May 7, 2018

China Social Credit System: Part One

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08.05.2018, by Nakisha Alibaks

Big Brother is Watching You

In 2014, China announced the Social Credit System. This system aims to reinforce the idea that keeping trust is glorious and breaking trust is disgraceful. By setting up this system, the behaviour of the population will be monitored and ranked, based on their social credit. It works as a mass surveillance tool with the help of big data analysis technology. A person’s social score can move up and down depending on their behaviour. However, it is not known what triggers the social score to go up and down. In 2020, the program is due to be fully operational. However, it is already being piloted for millions of people already.

In what is called an attempt to promote “trustworthiness” in its economy and society, China is experimenting with a social credit system that mixes familiar Western-style credit scores with more expansive, and intrusive, measures. It includes everything, from rankings calculated by online payment providers, to scores doled out by neighbourhoods or companies.

Who is Affected by the System?

The Social Credit System will have a focus on four factors: Honesty in Government Affairs, Commercial Integrity, Societal Integrity, and Judicial Credibility. At the moment, the media only pays attention to the rating of the population. Besides monitoring the population, it is also meant to rate businesses that operate on the Chinese market. The system serves as a market regulation mechanism for businesses. For a business to have a high social credit system, they need to comply with the government policies and regulations. Businesses that have a high credit score will gain benefits, such as good credit conditions, lower tax rates, and more investment opportunities. Businesses with low credit scores will face unfavourable conditions for new loans, higher tax rates, investment restrictions, and lower chances to participate in funded projects.

There are a lot of actors that decide your score in the Social Credit System. Are you wondering what these are, read the China Social Credit System: Part Two.

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