And maybe coming soon to the US as well, enough to make Orwell sit up and take notice.
The first show of the 2016 season of the sci fi TV show, “Black Mirror,” called “Nosedive,” showed a future society where people have overall social scores (1-5) that are constantly being changed based on what they do and who they interact with and how. Access to many things is based on one’s rating. The female lead has a middling score and wants to raise it by attending wedding of friend with higher rating, Her efforts to do so lead her to do things that make her rating fall, which then leads it to nosedive as others downrate her and dump her,with her ending up in prison. While not quite that far gone, a system like this seems to be emerging in China, including the phenomenon of people dumping others whose social rating is falling, thus putting them into such a nosedive. However, the scores are 350-950, resembling FICO financial ratings used initially by mortgage lenders in the US.
The emerging system is described in a recent Wired article by Mara Hvistendahl (probably Norwegian or Danish) who is currently living in China and has a low rating she has been trying to raise as she is shut out of buying various things due to it, I suspect part of her low rating is because she is a foreigner, which she never mentions as a possible reason, but her description of how the system works and is being developed jointly by the Chinese government in conjunction with Alibaba through its Alipay system, particularly its Zhima “credit scoring system.” It was initially a commercial system based on what people buy, but using big data goes much further to rate more broadly how people behave and with whom. Thus a journalist who reported on corruption now has a low rating and cannot do many things. Tyler Cowen has a link to this in his assorted links for Tuesday the 19th on Marginal Revolution, but I am having trouble linking either to either. (Dan here…fixed link)
Curiously in yesterday’s “China Watch,” a pro-Chinese government monthly newspaper that comes with the Washington Post, bragged about parts of this system in two articles. One entitled “Alibaba credit scorer looks past deposits” reports on how its advanced “risk control” system is bringing in insurance companies to help businesses avoid not getting paid. The other, “Recruiters Switch On To Social Media,” reports how businesses search for possible employees by looking at their social networks on social media.. The benefits to those who might gain are stressed, but no possible downsides or criticism are mentioned.
Hvistendahl points out that much of this already going on in the US, with all of us being rated constantly by far more entities than we are aware of on grounds we shall never discover. What is missing here so far is a government drive to centralize it and exploit it for broader purposes of political and social control at least for now.
The article concludes with how the system in China is increasingly shifting to using facial recognition systems in all this, with one person she spoke with having experienced false facial recognition. As it is, the Washington Post itself had a story on Wednesday on the main guy in China developing the system. There was no mention of failures in it, although there was a brief mention of how privacy activists are concerned about with the spread of ubiquitous public surveillance cameras, something happening in the US as well, if a bit more slowly.
Indeed, George Orwell would be proud.
I recall automobile dealers basing loan limits & interest rates on color of people’s skin and neiborhood of reidence independent of skin color. There is no doubt that this practice continues, whether expressly or by non- Verbal communication between automobile dealer and sales & finance org.::: “if you get my drift”
There are or have been myriads of reports that employers demand or request voluntary disclosure of social media accounts during interviews with prospective candidates for employment.
So Barkley this type of ranking has been going on forever already in the U.S.
Hasn’t anybody noticed that since forever to obtain any size loan from a bank you have to go through a loan officer… does anybody think this officer is just juggling numbers?
The U.S. has been way ahead of China on this… we call it SOP. Recall that anybody who had any visible tattoos, rings in noses or lips, flaming orange, green, or blue hair, or mohok hairstyle, or wore their pants too low, or displayed Nazi swastica necklace or other such visible signs, or had a dishonorable discharge for any reason at all from military service, or who was a conscientious objector, or perhaps had Asien heritage, or wore a headscarf, or were visibly gay (“queer” in the vernacular at the time), & don’t forget if you were an alleged member of the communist party or even associated with an allegend member.
We refer to all these things as “character” assessments, but what they are in fact are “conformity” assessments… conforming to the acceptable by those who decided the arbitrary criteria for “acceptable”.
