Hey 42: here every single day you voluntarily give hundreds of data points to giant multibillion-dollar tech companies, but in the worst possible scenario imaginable, how could all this data be used against you if some corporation or perhaps the government, had the motivation to do so? The answer may terrify you, but first let’s, take a look at a place that is already using people’s, data to test the limits of human rights, China.
China is run by a communist party and they have begun to show the world just how dystopian a country can become in the digital age. You may have already heard about the Social Credit system currently being trialed across China.
The idea has been around in China since 2001 and it’s expected to be fully operational across all of mainland China by 2020, affecting and controlling 1.4 billion people. In case you haven’t heard of it here’s.
A quick lowdown every citizen is given a social credit score which is similar to the financial credit scores we have in the West. It ranges from 350 to 950. Citizens can increase their social credit score by doing good deeds such as reporting crimes, giving blood and carrying out heroic apps, whatever the hell.
That means, but it will get knocked down if they jaywalk commit crimes, are loud in public or drop cigarette butts or other litter. On the ground, but it gets even scarier. The aim is for the whole system to be automated and China is working with private companies to actively develop AI systems that monitor citizens 24/7 online and offline.
China currently has the largest CCTV network in the world by a large margin, with over 200 million cameras currently installed nationwide, and the government says they are aiming to increase this to six hundred million by 2020.
But China’s. Cctv system has a disturbing difference. It is powered by artificial intelligence. Cctv in China can recognize faces in a split second and match it to a huge database of over a billion people.
It can even recognize what people are doing in real time. Are they crossing the street illegally? Are they arguing with someone the camera knows and if it detects such activity, it can automatically deduct a few points from that individuals, social credit score.
The cameras are able to recognize, license plate numbers and can do the exact same for bad driving. Behavior. The social credit system is also heavily entangled with Chinese payment processors, such as Ali pay, who have helped the government to develop algorithms that can automatically adjust an individual’s, social credit score based on their spending behavior.
For example, if someone regularly purchases beer that could indicate they are in addict and so points will be deducted, points are also deducted for purchasing too many article games, article games and beer account for a large portion of my monthly expenditure, so I would be completely screwed, Whereas if a woman purchases diapers it according to the government, is indicative of a responsible personality and so their social credit score will receive an automatic boost and if an individual marries someone with a lower social credit score than themself, it will pull Laz down with it.
As you may imagine, this terrifying system crosses over to the online world. The Chinese government monitors the social media posts and web browsing activity of every one of its citizens. If they post anything negative about China or the Communist Party, then their score is reduced.
Similarly, any online activity that China deems to be negative, such as spamming, angry posting or simply visiting the various web sites, will put black marks on people’s. Records people with low social credit ratings are named and shamed in public large digital billboards in shopping malls on train stations show the faces names under dress of local residents with the lowest scores.
There is even a mobile app that shows the names and locations of anyone with a low score in your vicinity in real time, whereas so-called model citizens are venerated on local information billboards in town squares.
If the citizens social credit score falls below a certain threshold, they are automatically placed on a blacklist. Blacklisted individuals are banned from purchasing train or aeroplane tickets. They cannot apply for a loan or rent a flat.
They may not even be able to get a phone contract and their social media accounts are closed down. They are effectively forced out of society and become prisoners within their own home and they have usually not committed any crime, but the scariest part about China’s.
Social credit system is not the system itself, but how the people of China seem to be so openly accepting of it. Whenever Western journalists interviewed Chinese citizens, all they can do is rave about how much it has improved their lives and community.
But then speaking negatively about the system itself is grounds for one school to be severely reduced and Chinese experts who have escaped the system tell a completely different and more dystopian story.
Also, the entire system will naturally appear more totalitarian to any Westerner, because we are brought up with genuine liberties and an individualist mentality. Whereas China has a history of the state ruling with an iron fist and the people are raised in a collectivist mentality where the state is prioritized over any one person, whether or not a social credit system would ever be implemented in the West is unknown.
For the sake of basic human rights, let’s all hope it isn’t, but the amount of data you voluntarily hand over to Silicon Valley, companies each and every day means they have enough of a digital portrait.
Of who you are to turn on a social credit system Morrow if they or the government desired, Google knows your movements, what you search for, and what kind of articles you like to watch a Facebook knows who your friends and family are the websites you visit your Likes and dislikes your hopes and fears, a Google Apple or Facebook knows your exact spending habits depending on whether or not you have linked your bank card to any of their services, and this is just scratching the surface using complex, AI, driven algorithms.
These companies are able to data-mine facts about you that you may not even know about yourself. They can predict when women are pregnant based on their recent purchases. Sometimes before the mother knows they can predict where you are going on a holiday before you even think about booking it.
But of course China differs ideologically from the West. China uses all this personal data to give the state greater control over the people, whereas the US and most of Europe uses that very same data to sell people.
Products which I guess is slightly better than putting people in the world’s largest open-air prison, as some journalists have equated China with recently, you may have noticed how so-called personalized ads follow you around the web.
If you watch a article on YouTube about the latest smartphone, you’ll, be bombarded with ads about that phone for the next week. Today, ads can get creepily. Specific advertisers can choose to target overweight.
Female cat owners who live on a particular street are aged between 50 and 54 and have a secret crush on Phil Collins if they want to all because of the data that those targets freely. Gated companies such as Facebook, Google and Apple, but believe it or not.
This is only the tip of the iceberg. Over the next decades, advertising is going to become more targeted towards you and more seamlessly integrated throughout your daily life. It will get to the point where you won & # 39.
