How the West Wronged China’s Social Credit System

Stanley said today he intends to emphasize the Chinese program as a cautionary tale for the US. “This really does seem to point towards a potentially dark future,” he said. “Honestly, there are a lot of signs and parallels with things going on in the United States,” like digital records. The ACLU’s post is not the only store to use China’s nascent system as a way to draw attention to privacy and surveillance issues in the West. “The more I look around, the more it looks like America’s social credit system is forming around us – and it looks no different from China,” said Casey Newton, a writer at The Verge. , Written in his popular news just last month. “China’s Dystopian technology is contagious” Atlantic the same, similar declare last year.

A surveillance technology demonstration at Huawei Technologies headquarters in Shenzhen earlier this year.Billy HC Kwok / Getty Images

While some journalist and scholar tried to fix the file, sci-fi myths about China’s social credit score still persist in the West. Shazeda Ahmed, a graduate student at the University of California at Berkeley who studies the Social Credit System in China, said: “So much has been written about this now that it is wrong, that it really is. considered a life in itself. “I still see articles citing things from 2014, 2015, which I think have largely been discarded.”

However, the confusion is understandable. First, there is the language barrier. Daum says the phrase “social credit” has a different meaning in English and its meaning in Chinese. For an English speaker, two words combined can signal a relationship between individuals. In Chinese, this term is more closely combined with a phrase like “public trust”. There is also an additional language barrier in decoding dense legal documents. “I think language is a real barrier,” Daum said. “Both legal jargon and political jargon and Chinese versus English jargon.”

The original plan for social credit released in 2014 was also very vague and far-reaching, and it’s not entirely clear what the project might ultimately include. “They expect different parts of government, both central and central,” said Xin Dai, a professor and assistant dean at Ocean University’s School of Law in China who has studied social credit. local, try their own approach in terms of implementation. “You have a really huge but also chaotic scene of different people trying to mix different types of shows.”

For example, government partnerships with corporations on a number of early initiatives, including “credit scores” calculated by private tech companies, like Ant Financial’s Sesame Credit program. In 2015, the Chinese government authorized eight tech companies, including Ant Financial, an affiliate of giant Alibaba, to experiment with developing a credit reporting system for individuals. In addition to financial data, Sesame Credit looks at things like social networking and buying habits – a product feature that attracts a lot of attention in the West, including in a cover story. by WIRED.

By 2017, the Chinese government decided not to of the pilots will receive authorization for formal credit reporting measures, due to concerns about a potential conflict of interest. But at first, it was unclear how closely linked the programs would be to government efforts, even in China. “I think there have been, and possibly still are, Chinese citizens who don’t understand that there is a difference,” says Ahmed. “Because from the beginning, Sesame Credit has marketed itself as contributing to the entire Social Credit System.”

Today, Sesame Credit, like other similar initiatives, essentially works like rewards programs for loyal customers. High-scoring participants receive perks like bike rental without deposit or delay in medical expenses, but the scores are not in the legal system and no one is required to participate.

Leave a Comment