Silicon Valley is increasingly amassing power while it develop surveillance-based technology to monitor and regulate personal behavior, systems that are akin to Communist China’s totalitarian “social credit system.”
China’s social credit system aggressively employs the Internet to spy on 1.3 billion citizenry during every moment of their lives, mixing in “government information,” data from private business operations and performance data from each subject’s occupation to compute a “social credit” score, similar to the credit ratings compiled by financial institutions.
Beijing established its social credit system in 2014, allowing the communist regime to monitor its citizenry’s Internet activity, financial transactions and the acceptability of each person’s behavior in 2014. Engaging in “untrustworthy” behavior, ranging from jaywalking or walking a dog without a leash to supporting political dissidents or criticizing the government on the internet, decrease a citizen’s score.
A citizen whose score drops low enough is subject to strict punitive recourse including bans from public transportation, are on blacklists from attending top-rated schools, and prohibited from high earning jobs.
The primary objective of the social credit system is to “allow the trustworthy to roam everywhere under heaven while making it hard for the discredited to take a single step,” according to the Chinese government.
According to the Global Times, China’s state-run newspaper, 13.49 million Chinese citizens have been blacklisted for being “untrustworthy” by May 2019, while the system blocked an unspecified number of travelers from buying over 23 million airplane, train, and bus tickets nationwide.
American high-tech companies – Google, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Apple, Cisco, and Intel – are doing the same thing to us.
In an article titled “Uh-oh: Silicon Valley is building a Chinese-style social credit system,” Fast Company’s Mike Elgan details how tech giants are employing extralegal efforts to create a social credit system here in the United States.
“Many Westerners are disturbed by what they read about China’s social credit system. But such systems, it turns out, are not unique to China. A parallel system is developing in the United States, in part as the result of Silicon Valley and technology-industry user policies, and in part by surveillance of social media activity by private companies,” he warns.
Americans are now subject to bans from insurance companies, transportation and accommodation for travelers and excluded by corporate America, as they are systematically rated by what they post on social media, Eglan explains.
“The New York State Department of Financial Services announced earlier this year that life insurance companies can base premiums on what they find in your social media posts. That Instagram pic showing you teasing a grizzly bear at Yellowstone with a martini in one hand, a bucket of cheese fries in the other, and a cigarette in your mouth, could cost you.
An app called “PatronScan,” that logs the face and name of troublesome bar and restaurant clientele, and services like Airbnb, Uber, and WhatsApp are also banning users for arbitrary reasons, he continues.
When customers arrive at a PatronScan-using bar, their ID is scanned. The company maintains a list of objectionable customers designed to protect venues from people previously removed for “fighting, sexual assault, drugs, theft, and other bad behavior,” according to its website. A “public” list is shared among all PatronScan customers. So someone who’s banned by one bar in the U.S. is potentially banned by all the bars in the U.S., the U.K., and Canada that use the PatronScan system for up to a year.
“Airbnb can disable your account for life for any reason it chooses, and it reserves the right to not tell you the reason. The company’s canned message includes the assertion that “This decision is irreversible and will affect any duplicated or future accounts. Please understand that we are not obligated to provide an explanation for the action taken against your account.” The ban can be based on something the host privately tells Airbnb about something they believe you did while staying at their property.”
It’s now easy to get banned by Uber, too. Whenever you get out of the car after an Uber ride, the app invites you to rate the driver. What many passengers don’t know is that the driver now also gets an invitation to rate you. Under a new policy announced in May: If your average rating is “significantly below average,” Uber will ban you from the service.
While these platforms are now essential for maintaining a social network, building a business, running for office, “law enforcement may be determined less by the Constitution and legal code, and more by end-user license agreements,” Eglar concludes.
The tech industry is instituting a social credit system specifically to demonetize and deplatform conservatives and the censorship is only going to get worse unless government intervenes, investigative journalist Laura Loomer predicts.
“We are seeing people who are developing this very communist mentality, where by, not only do we not deserve a platform, it’s these people do not deserve a right to speak,” said Loomer, who has been banned from Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for exposing the corruption of Democratic lawmakers.
“It’s not just a matter of people’s access to Facebook or Twitter. People’s civil rights are being violated,” she said. “We know at their core the executives that run these institutions – where they hold our money, where they store our data, where they control our emails – they are all radical leftists.
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