Big brother is reviewing you

In John Naughton’s column in theObserver today he describes a chinese plan to ‘review’ the behaviour of its citizens and award or deduct brownie points depending on what you do – with real world consequences, he writes:

In particular, they are adapting the ubiquitous “reputation rating” system by which online platforms try to get feedback on vendor and customer reliability. The government is beginning to roll out its social credit system, which is designed to “raise the awareness of integrity and the level of trustworthiness in Chinese society”. It will focus on four aspects of behaviour: “honesty in government affairs”, “commercial integrity”, “societal integrity” and “judicial credibility”.

When first conceived in 2007, the intention was to replicate the credit rating systems common in the west for assessing people’s financial creditworthiness. But why, thought the Chinese, stop at finance? Why not use the technology to assess how “good” a citizen one is? Everyone starts off with a baseline allowance of, say, 100 points. You can earn bonus points by  doing “good deeds” such as separating and recycling rubbish. On the other hand, behaving in what is regarded (by the state) as antisocial behaviour can lose you points. Examples of deductible behaviour can apparently include: not showing up at a restaurant without cancelling your booking, cheating in online games, leaving false product reviews and even jaywalking. And if your social credit score is too low, you find yourself barred from taking flights or travelling on certain trains.

Read the whole column here

Thinking about all the fake, aggressive, dishonest agenda driven reviews that appear on Trip Advisor, IMDB, Amazon etc. It does make you wonder who’ll review the reviewers.

Big brother is reviewing you