At first glance, many Americans who hear the details of China’s social credit score program dismiss it. This is the type of program that could never reach the western world, and even if it did creep into nations run by authoritarian governments like France, it could never make it to the United States, right? Except, it can. And it is. And it will.
Under China’s social credit scoring system, which is already in place in most of China despite an official launch next year, Chinese citizens are monitored everywhere. They’re monitored on the streets and dinged if they jaywalk. They’re monitored on public transportation and get dinged if they smoke. They’re monitored while they shop with every transaction recorded. They’re monitored online to the point that getting online requires a facial scan. They’re even monitored in toilets where facial recognition dispensers make sure nobody takes more than three sheets of toilet paper. Seriously.
The repercussions of having a low social credit score are straight out of an Orwellian novel. Those who are “blacklisted” cannot travel. They cannot stay in certain hotels or eat at certain restaurants. Employers are discouraged from hiring them. Friends are discouraged from associating with them. Anyone who doesn’t walk the Communist Party line and actively contribute to the party’s goals are considered enemies of the people and will be publicly shamed before being privately, quietly removed.
The world is reacting, and not in the way freedom-loving Americans would expect. I’ll admit, I was shocked to learn how many nations are watching China closely and starting to mimic their endeavors. They’re installing CCTV cameras every and pushing for biometrics usage in more and more areas. If that doesn’t sound familiar, it’s because you’re not paying attention. In the United States, CCTV cameras are going up everywhere and various government agencies are embracing the biometrics trend. Currently, it’s not nefarious for the most part. The embrace of these technologies is for practical purposes. But any technology as powerful as this, with tracking equipment connected to AI and stored in vast databases, can and eventually will be used against the people.
How many of you have smart devices in you homes, cars, and places of employment? You probably think it’s just the tinfoil hat crowd who is worried about these technologies invading our lives. For now, that’s the case. But as more stories emerge that the data is not secure and it’s not dormant, we have to become acutely aware of the potential for disaster that we’re willingly letting into our lives. What’s happening in China today is a bad election and a mainstream media push away from being implemented piecemeal or wholesale in America in the near future.
The Constitution is only as strong as the people’s will to protect it. China’s influence over the world and even our nation must never be ignored. What they’re doing today is what a radical progressive American government may do tomorrow.