The Nightmare of the Social-Credit Control System

Technology is so grand. It allows us to forget the simplest of things we should remember.

You have one phone call to make. Quickly – can you remember the phone number of your wife, husband, significant other, etc., to complete that phone call?  Ah, who cares. Your smartphone will tell you, unless you DON’T have it sutured to your hip. But that’s unlikely – it’s always within arms reach.

You have to write out, in longhand, with a pen or pencil, a legible paragraph. Could you do it? Who cares!  I have my thumbs to type out my epic thoughts and even correct my spelling on my smartphone since I haven’t the foggiest when it comes to “receive” or “recieve”.

But the future of what government and corporate controlled technology holds in store for the average citizen might be just a bit more frightening that not remembering a phone number or unable to flawlessly text your latest quip about the daily guano of your life:

Chinese Blacklist an Early Glimpse of Sweeping New Social-Credit Control – via theglobeandmail.com

First envisioned in the mid-1990s, China’s social-credit system would assign a ranking to each of the country’s almost 1.4 billion people. Unlike a Western rating based on financial creditworthiness, China’s social-credit backers want their system to be all-encompassing, to evaluate not just financial matters but anything that might speak to a person’s trustworthiness. In modern China, “trust-keeping is insufficiently rewarded, the costs of breaking trust tend to be low,” a 2014 Chinese government document describing the government’s plans notes.

The social-credit system aims to change that – raising the penalties for poor conduct and the rewards for deferential behaviour.

It is the most ambitious attempt by any government in modern history to fuse technology with behavioural control, placing China at the forefront of a new kind of authoritarianism, one that can mine a person’s digital existence – shopping habits, friends, criminal records, political views – and judge them according to the state’s standard of reliability.

What, me worry…that’s China.

What goes around eventually comes around, and quickly, especially when it comes to technology.

Think the criminals running the show here in the US wouldn’t want to implement a “social-credit control system” where they are the final judge of citizens’ behavior, their shopping habits, the friends they have, political views, etc., to the point of preventing the “unclean” from living?

Liu Hu spent two decades pushing hard at the bounds of censorship in China. An accomplished journalist, he used a blog to accuse high-level officials of corruption and wrongdoing and to publish details of misconduct by authorities.

In late 2013, he was arrested and accused of “fabricating and spreading rumours.” Late in 2016, in a separate case, a court found him guilty of defamation and ordered him to apologize on his social-media account, which at the time had 740,000 followers. If he was unwilling to do that, the court said, he could pay verdict in an authorized news outlet. Mr. Liu paid the court $115, an amount he says he believed would cover publication costs.

Then, he said, the judge told him the entire verdict needed to be published, at a cost of at least $1,330.

But in the midst of Mr. Liu’s attempt to seek legal redress early in 2017, he discovered that his life had abruptly changed: Without any notice, he had been caught up in the early reaches of a social-credit system that China is developing as a pervasive new tool for social control – one expected to one day tighten the state’s grip on its citizens. Critics have called it an Orwellian creation – a new kind of “thought police.

Most of the world is run by criminals. Little by little each day, our freedoms are being taken away, or if not taken away – controlled by the criminals in government and corporations who are plain and simple, psychopaths. Psychopaths, in case you aren’t aware, could give a shyte about you.

A State’s “standard of reliability”.  Think, if you can, just what that could mean to your life, or the lives of your loved ones.

“Put in the hands of the Chinese government the ability to determine your level of honesty and you have a perfect storm of human-rights abuses,” said Maya Wang, China researcher for Human Rights Watch.

Take the blacklist, which has been devised to deliver shame as well as punishment to offenders. Its website hosts a scrolling list of recent additions, and any name can be searched, typically yielding a brief description of the wrongdoing.

The consequences can be severe. When Xie Wen, the founder of a corporate entertainment firm, was placed on the list after a dispute with another company, banks cut him off, rendering him unable to pay employees and hampering his ability to seek legal redress. Being “discredited” tainted his name and business partners abandoned him.

“I felt like I was being tortured, mentally and physically,” he said. “It’s a psychological burden that will stick to you for quite a few years.”

Here in America, we’re not far away from being shamed for our beliefs and thoughts to the point where our very means of sustaining any type of existence may soon be unavailable to those who don’t adhere to whatever depraved “standard of reliability” is concocted by the current criminals running the show.

Think it isn’t happening? Allow yourself a few quiet moments and think how you self-censor your thoughts, ideas and speech. Ask yourself, how in the hell did this come about?

Orwell underestimated the psychopath’s.

***

Tonight’s musical offering:

(same as last night’s – as it fits the subject matter – a dark and ominous Classical piece of music from Handel, in a delicious “minor” key – used in the movie “Barry Lyndon” –  one damn fine movie from Mr. Stanley Kubrick.)

G. F. Handel ★ Sarabande

National Philarmonica Orchestra diretta da Leonard Rosenman ~ Le immagini sono tratte dal film “Barry Lyndon” ( 1975 ) di Stanley Kubrick.

Photo credit (front page):  http://www.unsplash.com/@paulgilmore

 

 

 

 

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