In 2014, China announced its plans to initiate a new social credit system intended to “strengthen sincerity in government affairs, commercial sincerity, social sincerity and judicial credibility construction.” While the new system promised to “commend sincerity,” it also promised to “punish insincerity” (Source: Planning Outline for the Construction of a Social Credit System (2014-2020)). Please see an excerpt below.
A social credit system is an important component part of the Socialist market economy system and the social governance system. It is founded on laws, regulations, standards and charters, it is based on a complete network covering the credit records of members of society and credit infrastructure, it is supported by the lawful application of credit information and a credit services system, its inherent requirements are establishing the idea of an sincerity culture, and carrying forward sincerity and traditional virtues, it uses encouragement to keep trust and constraints against breaking trust as incentive mechanisms, and its objective is raising the honest mentality and credit levels of the entire society. (Source: Planning Outline for the Construction of a Social Credit System (2014-2020) – emphasis mine).
The implementation was scheduled for 2014 through 2020, and its effects are already being felt by millions, according to South China Morning Post.
Over 3.59 million Chinese enterprises were added to the official creditworthiness blacklist last year, banning them from a series of activities, including bidding on projects, accessing security markets, taking part in land auctions and issuing corporate bonds, according to the 2018 annual report released by the National Public Credit Information Centre. … About 17.46 million “discredited” people were restricted from buying plane tickets and 5.47 million were restricted from purchasing high-speed train tickets, the report said.
Below, is a video produced by South China Morning Post to explain the Social Credit System.
According to another report from South China Morning Post, China is actively watching its citizens through the use of drones (video below) and stationary surveillance cameras in conjunction with facial recognition, while it also monitors them via mobile phone applications and handsomely paid whistle-blowers.
For anyone living outside China, the initial response to reports about China’s Social Credit System may be ‘who cares,’ but it’s something that deserves a lot of attention, especially considering recent news concerning Amazon, Microsoft, and Google.
According to CNET, Amazon faced criticism due to facial recognition patents filed in 2018 for its RING video doorbell service, while Google’s Nest Hello video doorbells already included facial recognition software. Don’t worry though, Amazon and Microsoft have both asked Congress to establish rules for the use of the technology, but only after 90 advocacy groups united to write letters to Microsoft, Google, and Amazon demanding they do not sell their respective facial recognition technologies to the government.
Despite Amazon’s show of appeasement, the FBI is still testing Amazon Rekognition “as a means to sift through mountains of video surveillance footage the agency routinely collects during investigations,” according to a report by Nextgov.com.
Oh, and just ignore Google’s innocent omission that its Nest Secure home system has a (previously undisclosed) microphone that ties into its voice assistant. According to KVOA News 4 in Tucson, “Google said in a statement that the microphone wasn’t intended to be a secret and should have been disclosed.”
Nothing to see here, folks, please move along. None of this could possibly bear any connection to the series of articles published on this site in recent weeks.
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