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China Pilots a System That Rates Citizens on 'Social Credit Score' To Determine Eligibility For Jobs, Travel (technologyreview.com) 204

Speculations have turned out be true. The Chinese government is now testing systems that will be used to create digital records of citizens' social and financial behavior. In turn, these will be used to create a so-called social credit score, which will determine whether individuals have access to services, from travel and education to loans and insurance cover. Some citizens -- such as lawyers and journalists -- will be more closely monitored. From a report on MIT Technology Review: Planning documents apparently describe the system as being created to "allow the trustworthy to roam everywhere under heaven while making it hard for the discredited to take a single step." The Journal claims that the system will at first log "infractions such as fare cheating, jaywalking and violating family-planning rules" but will be expanded in the future -- potentially even to Internet activity. Some aspects of the system are already in testing, but there are some challenges to implementing such a far-reaching apparatus. It's difficult to centralize all that data, check it for accuracy, and process it, for example -- let alone feed it back into the system to control everyday life. And China has data from 1.4 billion people to handle.
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China Pilots a System That Rates Citizens on 'Social Credit Score' To Determine Eligibility For Jobs, Travel

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  • Black Mirror (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Yvan256 ( 722131 ) on Wednesday November 30, 2016 @10:30AM (#53392845) Homepage Journal
    • Goodness.....

      PLEASE powers that be....make sure this is one thing we do NOT import from China to the US.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Goodness.....

        PLEASE powers that be....make sure this is one thing we do NOT import from China to the US.

        I think the US already has it. It's called the No Fly List and they're trying to use it to take away some constitutional rights.

        • Goodness.....

          PLEASE powers that be....make sure this is one thing we do NOT import from China to the US.

          I think the US already has it. It's called the No Fly List and they're trying to use it to take away some constitutional rights.

          Second class citizenry. What could possibly go wrong. If only that was the basis of Trump's illegal immigration stance.

        • Actually, it's called slashdot.
      • by Noryungi ( 70322 )

        Oh, come on!

        Surely, the Right Honorable Gentleman does not think President Donald J. Trump, the Beloved, Magnificent, Wise, and All-Knowing Autarch or our Republic, would import such a vile thing to the USA, Land of the Free, Home of the Brave!

        Why, that would be a treasonous thought of the highest order, worthy of an internal deportation to the Uranium mines of the Great State of Alaska, at the very least!

        You have been warned, Citizen! Now, scurry about your business and let President Donald J. Trump, the B

      • Re:Black Mirror (Score:5, Insightful)

        by swb ( 14022 ) on Wednesday November 30, 2016 @10:49AM (#53393013)

        We will end up adopting this and already are at the margins, with car insurance rates often being tied to credit scores in addition to driving records.

        The power elite generally like what they see in China -- a system of enforced social standards, a system of laws backed by an authoritarian political system heavily influenced by money, and the ability to suppress dissent with the barrel of an AK-47. As long as the wealthy are able to influence the power elite and maintain economic status, what's not for them to like about China's system?

        • We are also seeing A Chinese Elite fleeing China.
          Either because most of their wealth is based in Taiwan or Hong Kong, or because they simply don't like Authority Figures outside of their own family.
          We are also seeing them staying, because things like Security is far easier to operate in a segregated 2nd world state.

          >"The power elite"
          Which one? Wall Street Co? Parts of the Bildenberg group? Tax Heaven Swindlers?
          I don't think there is what you think there is.
          There is also a legitimate risk of The Powerful

        • And the sooner we realize this the better. What you refer to as "Power Elite" are just the water carriers. America has a ruling class, and they do not reside in DC.
      • Too late. Banks are already closing the accounts of WikiLeaks and Californian porn businesses.
        Once this is accepted it's your turn to either 'behave' or to be excluded from society.
    • Also, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

      "Whuffie, a form of digital social reputation, replaces money and is a constantly updated rating that measures how much esteem and respect other people have for a person. This rating system determines who gets the few scarce items, like the best housing, a table in a crowded restaurant, or a good place in a queue for a theme park attraction."

    • Is it wrong that most episodes leave me saddened that we don't have the technology in these episodes. This merged with the "White Christmas: S2:E4" means you could just auto block all the fake morons with a 4.5 and higher. I'm sure you could also block keywords for other douche-bags and the like.