You don’t think the probabilities are high that you are on some gov,t watch list if you are in the potentially “unacceptable” catagory… and I don’t mean just the “no fly” list. Civil rights activists Wes under surveillance by the FBI, as you will certainly recall… “unacceptable” because you wew not in conformance with the arbitrary “acceptable” criteria.
You don’t think investigative reporters who are disclosing gov’t coverups aren’t under active suvailance or on.”watch lists”, and that this list isn’t used to make life difficult for those who are on it?
I doubt China is doing anything different than the U.S. has been doing forever, and still does in spades.. perhaps only putting technology to use to make it more efficient.
Your post reminds me of “those terrible countries that use torture” which the U.S. has never done & would never do.
We call all this “protecting ou way of life” & put it in the law as “national security”.
Do not disagree with any of your comments, except I think there is more than just a change in tech here. It is this weird feedback mechanism due to the public interconnectedness with people dumping others whose ratings fall. We had something like that during McCarthyism, when people shunned those put on blacklists. But this seems to me to be operating at a qualitatively new and worse level, Not the same as what we have seen previously, and do note I say it is in US already and likely to worsen.
Simple solution which I have done, being past full reitrement age, just say no to social media. No to Facebook, and no to putting anything into the cloud. After all home disk storage is down to $25 a terabyte on disks now. Perhaps if I was younger I would see the point, but its just like I don’t have a smart phone since other that going to the grocery store I just say home. (the car has onstar if it breaks down,and when I travel I have a dumb cell phone)
Barkley, maybe you aren’t familiar with Nestdoor. it does precisely what you say is occurring… only so far only on a neighborhood only bass… easily extendible to larger geographies.
My wife is a member, so I hear about the denigrations by influential people who live in our neighborhood against others. This wouldn’t be so bad other than creating animosities but these same denigrators also own businesses and have influence with city council & police services.
That makes it “social media” with political and economic clout, including copious use of implied (read between the lines) threats or what are perceived as same. it’s not far from “ranking” on some scale of “acceptable” people… a minor change.
(I hit button too soon)
I think what the systems referred to in China may be just be a more direct or formalized method of what we do in the U.S. by surreptitious and informal means. No real difference.
The difference I think is that China doesn’t have to worry about formalizing a system which is already informally in place (as in the U.S. as well as China, among many other nations as well) because they don’t have to worry about public opinion in direct representation voters… just as, I think, Trump doesn’t have to worry about alienating his base.
Recall the effect when the informal and well understood “takers and makers” were mentioned by Romney in his “private” speech to fellow oligarchs. the well understood informal became formal by inadvertent means, which has a surface effect in the U.S. but it doesn’t do a thing to change the informal system of “class” ranking of “acceptable” and “unacceptable” an iota.
It you’re going run an orderly nation with benefits to the population which appreciates and expects them, and those are at odds with a tiny minority who already have more than their share of benefits, then you’re not likely to put that orderly system at risk if it’s not absolutely necessary to insure that system remains both orderly and in the hands of those that run it..
It the U.S. had 1.4 billion population instead of less than a third of that, and if population density was 4x that of the U.S. I think we would govern differently too. I think you have to keep things in perspective..
The Netherlands has a denser population than China, and they do not pull this sort of garbage there.
Perspective? You want perspective? By 2020 China will a half billion of these security cameras, one for every three Chinese.
More perspective? Equating a loan officer with the government in China is beyond silly. Yes, in the US(and most of the world) we can find much information about peoples’ financial and social interactions. Not even remotely close to the system in place in China.
And we sure cannot find people in seven minutes:
And so it sounds like you’re relating national control to freedom? or privacy? And you exclude NSA’s forms or what?
Barkley… dumb response… Netherlands population is what?
I fail to see the difference in how a nation controls it’s population.. the point is that it’s done by covert or overt means in any event, and the US is no different..
You’ve apparently decided a’priori that some means are subjectively superior to some other.
