Chinese Court Creates App To Alert Citizens Of Deadbeat Debtors In Their Area

from the ENJOY-YOUR-IMPROVED-CITIZEN-EXPERIENCE dept

No one's ever going to confuse China for a free and open country, but it seems like the government is trying just a bit too hard to let citizens know they belong to the government, rather than the other way around.

Just recently, the government began engaging in door-to-door censorship, sending cops to citizens' houses to order them to delete forbidden tweets. That's certainly not going to help the tweeter's Citizen Score -- a dystopian credit score that takes far more than debt into account to measure the worthiness of the country's billion-plus citizens. The score tracks purchases, social circles, and online opinions to raise and lower scores. Certain purchases will raise scores while others that the government doesn't consider worthwhile (like videogames) will lower it.

It's far worse than that, though. Low-scoring members of your social circle can lower your score as well, forcing people to ditch their unhelpful friends and replace them with people more closely aligned with the government's preferences. There are perks attached to higher scores, which basically give citizens the privilege to travel after they've proven themselves worthy servants of the state.

On top of that, there's the pervasive surveillance. Facial recognition tech is everywhere, used to do everything from fine jaywalkers to lock people out of public housing. The government has plans to erect 600 million CCTV cameras to ensure nothing citizens do in public goes unobserved.

The latest addition to the government's citizen repression toolkit is something that would break a reader's suspension of disbelief if were included in dystopian sci fi novel:

The Chinese Government has developed a mobile app that tells users if they are near someone who is in debt. The app, called a "map of deadbeat debtors," flashes when the user is within 500 meters of a debtor and displays that person's exact location.

Should anyone want to name/shame/report Hot Deadbeats In Their Area, they can obtain the app from the WeChat platform. WeChat is in the process of being converted into a national ID system by the government, which will certainly help it tabulate citizen scores and out undesirables. With more than one billion Chinese users, WeChat has the ability to turn a communications platform into one-stop shop for data, communications, and personal info of a large percentage of the population.

At this point, the deadbeat app only affects a single province. This is due to it being the product of a court ruling, rather than a Chinese government mandate.

Deadbeat debtors in North China's Hebei province will find it more difficult to abscond as the Higher People's Court of Hebei on Monday introduced a mini-program on WeChat targeting them.

The article from China News is brief but it suggests the court has decided to outsource debt collection for fines and fees, as well as the enforcement of judgments against debtors secured by debt collection entities. But the court does know how to project the same cheery "for the good of the people" facade that accompanies every step the Chinese government takes towards all-encompassing dystopia.

"It's a part of our measures to enforce our rulings and create a socially credible environment," said a spokesman of the court.

Yep. There's no society more credible than a population turned against itself.

Filed Under: china, deadbeats, debtors, locations technology, privacy, surveillance
Companies: wechat


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  • icon
    Berenerd (profile), 29 Jan 2019 @ 4:05am

    Has anyone ever played the Tabletop RPG, Paranoia? I am seriously seeing this much like that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2019 @ 9:33am

      Re:

      I'm pretty sure comparison is treason, citizen. Let me just check my troubleshooting app...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Feb 2019 @ 12:32pm

      Re:

      Friend Computer does not associate with Commie Mutant Trators. You should already know that.

      Or, maby Friend Computer is more like ctOS from Watch_Dogs

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Bobvious, 29 Jan 2019 @ 4:24am

    A house divided against itself cannot stand

    This is rather like watching certain groups declare jihad on each other, attempting to kill off the "less-holy" until only the "purest" remain. Unfortunately the collateral damage is always human and largely innocent.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2019 @ 9:18am

      Re: A house divided against itself cannot stand

      China sees it as strengthening the gene pool by weeding out deadbeats the way we do by locking up criminals. We also have a credit score in this country that does the same thing.

      You cannot judge China as if it were America. It is a totally different society, and one which has proven quite sustainable for almost 12,000 years or so.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2019 @ 7:43pm

        Re: Re: A house divided against itself cannot stand

        You cannot judge China as if it were America. It is a totally different society, and one which has proven quite sustainable for almost 12,000 years or so.

        That's why no one can judge me either. I'm totally different and above judgement.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 29 Jan 2019 @ 4:27am

    Jesus. They caught Orwell and ran with but now it's improving. It must be horrible to be a Chinese conscious of their reality.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2019 @ 4:28am

    Sounds familiar

    Tim are you sure you didn't swip this story from the plot of a manga?

    Also: even if you didn't be prepared for a copyright suit (rolls eyes)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2019 @ 4:51am

    This is certainly not sustainable, I doubt they have thought this thru to its inevitable bad ending.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2019 @ 4:57am

      Re:

      The terrifying thing is... it may very well be sustainable for China.