      Personally, I'd prefer a combo of "The Entire History of You: S1E3", "Be Right Back: S2E1", and "San Junipero: S3:4" With that, you have total recall and immortality.

    • Make sure you know where your mustard is, citizen! Fight the power! [pinimg.com]

      MeowMeowBeenz [youtube.com]

    • My first thought as well. I hoped this episode would put an end to these schemes. It's been tried before in the US too, by a company called Klout.

    • by jdavidb ( 449077 )
      It's so freaky to see this today, because yesterday my wife texted me at work and said "There's a show I want you to see. Black Mirror season 3 episode 1." I hadn't heard of it before, she showed it to me last night, and now I see this.
  • by Errol backfiring ( 1280012 ) on Wednesday November 30, 2016 @10:32AM (#53392865) Journal

    ... and violating family-planning rules

    So, in effect, you're f*cked twice.

  • Gotta wonder if they will have a system to challenge wrong data behind their 'no fly' list.

    • by Altrag ( 195300 )

      Of course they will. Its called "Bribery."

      As usual, only the rich really get access to it though.

  • After all, this is the perfect wrong-think system. Refuse to engage in political correctness or say something like "there are only 2 genders" or "free speech is an inalienable right" and you can have other things granted by the state taken away. Considering the triggered snowflakes going around these days, I'm sure they'd love it as well. Anyone want to take bets on the first western university to follow up and try implementing a system like it? A coercing version of no-platforming to boot perhaps?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Anyone want to take bets on the first western university to follow up and try implementing a system like it?

      That's the thought I had as well; if it ever gains a foothold in the US it will happen at some Slowflake U first.

      • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

        That's the thought I had as well; if it ever gains a foothold in the US it will happen at some Slowflake U first.

        Considering the absolute batshit insanity happening, I'll knock it down to 3 countries. Canada, Sweden or the UK will be the first with either a student union trying to implement it, or some student group pushing for it. The worst case will be a high school somewhere doing it first, especially since there are quite a few of them out there that like to monitor students social media already.

  • by Noryungi ( 70322 ) on Wednesday November 30, 2016 @10:38AM (#53392925) Homepage Journal

    The telescreen received and transmitted simultaneously. Any sound that Winston made, above the level of a very low whisper, would be picked up by it, moreover, so long as he remained within the field of vision which the metal plaque commanded, he could be seen as well as heard. There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live -- did live, from habit that became instinct -- in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized.

    We are getting there. Thanks for the warning, George. Too bad nobody listened.

    Coming soon to a country near you.

    • And oddly people continue to shout, rather than being listened to in a hidden manner.

      This is why I do not participate in things like Facebook. This is a wealth of information about what you do that is freely out there for the government to use for this kind of activity. They don't even have to have a listening device in your house, people voluntarily put all of this up there for them to parse and monitor on a daily basis. This is what the government (and never mind your future employer) will use to make
    • by xtal ( 49134 )

      Nobody thought we'd buy our own telescreens, though..

    • by sims 2 ( 994794 )

      You mean like the samsung tvs? https://yro.slashdot.org/story... [slashdot.org]

  • Extra Credits Channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]
  • Papers please!

  • While Cory Doctorow wrote about an interesting social currency, I'd not like to be judged on how I judge... I also don't want an always-on internet feed inside my head.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whuffie

    • Came here to post that. Glad I searched first!

      • And, just because the author used it in a story doesn't mean he liked the concept...

        In 2016, Doctorow stated that Whuffie "would make a terrible currency."

        Glad I searched first!

        CMD/CTRL-F ROCKS, btw... such a time-saver.

        • Forward-slash in Firefox here. I habitually hit Ctrl-S to do an emacs incremental search, but that doesn't work in any browser that I know of.

          Except maybe emacs.

  • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Wednesday November 30, 2016 @10:54AM (#53393071)

    I am sure for all of you who work in an organization with some sort of performance monitoring method can tell. It is rather easy to hack the system. Where people are paying more attention to beating the numbers then actually trying to achieve the goals these metrics are meant to measure.
    Lines of code: short lines, with blank comments and a lot of extra line breaks.
    Time to close ticket: Get a ticket do the most basic fix and close it without verification.
    Time to respond to a call. Pick up the phone then hang up.

