China Social Credit System Like State-Run Whuffie

In his 2003 novel Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, writer Cory Doctorow describes a digital social ranking system called Whuffie that determines your access to society's resources:

When I got down to the Contemporary's parking lot, my runabout was gone. A quick check with the handheld revealed the worst: my Whuffie was low enough that someone had just gotten inside and driven away, realizing that they could make more popular use of it than I could. With a sinking feeling, I trudged up to my room and swiped my key through the lock. It emitted a soft, unsatisfied _bzzz_ and lit up, "Please see the front desk." My room had been reassigned, too. I had the short end of the Whuffie stick. At least there was no mandatory Whuffie check on the monorail platform, but the other people on the car were none too friendly to me, and no one offered me an inch more personal space than was necessary. I had hit bottom.
(Read more about Whuffie)

Well, China has been working as hard as they can to implement a similar kind of system - or maybe take it even farther. This month, it was announced that millions of "discredited" travelers were banned from purchasing plane and train tickets.

According to the National Public Credit Information Centre, Chinese courts banned would-be travellers from buying flights 17.5 million times by the end of 2018. Citizens placed on black lists for social credit offences were prevented from buying train tickets 5.5 million times. The report released last week said: “Once discredited, limited everywhere”.

The social credit system aims to incentivise “trustworthy” behaviour through penalties as well as rewards. According to a government document about the system dating from 2014, the aim is to “allow the trustworthy to roam everywhere under heaven while making it hard for the discredited to take a single step.”

Social credit offences range from not paying individual taxes or fines to spreading false information and taking drugs. More minor violations include using expired tickets, smoking on a train or not walking a dog on a leash.

Local governments and agencies have been piloting aspects of the system, which will eventually give every Chinese citizen a personalised score.

Via The Guardian.

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