Fox News reports on consumer report carding in China, and how 23 million people are blocked from traveling by train or plan in the country’s new “social credit” system. The combined population is equal to residents in 17 states: Mississippi, Kansas, New Mexico, Nebraska, West Virginia, Idaho, Hawaii, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, Montana, Delaware, South Dakota, North Dakota, Alaska, Vermont, and Wyoming)
- China has blocked millions of travelers from purchasing train or plane tickets as part of the Communist country’s controversial “social credit” system, which has drawn the ire of privacy advocates who fear the surveillance-based system could lead to dystopian outcomes.
- The Guardian reports that Chinese courts banned travelers from buying flights 17.5 million times by the end of last year and that citizens put on blacklists for so-called social credit offenses were prevented from purchasing train tickets 5.5 million times. The report said: “Once discredited, limited everywhere.”
- The social credit system, which is still being built and now exists more as a patchwork of local and regional systems, purports to incentivize trustworthy behavior through various penalties when Chinese citizens commit a range of offenses, including not paying taxes, jaywalking, smoking on a train, walking their dogs without a leash or taking drugs.
It is an attempt to create credit profiles for an emerging country with a limited credit history.
- Although a wide range of countries, including the U.S. and the U.K., already use data to judge a person’s creditworthiness when it comes to applying for a mortgage or a credit card, the Chinese system aims to expand these practices to all areas of life.
- Experts fear the system will lead to a crackdown on anyone who challenges China’s government.
- “Often comparisons are drawn between private applications like Uber and its rating system for customers and drivers. While these private company systems are extremely problematic in my view, they are fundamentally different,” Samantha Hoffman, a non-resident fellow at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, told Wired. “The People’s Republic of China is an authoritarian country; the Chinese Communist Party is responsible for gross human rights violations for decades… There is nothing any liberal democratic society should even think about copying in the social credit system.”
Credit scoring in most countries relies on input from creditors. They are under constant scrutiny by legislators on the accuracy of their files, but frankly, after making corrections on my file about 5 or 6 years ago, my records seem accurate today. Pulling data on personal credit reports has helped keep the process accurate.
Looks like this is an Orwellian nightmare. And once you set a precedent for the 1 billion population, when and how does this end?
Overview by Brian Riley, Director, Credit Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group