    Metrics can be hacked so people are working on the metrics. Causing the system to break down.

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      I am sure for all of you who work in an organization with some sort of performance monitoring method can tell. It is rather easy to hack the system.

      It's a lot harder to hack a system that wants to keep people from saying or doing things than to make people do things. Do something they don't like, lose "goodwill" points. Then you must perform something they like to get "goodwill" points back. It's a soft way to suppress dissent and subversive behavior, China will be fine one way or the other. It's to get you caught up in a game where you have to appease the government or find the whole system tilted against you, like a real world freemium game.

    • Sure, the Chinese error, just like connatural objective work value theory errors. They want it numeral, not ordinal. Reality is hard when metal happened to be so hard in relation to your head...
  • This seems like a system tailor built to create a class of angry disenfranchised citizens.
    Good luck China, you're going to need it because I can't think of a better way to foment an insurgency.

    "The most dangerous creation of any society is the man who has nothing to lose." - James Baldwin
  • by DNS-and-BIND ( 461968 ) on Wednesday November 30, 2016 @11:01AM (#53393127) Homepage

    This is nothing but big government doing what it does best - helping its people. Instead of allowing the people to make their own decisions, it is making the correct decisions for them. And why not? The smartest people run the Chinese government. You can't be any geek off the street and join the Communist Party. You have to be smart and capable, and only the cream rises to the top. Why shouldn't these people be able to run society? I see people on Slashdot all the time bemoaning how stupid people ruin everything. See: Donald Trump voters. Things would be SO much better if we smart people just had to power to change things.

    Isn't eliminating negative outcomes and ensuring positive outcomes one of the major arguments in favor of big government? This is what China is doing. Oh, it eliminates personal freedom? The personal freedom that Chinese people never had at any point in history? You mean "freedumb". Because people who bitch and moan about freedom all the time are precisely the ones who make such consistently wrong decisions. Why shouldn't the government step in and help them? Isn't that why we established governments in the first place?

    • by jm007 ( 746228 )
      Your comment is quite the zinger.... hopefully makes some folks here think a bit.

      Wish I had mod points.
    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      The key element that you're missing is that you need smart people acting in the best interests of the whole people. Any time we've granted any elite power they've inevitably used it for personal gain or the elite's interest instead of the public good, it doesn't matter what they're capable of providing a better government if they're not willing. That's why we're weary of people seeking power, they usually want it for all the wrong reasons. And even those who try with the best of intentions find that to rise

      • The form of government does not really matter, HOW WELL the government functions is what matters. Ben Franklin had a similar position but the reason he wasn't famous (or infamous) for it was because that position is agnostic and doesn't get into preachy positions.

        If FDR was a dictator it would be as close to utopia as humanly possible, until he died. Then lesser people would want similar power but be unable to responsibly handle it. Communism works will for a monastery or convent and other small groups whe

      • Of course the CCP is acting in the interests of the whole people. It's not like there are campaign contributions, corporate thieves, and the other negatives of dumbocracy. It's just the smartest people in society, free from distractions, calmly making decisions for the people. That's what this social score is, it's a way to encourage virtue among the people. You're just insufficiently pro-Big Government so it looks weird to you. Trust me, the New York Times wouldn't have praised the Chinese system if i
  • Just give everybody in China a membership to Amazon Prime? Save all that time keeping track of people.
  • Only in China? Nah. (Score:4, Informative)

    by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Wednesday November 30, 2016 @11:11AM (#53393235) Journal

    In a US where there is a broadly sweeping and growing generational consensus that government should:
    - provide all healthcare
    - protect everyone from any conceivable harm whether practical, realistic or not (from terrorists to pedophiles), - even from their OWN CHOICES - and at literally any expense ...you're fooling yourself.

    "Any government powerful enough to give the people all that they want is also powerful enough to take from the people all that they have."

    Famously NOT said by T.Jefferson, but pretty damned good comment nonetheless.

