Imagine a country whose Government wants to monitor every aspect of people’s lives, and imagine they have the surveillance technology to keep tracks on what everyone is doing. Now imagine being ranked according to Social Credit, which takes into account not just your financial standing, but also your political standing. This is what is gradually becoming a reality in China.
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) programme, Foreign Correspondent, looks at just what this means for people on the ground. Some are quite happy, of course, they have good Social Credit, because they believe in the Government, and they think mass surveillance is making everyone safer and rewarding the right people.
Others, like investigative journalist Mr. Hu, can no longer book high-speed train tickets or flights anywhere, and he is restricted in his use of online shops also. His crime? Not being able to substantiate an allegation of corruption against a party member.
Minority ethnic populations, like the Uighers, are also affected, and many are forced into re-education camps for not towing the party line, their deviance being discovered by mass surveillance techniques. It is truly a digital dystopia.
In 30 minutes this film manages to show how technology can be used to monitor and effectively control dissent and enable or disable the power people have over their lives. It is a warning for all of us. It is not just the Chinese who are in danger from this, we all are.
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