While almost the entire world seems to be scared and furious because a company (Cambridge Analytics) successfully used people’s data for marketing purposes, China is developing a social score credit system that should fright us.
The Chinese government’s project is using data to control the people, such as financial data and criminal reports, they are building a ‘profile’. The scary thing of this entire project is that they are also using online data — what we like, what we buy, what/who we follow — to build this database, in order to evaluate and give a rate to the country’s population.
Yes, the resemblance with Black Mirror and its ‘Nosedive’ episode — where everyone owns a social score given by other people and it affecting lives — is clear and strong, we can already see the results with something called ‘blacklist’: a Chinese Supreme Court’s list of “discredited” persons or entities that is part of the social score system. Once you end up in this list, you can’t buy properties, flight or train tickets, and access to other services.
Maya wang, Senior China Researcher for Human Rights Watch, told Marketplace.com, “The social credit system gives a very powerful weapon to officials, in a country with very unbalanced relations between citizens and the government.”
If we see what’s been happening lately in various parts of the world, we can understand that this trend, and China’s project, might be just at the beginning.
We’ve seen how a company like Cambridge Analytics can manipulate people’s perceptions in social media echo chambers according to their personal data (likes and dislikes, preferences and thoughts), so could social scoring be manipulated too
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