The digital dictatorship, as in China, introduced a system of social ranking

The founder of Facebook mark Zuckerberg and Alibaba founder Jack MA

Photo: Reuters/Pixstream

Law-abiding, honesty, even consumer behavior — a variety of aspects of life of the citizen monitors the Chinese System of social ranking. It is supported by Alibaba, to make concessions to the authorities is ready to go Facebook


Russia has adopted a new information security doctrine, among the targets which can be the strengthening of state control over the Russian Internet. In paragraph 8 of the document refers to moral and spiritual values of the multinational people of the Russian Federation, which, according to the authors, the need of conservation. But neither a doctrine nor any law does not give the set of these values or how they protect — it is unknown how and who may suffer in the fight for them.

A striking example of such state control — the experience of China, where the government traditionally pays great attention to information security (political Internet filter is called the Great Firewall), and more recently also actively develops system of evaluation of individual citizens on a variety of parameters.

It is a System of social credit. The government published the plan and purpose of its implementation in 2014. It should be implemented widely by 2020, is now in full swing testing of pilot projects.

The issues of information security (the same as in the Russian doctrine), it is only one of the elements. The main objective of system implementation is not a security, and “building a harmonious socialist society”. The main value of such a society — honesty, which should manifest itself in everything from online behavior to honoring parents. To develop this quality in people, every citizen of China, the system will assign a rating. In the absence of violations of the law, a useful social activities and, for example, timely payment of loans will earn. For offenses of different severity — be deducted. If it’s “no-go”, life will turn into torture. In September of this year, the Chinese government published a revised range of sanctions, which will be the owners of the low ratings:

— the prohibition to work in state institutions;

— denial of social security;

— thorough screening at customs;

— a ban on occupying managerial positions in the food and pharmaceutical industry;

— denial of tickets and berth on night trains;

— refusal to places in luxury hotels and restaurants;

— a ban on the education of children in expensive private schools.

To distinguish honesty from dishonesty in understanding Chinese leadership is very easy — the difference is the same between compliance or non-compliance with laws. But it is worth considering that Chinese laws reglamentary is much more to human existence than the Russian.

The pilot project

To be honest the Chinese were taught Confucius. In his biographies there is a parable: when he was an officer, someone offered him a bribe, and assured that no one will know. The sage replied: “I know, you know, Heaven knows. Who knows?” The Chinese Communist leadership, replacing the Confucian Heaven could never accept the fact that it does not know anything about its citizens. Therefore, even under Mao Zedong established a system of “Dan-an” — personal Affairs of citizens. In each folder “Dan-an” is the physical data, photos, track record, characteristics from superiors and comrades, progress reports and offences, membership in clubs and social organizations, etc.

All this is stored in paper form in the state archives — regional and Central. This tool not only cumbersome, but also difficult to access. The Manager of the hotel or airlines will not be able to quickly get to the “Dan-Anya” to understand what the client deserves. Besides paper folder does not meet the requirements of information security — its contents are not protected from officials ‘ arbitrariness. So, the Chinese Communist party can’t quite rely on these data in formulating social policy. All of these issues addressed through information technology, which is indicated as the main instrument of a System of secreting. “It’s better than the traditional way, says The Wall Stree Journal man Tanuan, a political scientist from Peking University of Tsinghua. — Before <…> policy is determined based on the judgment of individuals.”

The traditional method of checking reliability is not added honesty to the people. A national survey in 2013 showed that less than half of citizens believe that most people can be trusted, less than 30% are strangers without suspicion. Announcing the launch of the System of social rating, the guide explained how to cure people from suspicion.

While in a pilot mode in several dozen cities running only its separate elements. China — the country is closed, the nuances of the application of the system in practice is not officially reported. The reporters of The Wall Street Journal looked at how it works in the regional center of Hangzhou in Eastern China. While it looks scary. Here a local resident went to subway for preferential travel of his son — a fine of $6 plus a reprimand from the superintendent. Verbal reprimand, although hung around ads that violators face a deduction of points in the system. The representative of the metro explained that the real deterioration of the rating faces for repeated abuse. The Chinese are not particularly upset, said that, if this case comes up, explain what took travel son by mistake. But many violations for which you can pay social points, might not explain. For example, crossing the road in the wrong place or exceeding the limit on the number of children in the family. Since the beginning of this year, each couple is allowed to have two children before, as a rule, was not more than one according to the declared in 1979, the policy of “one family — one child”. In this situation, most families wanted sons, women often have an abortion after learning that they had expected a girl. In 2000, 100 girls were born in the country 116,9 boys: in the end, China’s biggest demographic problem — a shortage of women.

Have a pilot system in Hangzhou there are already first victims. A local lawyer told The Wall Street Journal that one of his clients, co-owner of the travel Agency, after a disagreement with the owner of the apartment that he rented, lost the lawsuit and was forced not only to pay the lessor according to the court, but also lost the opportunity to buy plane tickets and high-speed trains and can no longer accompany clients, that is, was punished twice for one and the same.