T know what is and is not an advertisement as you walk through town on your way to work, Green’s and shop windows will show you advertisements that only you can see everyone else around. You will see something completely different on the same screen.
Personalized for them only if you ate Brand X cereal at morning, then the advertisement will know that and suggest up tomorrow you try brand y cereal instead. Furthermore, your SmartWatch will pick up on subtle biometric clues to learn how you felt about the third verse.
Wherever you responded to it positively or negatively, this information will be automatically unsilent li relayed to big tech. So they know whether or not to show you that advert or similar adverts again in the future adverts will no longer be about what you want and desire, but they will be based on your emotions and how you feel from day to day from minute to minute.
Your wearable, smart tech will likely be able to tell when you’re having a good day and when you’re feeling a bit down in the dumps. Your mood will affect the advertising you receive in real time. If you’re feeling upbeat and outgoing, you may receive adverts for local theatre shows.
But if you’re in no mood to go out that evening, you’ll more likely receive ads for a new film. You can rent on your Smart TV, perhaps right next to another ad for the local pizza takeout, but what if your data is used for more than advertising? What caught a dystopian political system do with all that data to make your life otally miserable? You’ve, already heard about the horrors of China’s social credit system, but could it come to the west and could it get any worse? Unbelievably? Yes, the first way that your data could and is being used against.
You is in the court system. Eyewitness testimonies are fraught with issues; they have been proven to be unreliable by numerous studies, but what is extremely reliable is your digital data. Police are increasingly using data collected from people’s, phones and various smart devices to collect evidence for a court case.
Recently, a woman in Pennsylvania accused a man of raping her during her sleep, but when police examined the data logs of her Fitbit, it revealed that she had been awake and walking around at the time when she reported the rape happened.
So, instead of the man being charged, the woman was charged with false reports through law enforcement, false alarms to Public Safety and tampering with evidence had it not been for her Fitbit. She may have gotten away with it, but what, if a chinese-style social credit score came to the west? Well, perhaps it’s already here the banks and various finance companies already use a tried and tested credit scoring system to decide whether or not to lend an individual money, but it’s fairly, one-dimensional.
It checks your address history. Your voting record and how good you have been at paying back loans in the past, but there’s. A new credit reference agency in town lender lendo is a Singapore based company that currently only operates in emerging economies such as Mexico, the Philippines and Colombia, but it’s, testing the waters for profitability, but if it is a more profitable model and the Traditional credit score industries, then it will be difficult to stop it from entering the US and European markets.
Instead of looking at your borrowing, history, lendo analyzes your social circle, it looks at who you’re friends with what they do for a living. Their hobbies and behaviors, the idea is that if you surround yourself with a circle of what some people may refer to as lowlifes, then you yourself are less likely to be financially responsible and pay back your loan and you will receive a low credit score.
But if your Friendship Circle consists of doctors and lawyers who play golf at the weekend, then you will get top marks and the great credit score as this kind of social Big Data continues to enter the world of financial tech.
It’s, going to get harder and harder to tell the difference from what China is doing right now, but, however, data is used in the coming decades to control and coerce the population. Those who will suffer the greatest are today’s.
Youth, the next generation, everyone who spent the majority of their childhood in the previous millennium, the pre 2000 US only began using social media after they hit adulthood. So most of the data they have entered into the ominous cloud was during their post teen years and that’s, the big deal because the vast majority of data never disappears.
You can look back at your tweets Facebook, posts and email some over 10 years ago. Even if you delete your accounts, they usually remain on a server somewhere in the world, always lurking. In the background of your life, the age at which you began posting online makes all the difference to how much your data can be used against you.
For one simple reason: we are all totally moronic when we are teenagers when you’re 30, not 15. You think you know everything, and each and every social media post you make is a masterpiece for the masses and then you reach your 20s.
Look back at all those posts and painfully cringe at your former self, and now social media and the Internet has become such an intrinsic part of society that it’s almost impossible for a child to grow up without being somewhat immersed in it.
Teenagers. Today, live their entire childhood online. Every notion, conversation and movement they make from child to young, adult and Beyond is logged in the data sphere for eternity. So, unlike the previous generation today’s, youth will grow up with an encyclopedias worth of embarrassing and damning material that they or anyone else can look back on with a simple internet search.
This will and is already being used again. Then they may already be tainted for life. Some health insurance companies are reportedly looking back at the entire history of people’s social media to check if they have ever posted about or alluded to, mental health issues, and even if they made one negative tweet ten years ago about their mental state.
They could be refused health insurance or charged a hefty premium. Research has revealed that at least 70 % of employers use social media to screen job candidates. You could be refused a job simply because you made a post that could have been construed as racist when you were 14, even though that person was a mere shadow of the person you are now as an adult, and the scariest part is that this screening process Has become completely automated using AI it’s happening right now.
A handful of startups have developed such algorithms and already have services online. That employers can use to do a comprehensive social background check on anyone simply by typing in their name. The report will even include a computer-generated trust score now.
Doesn’t that just remind you of China’s. Social credit score. All this just scratches the surface of what is possible using your data and it’s only going to get more intense and more controlling as algorithms improve and data treasure troves grow deeper over the coming years.
It has been said that data is the new oil and I can easily believe that more legislation may be needed to transfer the ownership of data from corporations to the individuals who provide it. But until or if that ever happens, it’s down to you and you alone to protect your own data and decide whether it’s, really that essential to post a photo of your latest omelettes online because five years down the road You may be scrambling to wipe your record clean.
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