Monday, March 12, 2018

ORWELLIAN EYES WATCHING YOU

"Orwellian" things unnerve me. It means a situation, idea, or societal condition that author George Orwell identified as being destructive to the welfare of a free and open society.

I dug into Week Magazine's article, "Orwell Comes to China." China's 1.4 billion people are going to be given social credit scores that rate their trust-worthiness and place in society. The government is working to push citizens toward good behavior. It's already been done in 30 cities.

Similar to FICO (U.S credit-score company), China is taking into account the good things and bad things you do -- do you pay your bills on time, take care of your parents, how you use your phone apps -- are you calling taxis, ordering food, scheduling doc appointments, restaurant reservations, do you give to charity, do you sell things that are tainted, have you ever run a red light?

In China, everything you do, search for, or buy, is on a phone app that everyone uses to pay for goods or services. They spend $5.5 trillion in China compared to our $112 billion. Beijing, (the government) can find out if you criticize the government, along with who you are trying to meet on a dating app. Anything suspicious, odd, or inconsistent, gets flagged. "Good" citizens with high ratings get access to things like travel visas and a good school for their kids. "Bad" low rated people lose access to bank loans, government jobs, and can't even rent a car.

Beijing plans to get this program everywhere by 2020. The technology utilizes the facial recognition that is currently used to unlock doors, and the smile-to-pay app that restaurants use, and will feed information on you into a current government surveillance program called "Sharp Eyes," which utilizes the security cameras that are already everywhere, and encourages neighbors to inform on one another. Your score will include school report cards, college marks, applications for jobs, and who you socialize with. All this private information is now harvested by the E-commerce giant Alibaba,  also known as Alipay, who is evolving the future government system, "Sesame Credit."

Is this Orwellian, or Big Brotherish, or Hitlarian?
I'm thinking of what's happening on social media. On Facebook there are quite often messages reminding  you to celebrate the day you met a "friend" whose name you may not recognize, and ads telling you to boost your post on News Feed for $5 -- a post reaches just 25 friends ever since Facebook cut down everyone's News Feed. On Twitter, with the President tweeting, there are now kinder rules enabling you to use more than 40 words, and say good morning, or have a happy Monday, to your "followers."

Won't nicer, more parental social media inspire/infect Republicans, who are doing Orwellian-Big Brotherish-Hitlarian deeds, to protect our country?

My eyes are open big.

Guys, open your eyes!
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