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Watched, Rated, Controlled: The Future of Surveillance in China - Behind the News

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How would you feel if your every move and decision was being tracked, recorded, and ranked? Well it's a new system the government of China is testing out.

Imagine if everywhere you went, someone was watching you, and judging your every move. Giving you points for doing good things and taking them away when you mess up.

That is a very real situation here, in China. There are around 200 million cameras throughout the country, and the government's looking at using technology like facial recognition, body scanning and geo-tracking, matched with personal data, to keep tabs on people all the time. In real life, and online.

It's called the Social Credit System, and all of those points add up or down to an overall score. And that score has some very real impacts on what citizens here can and can't do. Chinese authorities have used it to ban more than 7 million people who are considered "untrustworthy" from boarding flights, and 3 million from riding on high speed trains.

The score is made up of a combination of positive criminal, academic and medical records, and stuff like whether someone pays their bills on time. Having a good score does come with some perks, like not paying a deposit renting cars & houses, or using hotels.

Have a bad one, and you could be stopped from doing normal, everyday things. Liu Hu, an investigative journalist, says that's happening to him. He's outed corrupt Chinese offficials in the past.

He's been accused of not paying a fine, and ever since, this system has prevented from doing all kinds of stuff.

There are a range of different security systems being trialled around China right now, but China's planning to have the final one in place across the whole country by 2020.

So what do you think about it?


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