In 2020, the Chinese government will embark on a venture straight out of a Black Mirror episode with its controversial Social Credit System– a formal ranking system used to judge the trustworthiness of its 1.3 billion residents.
While many of us are screaming, 'this is some Orwellian shit,' it leaves the rest of us to wonder what exactly the costs and benefits could be for having a government system which monitors and judges your daily acts.
Where and what you shop for would be under scrutiny. What bills or taxes you paid for (or didn't pay for) would be under a microscope. You'd be judged on your friends and affiliations. Does this sound problematic? Or only for people with something to hide.
All of these activities and more would be used to accumulate a Citizen Score that would determine your eligibility for a job or mortgage, where your children could attend school or even your chances at getting a date.
Truth be told, anyone reading this should know their actions, whereabouts and behaviors are already being closely tracked. That Facebook of yours is collecting information and those Google searches you keep doing are being tracked and stored as well. But now, imagine all of this information could be used for or against you.
This is what the Chinese government is planning to unveil come 2020 as a way to measure and encourage the trustworthiness of its citizens. According to the the written policy:
"It will forge a public opinion environment where keeping trust is glorious. It will strengthen sincerity in government affairs, commercial sincerity, social sincerity and the construction of judicial credibility."
Currently, citizens can participate in China's Citizen Score system voluntarily, but come 2020, it will be mandatory act that will likely change the landscape of common behavior. For every independent citizen, but also for every company or corporation, this is without a doubt a make-or-break era in privacy as we know it.