I see it only as differences in the means which no matter what they are have the same intent and effect — maintain control at any cost to prevent chaos and disorder.
I make distinctions on whether the population is beneficially improved by the means, or whether they are being more enslaved, exploited and reduced in comfort and conveniences, health, education, etc.
You apparently make the distinctions in means and put greater weight on “privacy” and “freedom of expression/association”, right to bear arms, right to suppress and exploit members of a nation who are of a different race than the vast majority, etc. than on the beneficial comforts, conveniences, health and well being.
Netherlands has three times the population density of China. If you want to say it is all about total population, well India closing on China on that one and nothing like China or even US’s policies on these matters.
Yeah, NSA spying on all of us, but not going around assigning public scores that people act on.
just btw, why would you care how many camera’s were watching you and recording your behavior, associations, activities? Would it change them at all? If so why?
Maybe you’re afraid of how the information may be used by change in regimes that use it suppress or virtually enslave those that actively oppose it and would overthrow it if possible. Like FBI and NSA aren’t doing this as we speak, but we wouldn’t known how many people are detained indefinitely would we? Or how many are shipped off to other nations to be detained remotely either would we? I’m not saying we do, I’m saying we wouldn’t be informed of it in any event. I’m sure you recall the Pentagon Papers disclosures… decades of secrets from the public.. while telling it lies.
What is the U.S incarceration as proportion of our population? Maybe you think the NSA or other unknown gov’t agencies and methods in the U.S. aren’t the same by other means.. covert instead of overt.
I don’t know what you think or which tradeoffs you are and aren’t willing to make at what consequence or to whose consequence, so I’m just guessing based on what just posted in your response. .
From all available evidence, confirmed by outside observers and huge numbers of foreign visitors, both official and civilian, China as vastly improved its population’s comforts and conveniences, standards of living, educational attainment levels, health care in every segment of it’s nation and economy at a far faster rate over a broader proportion of it’s people than any other nation has ever done on such a scale. Those Chinese I know who visit their Chinese relatives every couple of years or so (in remote villages in the interior) tell me the improved standard of living, peoples elations with how their lot in life and those of their children have changed and keep getting better.
Yes as we know there are those that want more freedom’s, freedom of press, expression, association, religion, etc. But there are the same in the US who want more of these as well… we read about legal suits to do so every day in every walk of life. It’s always and only a matter of degree and the matter of degree is always relative. At the same time we have large segments who want more suppressions, less freedoms for everybody but themselves.
Don’t you think this is universally the case? and then isn’t it paramount to prevent chaos and disorder from ensuing because of these differences?.. which I’m sure you know would be the case unless a gov’t took charge to prevent it… which means not everybody get’s their way in the nature of levels of freedom they think they deserve or are somehow entitled to by their personal individual god’s decree.
The US and most of Europe think freedom of speech and association are necessary freedoms but China doesn’t agree in their case with their population. So what? Who’s right is it to say who get’s what freedoms and who doesn’t? Dictators and suppressive exploitive regimes have existed for millennia among human groups. and still exit in varying degrees everywhere…perhaps less obvious in some cases and more obvious in others.
The US used extreme suppression and exploitation for a 100 years before the Civil Rights and Voting Rights acts and their enforcement until just a few decades ago but continue to use it in cities and towns all across the country with higher concentrations of it in some places than others, and this is perfectly ok because why? If it weren’t perfectly ok, then why does it continue unless gov’t lets I or even supports itt?
Do not waste my time with any more of your long, droning posts that inevitably trip over each other.
“just btw, why would you care how many camera’s were watching you and recording your behavior, associations, activities? Would it change them at all? If so why?”
In the US I could care less. In China there are uncounted millions that care greatly. Their lives, both physically and mentally, are in danger on a constant basis.
If I criticize our politicians or their policies, I am not likely to be subjected to harm.
That is the difference.