    • In a US where there is a broadly sweeping and growing generational consensus that government should: - provide all healthcare

      I haven't seen that. There are lots of people who think that we should provide quality health care to everyone without overly onerous personal cost, which is not the same thing. The US has the most expensive health care in the world per capita, and it's not anywhere close. The difference between US health care costs and the next highest (Switzerland) would pay for Spain's health

  • I'd like to see people from China commenting. I take it their culture and history are quite different to the West. They see themselves as a civilisation and there is a lot of nuance around morality and ethics. To our ears, as the post tag says, this is all quite *strange* But when you have a growing middle class of what, 250 million? and a desire to reduce corruption at all levels, this whole social capital thing might make more sense... just not in a way we understand. I mean, as a Westerner I just think,

    • Re:The Chinese Mind (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 30, 2016 @12:49PM (#53394185)

      I'm a Chinese immigrant and read Chinese news everyday. No where did I find this story mentioned, neither from main land news sites nor overseas ones. Maybe it's a secretive thing, I don't know. But I tend to think it's a money grab kind of project like many others that's not really practical or intended to be. You seem like a person with an open mind, so I'll say this. Take everything you read about China from the western media (including this site) with a grain of salt. It's very very biased. Think about how the media acted during the election. It's on that level and beyond. I'll probably be labelled a "50-cent" in no time, but anyways.

      • I can see your point. What I see in the US media about the US is not what I see when I look around me. In the United States, 'international news' is mostly what's happening in another region of our nation. It's ridiculous. But - what's a 50-cent? (I mean other than a half dollar coin in the USA!)
  • Good to see China catching up to the West!

  • More inspiration for Theresa May and her gang of clueless peeping toms. You'll see a similar system in the UK by 2020.
  • by geek ( 5680 ) on Wednesday November 30, 2016 @11:25AM (#53393355)

    (To JS/07 M 378
    This Marble Monument
    Is Erected by the State)
    He was found by the Bureau of Statistics to be
    One against whom there was no official complaint,
    And all the reports on his conduct agree
    That, in the modern sense of an old-fashioned word, he was a
          saint,
    For in everything he did he served the Greater Community.
    Except for the War till the day he retired
    He worked in a factory and never got fired,
    But satisfied his employers, Fudge Motors Inc.
    Yet he wasn’t a scab or odd in his views,
    For his Union reports that he paid his dues,
    (Our report on his Union shows it was sound)
    And our Social Psychology workers found
    That he was popular with his mates and liked a drink.
    The Press are convinced that he bought a paper every day
    And that his reactions to advertisements were normal in every way.
    Policies taken out in his name prove that he was fully insured,
    And his Health-card shows he was once in hospital but left it cured.
    Both Producers Research and High-Grade Living declare
    He was fully sensible to the advantages of the Instalment Plan
    And had everything necessary to the Modern Man,
    A phonograph, a radio, a car and a frigidaire.
    Our researchers into Public Opinion are content
    That he held the proper opinions for the time of year;
    When there was peace, he was for peace: when there was war, he went.
    He was married and added five children to the population,
    Which our Eugenist says was the right number for a parent of his
          generation.
    And our teachers report that he never interfered with their
          education.
    Was he free? Was he happy? The question is absurd:
    Had anything been wrong, we should certainly have heard.

  • It's not hard to see what the idea is there. Citizens ought to be compelled via this social credit score to conform to a cookie cutter mold that is for the benefit of the state. The most precious things we have as humans is our humanity. And our humanity is based on the diverse individuality that we all contribute to the world. When you take that humanity away, there is truly nothing left to live for. Your life becomes predetermined by the state prior to your being born which makes you wish you hadn't

  • The same people will react in horror to this - but at the same time disapprove of the right-to-be-forgotten that the EU has applied to Google et al. You can't have it both ways, either we have a forgetful society (the same that has happened throughout all of history, and is widely considered essential to personal freedom) or you let things be remembered forever and applied to your "reputation".

    As imperfect as the right-to-be-forgotten is, I'd rather have it that not. We need to understand that just because

    • You can't have it both ways, either we have a forgetful society ... or you let things be remembered forever and applied to your "reputation".

