As critical thinkers, it is essential to remain vigilant and question the growing influence of a select few people and giant corporations in our society.
This article aims to shed light on the potential dangers of introducing a social credit score system, a digital identity that tracks everything you do online, and a cashless society.
These emerging trends have the potential to reshape our lives in ways that can erode our privacy, autonomy, and freedom.
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The Social Credit Score System
The concept of a social credit score system has gained traction in recent years, particularly with China’s implementation of such a system. In essence, it assigns a numerical value to each citizen based on their behaviour, both online and offline, impacting their access to services, jobs, and even relationships (1).
The dangers of a social credit score system lie in the potential for misuse and abuse. It can lead to discrimination against individuals with low scores, creating a society where people are constantly monitored and judged by an opaque algorithm.
This can also result in a chilling effect on free speech, as individuals may fear expressing their opinions due to the potential impact on their social credit score (2).
A digital identity that tracks everything you do online is another cause for concern.
While proponents argue that such systems can improve security and efficiency, they also come with significant risks to privacy and personal freedom. Once all of a person’s online activities are tied to a single digital identity, it becomes much easier for governments or corporations to monitor and control them.
Edward Snowden’s revelations about the NSA’s mass surveillance program demonstrated the potential for abuse when governments have access to vast amounts of personal data (3).
A digital identity system could further exacerbate these concerns, enabling even more extensive tracking and profiling of individuals.
A Cashless Society
The move towards a cashless society is often touted as a way to reduce crime, increase efficiency, and provide more convenience.
However, it also has the potential to create a world where every transaction is monitored and recorded, eliminating the last vestiges of financial privacy.
In a cashless society, the government and financial institutions would have unprecedented control over people’s lives, with the ability to freeze assets or track spending patterns at will (4).
This could lead to a further concentration of power in the hands of a few, with ordinary citizens having little recourse to protect their financial autonomy.
The introduction of a social credit score system, a digital identity, and a cashless society all have the potential to reshape our world in ways that could undermine privacy, autonomy, and freedom.
As critical thinkers, it is essential to remain aware of these developments and push for transparency, accountability, and checks and balances to protect our rights and liberties.
- Botsman, R. (2017). Big data meets Big Brother as China moves to rate its citizens. Wired UK. Retrieved from https://www.wired.co.uk/article/chinese-government-social-credit-score-privacy-invasion
- Ma, A. (2018). China’s social credit system has blocked people from taking 11 million flights and 4 million train trips. Business Insider. Retrieved from https://www.businessinsider.com/china-social-credit-system-blocked-people-taking-flights-train-trips-2018-5
- Greenwald, G. (2013). Edward Snowden: the whistleblower behind the NSA surveillance revelations. The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jun/09/edward-snowden-nsa-whistleblower-surveillance
- Rogoff, K. (2016). The Curse of Cash. Princeton University Press. https://press.princeton.edu/books/paperback/9780691178363/the-curse-of-cash/
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