a way."

  • "Which is very common in China, that's often how Chinese policies are rolled out."

  • "You try them out in certain districts, counties, and cities first and then you roll them out."

  • And those pilots programs vary, some of them aren't as extreme as others.

  • There are those that aren't even digitally-based.

  • Meaning individuals have to be caught breaking the law or doing something deemed inappropriate in person.

  • Or have someone report on them.

  • And then there are those that monitor someone's social media and movement through camera systems.

  • And Ohlberg says, in some pilots, those who 'exhibit desired behaviors' get good grades and:

  • "Supposedly those people are also treated differently."

  • "If they have, like, an A or an AAA, they kind of get preferential treatment and interaction with government ministries with the local government."

  • "And in the future, an increasing number of different benefits."

  • But just because it's not currently as widespread or problematic as Western media has made it out to be;

  • Doesn't mean that there aren't significant ways the system could be misused.

  • "On the one hand it's supposed to make sure that companies that violate environmental regulations;"

  • "Or labor regulations get punished for that."

  • "But on the other hand it's also supposed to enforce very vague laws such as endangering national security."

  • Laws that, if used maliciously, can be used to target citizens.

  • We know that China has targeted and detained large numbers of ethnic Uyghur Muslims, placing them in government re-education camps.

  • And even though the Western media is sensationalizing the hell out of this story;

  • It is possible that once a nationwide credit system is implemented in China, it could be extremely problematic.

  • "Ultimately the idea that different governments or companies collect and centralize information about us;"

  • "Try to profile us, try to rate us, ultimately is a problem that's going to affect all of us, Chinese or not."

  • "Because even though what China is doing is kind of the extreme of this;"

  • "Ultimately it's a global problem that we are going to have to deal with."

  • What do you think of the idea of a social credit system?

  • Do you think it's a necessary step that needs to be taken?

  • Or do you think it's just an overreach by the Chinese government?

  • Make sure to let me know what you think in the comments below.

  • Thanks for watching Now This World and please don't forget to like and subscribe for more every week.

Chances are you might have heard about China's new social credit system.

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What Is China's Social Credit System? | NowThis World

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    Celeste posted on 2019/07/18
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