Alibaba is watching you

The account of “domestic” honesty is yet to be transferred to an electronic platform. Besides, it will be necessary to overcome the resistance of the bureaucracy — according to the political scientist man Tanana, agencies are reluctant to share information collected on duty.

But some areas are already added to the control, and to a greater extent than citizens realize. It’s Bank loans and Internet-trade. Functions of the System of social credit takes here not the state but private companies. First and foremost, the world’s largest marketplace for Alibaba.

This system has more than 400 million unique visitors a month — in China, used more than half of the Internet users. You may register on the resource. The rating system on Alibaba, which called Sesame Credit, for the second year awards users points based on their consumer behavior.

Sesame ranks customers on a scale from 350 to 950 points. Starting with 600 points you have a right to an unsecured loan of $800 for online purchases, with a 650 — can rent a car without Deposit, 700 — Express-registration of the permission to travel in Singapore, with 750 — Schengen visa. Alibaba, of course, visa itself does not, but the set of partners of the Internet giant take into account the indicators Sesame Credit with the same travel help by tour operators.

China’s largest Dating service Baihe is promoting the pages of users depending on the score Sesame. “Appearance is very important, but more importantly the opportunity to provide for themselves, — he explained to the BBC, one of the Vice presidents of the company. — Well-being partner ensures a comfortable life.”

In addition to Dating good value Sesame facilitate booking of hotels (with a high rating you can even do without payment) and registration at the international airport of Beijing.

The algorithm of ranking the company did not disclose, but some of its details explained to the Chinese magazine Caixin its technical Director.

In addition to credit history in the traditional sense Sesame takes into account what the man was doing on the Network, based on user research data: “If someone, for example, 10 hours a day playing video games, he is a slacker, and if a person often buys diapers, then most likely it is the parent, and therefore, in General, has a sense of responsibility.” Active players Alibaba knows that it has a gaming division that, in particular, conducts Championships in Dota 1, Counter-Strike, StarCraft 2, Hearthstone.

In other words, the founders of a private rating of the Internet users in the matter of rewards for honesty are in step with the party and the government. Moreover, they strive for full unity with the state. In October, the Chairman of the Board of Alibaba Jack MA urged law enforcement agencies to use the Internet-company data to identify criminals: “It is normal when a person alone buys a pressure cooker, a timer, and even steel bearings or gunpowder, but abnormal if he buys it all at once.” Obviously, the dataset Alibaba, which is committed to cooperate with the authorities, can make a great contribution to the construction of social credit System.

Zuckerberg argues

Google from 2006 to 2010, he put up with Chinese Internet filter, the Great Firewall and refused to work in the country only after Chinese hackers broke into the mailboxes on gmail to local dissidents, but still hopes to return to the market.

Mark Zuckerberg in March, met the chief ideologue of the CPC Liu Yunshan, to discuss the return of Facebook in the country. The most famous social network in China shut down in 2009 due to critical comments from users to the government. The official praised Zuckerberg for his willingness to cooperate. Now the cooperation is in full swing. Current and former employees of Facebook in November on condition of anonymity, told The New York Times that the company has developed an app that will allow you to block certain messages in feeds of users in certain regions.

Before Facebook administrators deleted the posts and made a lock account at the request of the authorities in different countries, including in Russia. A new tool designed according to employees, primarily for China, will provide pre-censorship. Besides proxy — to moderate the content is not Facebook, and, presumably, a Chinese company.

Zuckerberg has long been a practical explanation for why spreading Facebook around the world, he goes to meet the wishes of the Chinese authorities. “It’s forbidden to aim to unite all the world and eliminate the greatest country,” he told the website Wired in November of last year.

Russia and the United States in the trend

Russia definitely expect it to interact with tech giants, which is indirectly evidenced by the legal requirement to store data of Russian users in Russia. In late November, the CEO of InfoWatch Natalya Kaspersky, who heads the subgroup of “the Society” in the group “on the use of information-telecommunication network the Internet in the domestic economy in the formation of its new technological basis and in the social sphere” at the beginning of the presidential aide Igor Shchegolev said that “large user data” should be recognized as property of the state. One solution is “legislation to force these companies [like Google or Facebook] to transfer the certificates, or just to try to gently “chase” [the data] in Russia,” she told TASS. As an example, she once led the Chinese alignment Facebook: “Now Facebook again comes to China, they agreed to work according to the rules of China and to give information to the Chinese government. This is also an option.”

Professor of the history of Dartmouth College Pamela Kyle Crossley believes that the Chinese model of control of society that many consider to be totalitarian, over time, will be established in democratic countries: “the Difference is that Chinese society is more prepared for integration of commercial, military and law enforcement data. As a result of tighter Chinese control through intimidation and self-censorship than will control Americans for another couple of decades.”

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