“China’s plan to organize its society relies on ‘big data’ to rate everyone”
The Washington Post, October 22, 2016
World: Asia & Pacific
By Simon Denyer
“BEHIND THE FIREWALL: How China tamed the Internet | This is part 5 of 6 of a series examining the impact of China’s Great Firewall, a mechanism of Internet censorship and surveillance that affects nearly 700 million users.”
“This is what China calls “Internet Plus,” but critics call a 21st-century police state.”
BEIJING — Imagine a world where an authoritarian government monitors everything you do, amasses huge amounts of data on almost every interaction you make, and awards you a single score that measures how “trustworthy” you are.
In this world, anything from defaulting on a loan to criticizing the ruling party, from running a red light to failing to care for your parents properly, could cause you to lose points.
And in this world, your score becomes the ultimate truth of who you are — determining whether you can borrow money, get your children into the best schools or travel abroad; whether you get a room in a fancy hotel, a seat in a top restaurant — or even just get a date.
This is not the dystopian superstate of Steven Spielberg’s “Minority Report,” in which all-knowing police stop crime before it happens. But it could be China by 2020.
It is the scenario contained in China’s ambitious plans to develop a far-reaching social credit system, a plan that the Communist Party hopes will build a culture of “sincerity” and a “harmonious socialist society” where “keeping trust is glorious.”
About the Author:
Simon Denyer is The Washington Post’s bureau chief in Tokyo, covering Japan and the Koreas. He served previously as bureau chief in China, and in India; a Reuters bureau chief in Washington, New Delhi, Islamabad and Kabul; and as a Reuters correspondent in Nairobi, New York and London. He is author of “Rogue Elephant: Harnessing the Power of India’s Unruly Democracy,”, and the co-editor of “Foreign Correspondent: Fifty Years of Reporting South Asia.” He has also made frequent TV and radio appearances, including on BBC, CNN, NPR, PBS, Fox News, MSNBC, CNBC and Sky News, as well as India’s NDTV, Times Now and CNN-IBN.
- Planning Outline for the Construction of a Social Credit System (2014-2020), China Copyright and Media: The law and policy of media in China – edited by Rogier Creemers.
- Opinions concerning Accelerating the Construction of Credit Supervision, Warning and Punishment Mechanisms for Persons Subject to Enforcement for Trust-Breaking, China Copyright and Media: The law and policy of media in China – edited by Rogier Creemers.