China Privacy

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China doesn't believe that individuals matter: they care about the collective. That means that individual privacy is not something they even fathom. Why wouldn't you spy on your neighbor? If the state's objective is to protect the state, than places that don't use the Internet to protect the state are stupid and going to be darwin'ed out of the gene pool someday. And China is patient.

Social Credit System

There is an episode of a British/Netflix TV series called Black Mirror (near future science fiction), titled "Nosedive", which basically explores how society will change as Social Networks Ranking Systems start spilling out into real life. This was a dark dystopian look at what China's Social Credit System (which was announced before the episode was written) might play out in a Western Stepford Wives sort of world. But it also seems scarily prescient.

The Chinese government data often comes from private companies, who build them for advertising purposes but then “license” to the government (as well as have no choice but to comply with regulations to share).

Examples

Suspect caught in China at music concert after being detected by facial recognition technology.

With the social credit system, the Chinese government rates citizens based on things like criminal behavior and financial misdeeds, but also on what they buy, say, and do. Those with low “scores” have to deal with penalties and restrictions. China has been working towards rolling out a full version of the system by 2020, but some early versions of it are already in place.

Previously, the Chinese government had focused on restricting the travel of people with massive amounts of debt, like LeEco and Faraday Future founder Jia Yueting, who made the Supreme People’s Court blacklist late last year.

The new travel restrictions are the latest addition to this growing patchwork of social engineering, which has already imposed punishments on more than seven million citizens.

And there’s a broad range when it comes to who can be flagged. Citizens who have spread “false information about terrorism,” caused “trouble” on flights, used expired tickets, or were caught smoking on trains could all be banned, according to Reuters.

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📚 References