      The so-called "right to be forgotten" has exactly zero relevance here. For one, it never prevented anyone from assembling a database of social interactions with "scores" based on individual behavior. It only prohibited the details of that behavior from being searchable by the general public. This new system China is implementing does not need to be public or searchable to be effective and would be fully compatible with the nonsensical "right to be forgotten" laws instituted in the EU. Moreover, the ability

    • or you let things be remembered forever and applied to your "reputation".

      Petty bureaucrats of old called it "your permanent record."

      • It took me until junior high to realize that my "permanent record" wasn't going to follow me around for the rest of my life.

  • Some aspects of the system are already in testing, but there are some challenges to implementing such a far-reaching apparatus. It's difficult to centralize all that data, check it for accuracy, and process it, for example -- let alone feed it back into the system to control everyday life. And China has data from 1.4 billion people to handle.

    Don't worry, it won't take long. Just like in Soviet and DDR, there won't be any testing for accuracy.

  • Old news. (Score:5, Informative)

    by The Raven ( 30575 ) on Wednesday November 30, 2016 @11:34AM (#53393433) Homepage

    New to /. maybe, but this was revealed over a year ago. Extra Credits [youtube.com] did a pretty good video covering the dystopian system from a game developer point of view.

  • I would normally consider the piloting of a system to be early adopters doing some final testing before it becomes widely available.

    I expect the UK government will have already placed their order as it probably dovetails nicely with their recent snoopers' charter (which seems to include backdoors to encryption in the small print according to the Reg; someone has probably submitted that to Slashdot by now).

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Black Mirror S03E01

  • And sesame credit. This is exactly as terrifying as it sounds. I hate to be this much of a cynic, but While we really shouldn't doing business with a country that does this sort of thing we're not gonna give up out phones to do it
  • Don't try to outsmart them. Any "system" you try to impose will be corrupted and subverted. You merely create a class of specialists who figure out how to extract the maximum benefit from such a system at the expense of everyone else. Doesn't matter what it is - capitalism, feudalism, communism or bureaucracy. You think you are doing a good thing but you are not. My philosophy of government is: LESS is MORE.
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

    It's supposed to be a warning, not a playbook.

  • We may already have such an indicator over here. It's called "net worth".

    Net worth determines what people you can hang around with, what neighbourhoods you can live in, how safe your residence is, how much comfort and security you enjoy when traveling, which clubs you can join, what schools your children can go to and what their prospects are, what medical care you can have, what your life expectancy is, how likely you are to have your legal rights respected (or enforced), and (to some extent) how the aut

    • by Altrag ( 195300 )

      The only difference is: scores aren't determined by the state.

      That's a pretty massive difference though. It gives us the illusion of being able to change our lot in life. Of course downwards is a lot easier to go than upwards, but I assume that part is probably the same under China's new system as well.

      Also, being poor in itself doesn't tend to lead to armed men disappearing you in the night in the same way that criticizing hyper-authoritarian governments can.

  • If we were building The Matrix. Otherwise, it's a monumentally bad idea.

  • Of course being in or a relative of a Government Employee basically supersedes this ranking system.
  • I remember hearing about something like this a year ago.
    It gets worse, your friend's scores affect your score, meaning that people with low scores will become shunned and isolated.
    Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]
    • An application of online ranking systems like ebay to your whole life should have been imagined in the 90s but we've seen little of it in fiction - how come?? The Matrix doesn't count, that's Plato's idea. One would think that an imaginative person could have thought up something between 1948 (Orwell 1984) and an implementation of it in the 1990s.

      Black Mirror (netflix) Season 3 ep 1.

  • They called it.

    Extra Credits: Sesame Credit [youtube.com]

  • So you do as you're told, and it's OK today. But the definition of "correct" changes, and you retro-actively become a bad guy. I'm retired. I remember back when I was a kid that people who were against racial discrimination (against black people) were "goddam liberals". Nowadays, people who are against racial discrimination (against white people) are muhf***ing fascist racist nazis... and, even worse, "deplorables".

    Brendan Eich made a contribution to a political campaign that was supported by the majority o

    • From where I sit, Eich contributed a substantial amount of money to deny certain people basic civil rights. I don't compromise my opinion of civil rights based on popularity.

      Denying homosexuals the right to marry the person they love leads to ease of harassment. I can't be arbitrarily separated from the love of my life easily if she's incapacitated, to give one example.

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