19 Dec 2019

The Chinese Don’t Need Impeachment Inquiries. They Have a Citizen Score.

China is becoming the first society to connect all the data from a vast array of digital surveillance technologies, with an aim to seemingly control the population. China’s communist party is developing a “citizen score” to incentivize “good” behavior, harnessing advances in artificial intelligence, data mining, storage, facial recognition and indoor and outdoor video from connected devices and surveillance.

So what? Uber has already done this (see Tech Essentials Blog). They are incentivizing good behavior and big tippers with their driver/passenger scoring systems.

China, however, is creating their citizen score based on where you go, when you go, who you interact with, what political party affiliations you have, what you write in email, what you purchase, what you post online and more.

Your “citizen score” can follow you wherever you go, as the Atlantic reports. A high score could allow you access to faster internet service, a faster lane on the highway, the ability to travel to certain locations, and even cause you to pay higher or lower taxes. If you make political posts online without a permit or question or contradict the government’s official narrative on current events, for example, your score could decrease. If you attend a political rally and have a happy expression on your face, your citizen score could increase. To calculate the score, private companies working with the government constantly trawl through vast amounts of your social media, location, video, photo and online shopping data; synthesizing all this data in a citizen score algorithm.

When you step outside your door, your actions in the physical world are also tracked; the government gathers an enormous collection of information through video cameras placed on your street and all over your city. If you simply jaywalk, facial recognition algorithms will match video footage of your face to your photo in a national ID database. Boom, your citizen score is downgraded.

In China, there is no need for weeks of impeachment hearings. The Government knows. They know everything and have the video footage and data forensics to prove what they know.

Assuming the US Government’s surveillance is as good and vast as that of the Chinese, perhaps the future of impeachment hearings will simply be based on the President’s Chinese style “citizen score”.

While this might save lots of congressional debate time, some certainly will believe the scoring criteria unfair. The impact of the citizen score will ultimately be based on an algorithm containing:

  • -A rating that some tech developers created;
  • -What the score keepers believe is positive or negative behavior;
  • -Societal positive or negative locations visited;
  • -Telephone conversations, purchases, websites visited and emails.

One thing you can do as long as encryption is permitted (perhaps not for long in China), is easily prevent your email content from being associated with your citizen score.

Simple. Send anything you do not want to be associated with your public digital identity encrypted. RMail email encryption makes it easy.

RPost’s RMail service uses 256-bit AES encryption to protect your sensitive emails and attachments. With options for secure end-to-end delivery, RMail will at least help you keep some of your information private; your email.

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