Social rating: electronic concentration camp or "brave new world"

The total system of digital surveillance and rating of citizens in the future can turn into big internal problems for China
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16 2 2021
 

Over the past decade, many countries have rapidly built systems of electronic and digital control and management of the economy, the population and each individual person. Such projects were aimed at restricting human rights and freedoms, which is why they were called "electronic concentration camps".

The locomotives of the process of building an "electronic concentration camp" were not unreasonably considered to be American IT corporations. Such as Microsoft, Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook, and others. They are often called the "Silicon Mafia", because a number of leading American IT corporations have their headquarters or separate divisions in the state of California, in a place called Silicon Valley.

The word "mafia" means that they act in a coordinated manner, pursue common goals that, to put it mildly, go against the interests of society.

The strategic goal of the "Silicon Mafia" is to turn not only the United States, but the whole world into one big electronic concentration camp. The actions of the "Silicon Mafia" fit into an even more global plan, which was announced last year by the president of the World Economic Forum, Klaus Schwab. The plan is called the "Great Reset", which aims to build a "brave new world", which will be ruled by a narrow group of people – the world elite.

There have already been some disruptions in the implementation of the "Great Reset" plan. The "Silicon mafia" did not even have time to finish building an "electronic concentration camp" in the territory under their jurisdiction – the United States. Yes, 90% of it is built, but there are still large "holes" in it, which can be used by those who value freedom very much.

In addition, among the politicians and citizens of America, opposition to the plans of the Silicon Mafia has unexpectedly increased. Even the American President Joe Biden, who owes his victory entirely to IT corporations, managed to hint that it is necessary to limit the monopoly of these giants in the American market.

And with the construction of the world's "electronic concentration camp", the Silicon Mafia has an even more serious problem. Firstly, the speech of the President of the People's Republic of China Xi Jinping at the WEF summit showed that China does not fully agree with the plan of the "Great Reset". The Chinese leader hinted that today only the Middle Kingdom is able to lead the process of globalisation. Not only economic and financial, but also informational: "China will continue to promote scientific and technological innovation."

Secondly, it became clear that the world "electronic concentration camp" will not work for the reason that Beijing has already created its own “electronic concentration camp” on the territory under its jurisdiction.

The project to build such an "electronic cap", which should cover almost one and a half billion people living in China, started to be talked and written about more than a decade ago. The official name of the project is "The system of social rating of citizens of the People's Republic of China".

The idea of the initiators of the project is to constantly monitor all aspects of a person's life using various electronic means, to accumulate information about a person and process it, to assign a social rating to a person taking into account the fulfilment or, conversely, violation of numerous norms of behaviour by a person. Such a system, according to the initiators, is designed to make a person more law-abiding and trustworthy, to strengthen order in the country, to promote the country's progress along the path of socialism.

The electronic system of social rating in the People's Republic of China began to be tested in 2010, and by 2014 it was introduced en masse. But while the project had the status of a "pilot", it did not cover the entire population of the country, it was consistently extended to new cities and regions, and was tested.

Law-abiding and trustworthy citizens who have high scores in the rating receive a number of privileges, for example, a chance to get a good job, priority when serving in state institutions and the opportunity to get a loan. At the same time, traffic violations, criticism of the authorities in social networks and denunciations written by neighbours negatively affect the rating indicators and deprive a citizen of such basic rights as the ability to travel.

It should be noted that the development of the electronic infrastructure of the system was even ahead of the development of the evaluation criteria. In the party and state leadership of the country, there were quite heated discussions about "what is good and what is bad". These discussions continue, but are carefully hidden from the public.

Given the Chinese mentality, the average citizen accepts the norms lowered from above without any questions. The percentage of "dissidents" who question the norms, and, moreover, openly violate them, is small.

A very wide range of organisations take part in collecting information about citizens. Firstly, state authorities (police, tax services, educational institutions, health care, special services, etc.). Secondly, non-state banking, financial, commercial and telecommunications organisations and companies.

In February 2018, it became known that the People's Bank of China approved the initiative of Tencent and Alibaba Group to create a credit rating system for citizens based on online purchases and social media profiles.

In addition to these two categories of information providers, a third source is being formed. We are talking about the fact that “conscious" citizens should report the behaviour of "unconscious" ones. In short, whistleblowing is strongly encouraged.

