Social Credit Scores Are Already Here

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The Last American Vagabond

People around the world are already being judged and denied access to financial services because of their social media data — and they don’t even realize it. By now many of our readers are aware of the ongoing roll out of a nationwide social credit system in China. Starting in 2009, the Chinese government began testing a national reputation system based on a citizen’s economic and social reputation, or “social credit.” This social credit score can be used to reward or punish certain behaviors. The idea is that the state can give or takeaway points from a social credit score in order to engineer good behavior from the people. By late 2019, Chinese citizens were losing points on their score for dishonest and fraudulent financial behavior, playing loud music, eating on public transportation, jaywalking, running red lights, failing to appear at doctor appointments, missing job interviews or hotel reservations without canceling, and incorrectly sorting waste.

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