Let me know how many people are in jail without charges, bail, , etc. in the US due to the NSA and/or FBI due to “subversion of the state”.
“Amnesty International has documented widespread human rights violations in China. An estimated 500,000 people are currently enduring punitive detention without charge or trial, and millions are unable to access the legal system to seek redress for their grievances. Harassment, surveillance, house arrest, and imprisonment of human rights defenders are on the rise, and censorship of the Internet and other media has grown. Repression of minority groups, including Tibetans, Uighurs and Mongolians, and of Falun Gong practitioners and Christians who practice their religion outside state-sanctioned churches continues. While the recent reinstatement of Supreme People’s Court review of death penalty cases may result in lower numbers of executions, China remains the leading executioner in the world.
Detention Without Trial
The authorities frequently used administrative punishments, including Re-education through Labour (RTL), to detain people without trial. According to the government, 190,000 people were held in RTL facilities, down from half a million several years ago, although the real figures were likely to be much higher. Former RTL prisoners reported that Falun Gong constituted one of the largest groups of prisoners, and political activists, petitioners and others practising their religion outside permitted bounds were common targets. The authorities used a variety of illegal forms of detention, including “black jails”, “legal education classes”, “study classes” and mental health institutions to detain thousands of people.
China continued to make extensive use of the death penalty, including for non-violent crimes. The death sentence continued to be imposed after unfair trials. Statistics on death sentences and executions remained classified as state secrets and, while executions numbered in the thousands, the government did not release actual figures.
Freedom of Expression
As the internet was increasingly used to disseminate news and conduct debates, the authorities tried to control its use by restricting news reporting and shutting down publications and internet sites, including ones that “slandered the country’s political system”, “distorted the history of the Party”, “publicized Falun Gong and other evil cults”, and “incited ethnic splittism”. The government blocked access to content and recorded individuals’ activities through new filtering software such as Blue Shield.
Following the publication of Charter 08 in December 2008, a document calling for political reform and greater protection of human rights, police questioned signatories and put them under surveillance for many months.
Liu Xiaobo, a prominent intellectual and signatory originally detained in December 2008, was sentenced to 11 years’ imprisonment on 25 December for “inciting subversion of state power”. His lawyers were given only 20 minutes to present their case, in a trial that lasted less than three hours.”
And that’s what we know.
And Bark’s column shows how these actions are being pursued. Reminds me of the Hitler Youth turning in their friends and parents to gain “social credit”.
And this is not to defend any illegal activities of the FBI or the NSA. Two different subjects, and one is brought in to excuse the other you are:
“Trump’s slightly subtler tactic is a term Oliver called “whataboutism,” a fallacy with roots in old Soviet propaganda that shifts any given topic to another, potentially irrelevant one. “It implies that all actions regardless of context share a moral equivalency,” says Oliver. “And since nobody is perfect, all criticism is hypocritical and everyone should do whatever they want … It doesn’t solve a problem or win an argument. The point is just to muddy the waters, which just makes the other side mad…..
“None of the errors people may have made in the past excuse the Trump administration’s actions,” said Oliver. “A defense attorney could not stand up in court and say, ‘Maybe my client did murder those people, but I ask you this: What about Jeffrey Dahmer?* What about Al Capone? What about the guy from Silence of the Lambs?’ I rest my case!”
I’m sorry, EMichael, but it isn’t my intent or wish to waste any of your time with my comments
I asked you a question about multiple camera’s being distributed to view how people behave or associate or move in public.
From your response it turns out that you have no gripe with the cameras at all. You concern is fear of how the information camera’s provide will be used to harm you or restrict you, or be used against you.
Which I would also characterize as a strong preference for retaining as much privacy about what you do, who you associate with, and where you go as you can possibly achieve.
And by such degree of maintaining your privacy you believe it protects you from authority doing what they decide is against the authorities interests.
Did I get that right?
Furthermore you said in the U.S. you don’t need to be afraid that the authority’s information about you will be used against you, restrict your associations, or where you go. From which I gather you trust the authorities objectives and interests are for your own benefits and protections.
