China plans Minority Report-esque social credit system to monitor all citizens' behavior by 2020

China’s social credit system is in its pilot phase with eight private companies commissioned to set up their own databases.

    2016/10/26

NSFW    BEIJING — China’s authoritarian government plans to implement a dystopian social credit system that uses big data to monitor the behavior of citizens.

The social credit system is likely to track social media activity, career movement, online purchases, financial and criminal records and translate them into a personal credit score, according to BBC News and News.com.au.

The draconian plan echoes the 2002 science fiction movie Minority Report starring Tom Cruise, in which police arrest people for crimes before they have been committed.

A person’s social network is also crucial to determining their credit score, as having friends with a low rating will bring one’s own mark down.

A person with a low score may be deemed “untrustworthy”, and the consequences could include difficulties in getting loans, hotel rooms or even the denial of the right to travel abroad.

The system is in its pilot phase, with eight private companies commissioned to set up their own credit databases.

Alibaba’s Sesame Credit system is highly popular and is used to measure users’ honesty on China’s biggest dating website, Baihe.

Other private companies involved include internet giant Tencent, and Qianhai Zhengxin, owned by China’s biggest insurance and financial group, Ping An Insurance.

The system is expected to cover every Chinese citizen by 2020.
Sesame Credit on a user’s mobile phone. WEIBO / ZHIMA CREDIT
Sesame Credit on a user’s mobile phone. WEIBO / ZHIMA CREDIT
A screen grab of the Chinese government's Credit China website. CREDITCHINA.GOV.CN
A screen grab of the Chinese government's Credit China website. CREDITCHINA.GOV.CN
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