China's Social Credit System - Article Analysis

chinas social credit system

 China is moving on to social crediting systems for businesses, scraping massive amounts of data and grading them and the people who run them. 

This has broader implications for global companies, particularly those from America, who operate business in China. The Chinese capital will soon be black marking businesses who don’t fall in line with its regulations. As an example, “United, Delta and American (airlines) received letters last year from Chinese aviation officials saying their social credit score could be hit unless their websites labeled Macau, Hong Kong and Taiwan as part of China”.

Many people believe that the social crediting system is a huge violation of the privacy of the Chinese people. It uses facial recognition technology along with a vast array of other data points including criminal history, credit ratings, and previous jobs to score a person. Interestingly, experts have come out to say that the purpose of grading businesses has a number of benefits. Despite its authoritarian presence, Beijing has struggled with controlling businesses on a national scale, with smaller government arms protecting successful businesses from state regulations. With the social crediting system, it is said that businesses who are large pollutants, exploit labour laws and exercise other problem behaviours will be brought into line. 

The question remains as to whether the use of these data sources will create more benefits or problems, with some people losing employment over affiliations with family members or other problem individuals. On top of this, once fully established, some people believe it will be used as a tool to enhance trade wars in order to get an edge over international competitors. 

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CommentaryJack Sloman