When you are looking to make a major purchase, lenders and retailers will look at your credit score to determine how likely you are to make good on your payments.
A social credit score is similar, but it doesn’t only take your finances into account. It also looks at your moral compass as a person considering things like your charitable donations, whether or not you pick up after your pet and if you criticize the government.
Social credit scores have been used in China since 2014. They are three-digit numbers that range from 350 to 950. They are looked when determining whether or not a person can travel outside a nation’s borders, whether they will be approved for loans and it can even affect their dating eligibility.
While it may not be surprising that this sort of system in upheld in a communist country such as China, people may be blown away to find out that it is fast becoming used in America as well. However, in America, it is not upheld by the government but by private companies.
Editor’s Note: Upon further research it was this article I found which inspired me to create this article, enjoy! Check out: Report: America Has a Social Credit System Much Like China’s
Read on to find out about some of the ways it’s being played out in the U.S. and what it can mean for you.
Examples of the Social Credit System
Here are some examples of companies that are using the social credit system in the way they deal with customers.
- Life insurance companies base premiums on the content of their customer’s social media feeds.
- A company called Patron Scan provides a list of “objectionable customers” bars and restaurants may not want to welcome into their establishments.
- Airbnb can ban anyone they want without giving them a reason. If you become banned from the platform, it may affect your ability to find lodgings anywhere in the world.
- An Uber ban can affect a person’s ability to travel anywhere.
- Getting banned from WhatsApp and similar services can negatively impact your ability to communicate with any other person.
- Google hired the Southern Poverty Law Center to censor YouTube videos on the premise of eliminating hate speech. However, they ended up giving a disproportionate amount of power to the SPLC allowing them to ban all people and organizations that go against their values.
But it isn’t just companies that are enforcing the social credit system. Here are some ways it’s playing out in everyday life.
- In western New York, a school district attempted to implement facial recognition to track students and faculty. In doing so, the school was hoping to come up with a process to only let certain people into the building in an effort to minimize guns and threats. The system was quickly vetoed due to public outcry.
- In 2017, the United States began requiring visa applicants to submit social media profiles along with their application. This followed a move from the Department of Homeland Security to surveil the social media of all immigrants and naturalized citizens.
- Airports have begun using facial recognition to check in passengers on the premise this would help speed up the process. However, one database of traveler photos has already been breached by hackers.
- Dartmouth researchers announced a system for measuring employee performance using smartphones, fitness bracelets and custom apps.
The Social Credit System is Unconstitutional
Not only is the social credit system unconstitutional, it uses a system of punishments that works outside of the official justice system. What’s more, the accused have fewer rights.
If the system continues to develop, those found guilty of misdemeanors and felonies may not end up getting punished by the government but by Silicon Valley businesses. Therefore, if Americans object to the system, they are unable to re-elect new leaders. In fact, they are basically powerless to do anything about it.
However, the fact that the system is backed by large corporations and not the government means it is not centrally organized. This leaves room for people to take power. However, there may be a time when it does become centralized and this could be a very definite threat to our freedom.
Could the Equality Act Be Laying the Groundwork?
Many believe the Equality Act and the social credit system go hand in hand.
The Equality Act is currently being considered for passage by the United States Congress. If passed, it would amend the Civil Rights Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity regarding employment, housing, public accommodations, education, federal funding, credit and the jury system.
In part, it forces businesses and professionals to identify transgender people according to the gender they identify with and not the gender they were assigned to at birth.
While this looks good on the surface, it can also mean that the government has control to shut down businesses or fire workers who do not use the proper protocol in identifying transgender people even if they are doing so in accordance with their moral and religious beliefs. Many wonder if this is another way the government is working to exert even more control over its citizens.
How Could the Social Credit System Affect the Economy?
If the social system continues to grow, the effects will definitely be felt on a financial level.
Already, many companies who identify as conservative activists have had their bank accounts inexplicably cancelled by Chase Bank. Chase, Wells Fargo and Bank of America have also caved to those who advocate open borders by breaking ties with businesses that provide services for immigrant camps and detention centers.
On a personal level, people who are subjected to a social credit score check may be limited in achieving financial goals that have become benchmarks of the American dream. Those with a low score may be unable to buy a car or own a home. They may even be unable to get the jobs they want, even if they are qualified.
As a result, our entire economic system can continue to decline. Unemployment rates will grow, the ability to make major purchases will be limited and the entire world will end up feeling the financial effects.
A social credit system can be devastating to America’s economy and free speech. We can only hope that it does not continue to oppress us in coming years.