Scoring : how China plans to use big data to rate its citizens
Yes, you are reading correctly. The idea is to use the hundreds of data collected on people’s behaviour on- and offline in order to generate a trust score, which subsequently will get you rights or remove some.
The preparatory document for this project has been presented in 2014, but we are getting closer to its implementation which is scheduled for 2020. The Chinese government argues that the list of restrictions and authorisations established are in line with the problems that have punctuated the Chinese news in recent years. According to them, this system would be able to improve the Chinese community.
Precisely, purchases made by the Chinese population as well as their acquaintances will be analyzed. Let’s say, you are buying diapers, this would represent a responsible father, while buying video games would rather be associated with an childish boy. Similarly, having a speeding fine would lower your score.
Thus, in order to get a loan, a promotion, or to be able to enroll your child in a private school, your score should better be irreproachable.
The Chinese population already had the opportunity to test the application’s pilot program. As in a video game, some got caught up quickly by sharing the evolution of their score on their social networks. Beyond the fun goals, some are worried about technical issues arising from data collection. It would seem that legal problems such as privacy are more at the heart of the problem.
Do you think that this story seems like a futuristic or surrealistic movie’s scenario ? Well seen. In 2016, the Black Mirror series had already imagined this possibility and the result is stunning.