The fourth supplier of information is numerous surveillance cameras (more than half a billion at the end of last year), in the number of which China is ahead of all countries, including the United States. The technologies of the project to create a national database based on facial recognition were successfully tested. It is not known what percentage of Chinese cameras are equipped with a facial recognition system, but, according to the authorities, this year artificial intelligence will be able to recognise the face of each of the nearly one and a half billion people in the country in three seconds.

Another set of questions that the initiators of the project had to solve: what should be the incentive measures for persons with high ratings and what sanctions can be taken against persons with low ratings? For example, rating assessments affect the conditions for providing loans to citizens by banks (interest rates, terms, methods of collateral). Persons who are included in the "black lists" are generally deprived of the right to receive loans.

In 2018, it became known that approximately 17.46 million "discredited" Chinese lost the right to buy plane tickets, and another 5.47 million can no longer buy tickets for high-speed trains. At the same time, it was reported that in China, there were 290,000 cases when individuals with a low rating were banned from holding senior positions or being legal representatives of a company.

In 2018, another step was taken in expanding the social rating system. It also became known about the introduction of a social rating system in China for companies, including foreign ones. The business will have to strictly comply with about 300 requirements that relate to tax control, environmental protection, labor safety, product quality, cybersecurity, etc.

Especially important are the provisions on taxes and hiring of employees. Chinese and foreign entrepreneurs need to study about 1,500 pages with the rules that they need to follow in order to continue doing business in China. “Black lists” were also prepared for businesses.

Already in 2018, more than 3.59 million Chinese organisations were added to the official blacklist, which prohibited them from engaging in various activities, including bidding on projects, entering the securities markets, participating in land auctions and issuing corporate bonds.

As the project expanded, the number of parameters used to compile ratings of citizens and companies increased. In connection with the outbreak of an epidemic in the country and the world (pandemic), a block of information about the state of human health and compliance with the rules of life in the conditions of COVID-19 has appeared in the system's database.

In some cities, technologies were developed to track and account for such sensitive aspects of human life, such as alcohol and tobacco consumption. In the Chinese city of Hangzhou, a system with QR codes was launched, which monitors the alcohol consumed by citizens and the cigarettes smoked.

And now the pilot tests of the project in 2020 have come to an end. Since January 1st, 2021, the Chinese social rating system has become nationwide and has received a legal status. This year, the new Civil Code of the People's Republic of China came into force, in which the provisions on the social rating system found their place.

According to the new code, the Chinese will receive points for: supporting the government in social networks, having a good financial credit history, performing any heroic act, participating in charitable activities, caring for elderly family members, good relations with neighbours and helping the poor, donating blood, etc.

At the same time, there are actions for which citizens can be deducted points. These include: the spread of rumours and fakes on the Internet (what can be considered a fake, and who will determine that the information is fake, of course, is the big question – an example is the attempted impeachment of Trump over a fake about "storming the Capitol" in plain sight), violation of traffic rules, participating in a protest against the authorities and posting anti-government messages on social networks, unsatisfactory assistance to ageing parents, insincere apologies for crimes committed, participation in sects and cheating in online games, etc.

Since January 1st of this year, every Chinese person has been given "start-up capital". This is the original rating of 1000 points. A single information centre analyses each of 160,000 different parameters from 142 institutions. If the rating is more than 1050 points, then you fall into the category of "model citizen", which is marked with the AAA index. With 1000 points, you can count on A+, and with 900 - on B.

If the rating is lower than 849, then this is already a suspicious person for society and the authorities with an index of C; such a person can already be denied work in state organisations and municipal structures.

A "black mark" is awarded to those marked with the index D, which is less than 599 points. These are the outcasts of Chinese society. It is difficult for such people to get any job. They will be denied loans, transport tickets; they may even be denied a bicycle rental. A person from group D will be shunned as a leper or an infected person, because even communication with such an outcast can lead to a decrease in the rating of a person from higher rating groups.

The system that now started to operate at full capacity in China was probably roughly understood by those who were preparing and now promote the plan of the "Great Reset". Apparently, the Silicon Valley IT corporations and Mr. Klaus Schwab wanted to create something similar. But they were a little late.

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