Did I get this right so far?
But you fear for the Chinese because you deem their authorities to have objectives and interests that are not to the Chinese’s benefits and protections.
Is that a fair statement of what you believe?
So if that’s the case, then what you have done is decide what constitutes the greater benefits and protections for the Chinese and presumably you have decided this by contrasting them with the consequences of not having the benefits and protections provided by the Chinese authorities. Maybe it would be clearer if I said you have weighted the various benefits and protections differently than the Chinese authorities weight them relative to alternatives or even that you weight them differently than the majority of Chinese people weight them.
Then if that’s the case you are passing your own preferences as being superior to the preferences of others. .. specifically the authorities or people of China.
But then who decides what preferences are superior and for what reasons? You are certainly entitled to your opinions and own preferences that is not being questioned by me.
As best I can fathom, and for which history attests as well, each authority (nation in this context) is entitled to their own opinions and preferences which differ from others in uncounted ways, else all nations would voluntarily be subject to only one authority…or all US States having the same preferences and opinions, or the EU nations not retaining their national autonomy, but subjecting themselves wholly to the majority opinion of all EU nations combined, with no objection.
And since it is obvious that this doesn’t occur and as yet has never occurred among human populations, then each authority is and remains, by global affirmation of all nations the only authority and is allowed by international consensus to exercise their own preferences and priorities, weights, and opinions independent of other nation’s authorities.
Yet you do not acknowledge this condition as being “justified” but instead pass your own preferences as if you have the right of authority over other nations preferences, weightings, opinions, etc.
The difference between what I believe and what you believe is that I don’t pass such judgments as if mine are superior about what other nations’ authorities should or shouldn’t do, though I, like you, also have and express my opinions about them.
As to your single sided selective citations on human rights issues and violations if you were being objective you would have had to include the same sources information about U.S. human rights issues and violations.
I said that if the US had the same population size as China or the same density which also means a population size much nearer China’s than our present population spread over the area of the US — which is very different than tiny nations like the Netherlands — , we would also govern differently.
Your Netherlands density comparison is silly and you know it.. why bother with that silliness.
You example of India’s population and density is more to the point.
But being that your aware of international conditions you also know the huge question has long been posed as to why India hasn’t even remotely kept pace with China’s beneficial advances it’s made with it’s population..
I think the answer is pretty simple… they govern differently… recalling that India is an oligopolistic democracy of a kind, and China is a communist democracy of a kind.. the difference being in who gets to vote..
The best data I can find on China’s incarcerations is the 500k cited In Emichael’s comment above plus 1.66 million cited the Institute for Criminal Policy Research and it could be as high as 2.3 million.
2.3e6/1.4e9 population = 0.16% max estimated incarceration rate in China
In the US the most recent data is from Bureau of Justice for YE 2015 at 6.7 million
On Jan 1 2016 the US population was 322 million
6.7e6 / 322e6 = 2.1% US incarceration rate
China / US incarceration rate:
0.16% / 2.1% = 0.077%
China’s maximum estimated incarceration rate is < 0.08% of the US's. or stated differently the US's incarceration rate is 13x China's.
The only point here is that China and the US govern differently to keep their respective populations under control according to each nation's criteria for what control means to it's respective governments.
The US puts 13x more people behind bars than China while China dispenses with the charade of the US "due process" and makes the trials quick and simple, whereas in the U.S. most alleged crimes aren't tried at all.. they are "plea bargained" instead.. a nice legal term meaning accept lighter sentence or take your chances for a much, much longer one by going to trial with incompetent overworked public defenders and impatient judges whose courts are over-booked anyway and so which you are likely to lose.
In the US its just a hugely lower public cost to keep all the alleged crimes from going to trial and imprison the accused instead.
Or maybe we should ask what the U.S laws are that allow police to accuse and public prosecutors to charge for so many crimes in the first place?