      Any other country in the world suffered a massive economic collapse by now by the way they they let their economy boom and boom and booooom. But they just didn't fall over because the government meticulously controlled everything and managed something no other developed country has been able to manage to do.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2019 @ 9:17am

        Re: Re:

        China didn't fall into deep recession because they had a lot of catching up to do. At some point the economic cycle will kick in, but not until they are fully on par with America and other developed nations.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2019 @ 5:34am

    Google does the same thing to us, and doesn't even require truth, since they are immune under Section 230.

    China values conformism the way we value freedom. It's a totally different construct.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Rocky, 29 Jan 2019 @ 6:49am

      Re:

      Google does the same thing to us, and doesn't even require truth, since they are immune under Section 230.

      Conflating topics much? The reasoning behind that sentence boggles the mind - especially since not one part of it is true.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2019 @ 9:16am

        Re: Re:

        So you are saying no one ever googles anyone and then finds defamatory information about someone for which Google is immune under Section 230?

        Interesting.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2019 @ 11:21am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Hey Jhon boy did they catch you fucking a horse? That why you mad bro?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Rocky, 29 Jan 2019 @ 12:27pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          You are still conflating stuff.

          Google didn't originate possible defamatory information someone finds on the net, someone else posted it somewhere. You are blaming a tool instead of the perpetrator. It can't bet that hard to understand, hence the existence of section 230.

          Saying Google are doing the same thing the Chinese government does conflates two totally different things. Google doesn't produce any information about deadbeats on it's own while pushing notifications out to people about their whereabouts.

          So, your original statement is in fact not true while conflating different things.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2019 @ 7:36am

      Re:

      Hello?
      I dont have to use google. If I do, I can create a fake account, vpn, etc.

      Not the same at all.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2019 @ 9:15am

        Re: Re:

        So you can control what others put on the internet about you that winds up in Google?

        Nice trick.

        We don't even require what turns up in searches on people's names to be accurate. If some blackmailer in Russia or some idiot on 4Chan decides to call you a pedophile, and it turns up in searches, you're supposed to not complain, because Section 230 means you have to sue someone you can't find or who is judgment-proof and in another country, or even if you do, Google still doesn't have to remove the archive of the defamation.

        We allow de-facto "dossiers" of people to be put online. Look at revenge porn: women who dump the wrong guy wind up having their nudes distributed, being defamed, harassed at work, etc. and we think nothing of it. Without Section 230 we could sue the search engines, but with it we are defenseless. At least in China what is being spread has to actually be true.

        As a conformist society, shaming is nothing more than a check and balance against behavior they find as abhorrent (nonconformism) as we find censorship. It is who they are and how they are. We simply don't agree with their way of life, but they are a sovereign nation.

        "The Klingon system [of assassinating a weakened captain] has functioned fine for centuries." -- Worf

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2019 @ 6:29am

    Coming soon to a country near you.

    This kind of stuff spreads like copyright.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 29 Jan 2019 @ 8:12am

    'Now that we've covered monetary debt, how about societal...'

    Let's see, a 'citizen score' that allows you to be denied services and be treated differently, with what influences it controlled by the government, an app that allows you to know who exactly owes money for some good old fashioned societal shunning...

    Oh yeah, I can't see these two being combined in the future to allow the government to punish 'undesirables' by allowing people to know exactly who isn't being a 'model(read: obedient) citizen' at all.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2019 @ 9:11am

      Re: 'Now that we've covered monetary debt, how about societal...

      We do this now when we Google people.

      China is just more open about it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2019 @ 9:20am

      Re: 'Now that we've covered monetary debt, how about societal...

      #metoo and SJW movements in general have accomplished this in America.

      Trial by internet is here to stay.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2019 @ 11:24am

        And I thought you couldn’t project any harder bro. So what did you get caught doing? Something pretty bad by the way you bang on about it.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2019 @ 11:40am

          Re:

          That's the point: truth isn't relevant to SJW. It's all about politics. Many are "caught" for the "crime" of being white and male, and presumed privileged or evil, for one example. Women are often presumed things too, as are people of color.

          Ad-hominem arguments don't really carry weight among those who debate properly.

          I have never been arrested for anything. That used to count for something. The point of the article was that this is a horrible thing being done in China when it is actually done to a much greater extent in the western world, specifically because we do not have the conformity and censorship practiced in China.

          Fortunately, SJW and those who entertain their "verdicts" are easily ignored and left to be a cancer on those foolish enough not to banish them from their lives.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Heinrich Balderschwang, 29 Jan 2019 @ 8:42am

    Why don't you ever rail against same in surveillance capitalism:

    Which is SOON going to directly affect YOU and readers, as advanced by ALL the usual suspects, mainly led by GOOGLE, Facebook, and Amazon.

    Surveillance Capitalism Patent of the month

    According to a new report, the patent application, made available in late November, would pair facial surveillance such as Rekognition, the product that Amazon is aggressively marketing to law enforcement, with Ring - a doorbell camera company that Amazon acquired in 2018.

    https://www.aclunc.org/docs/Amazon_Patent.pdf

    That's "innovative synergy" in Masnick's pro-surveillance-capitalism view. He's never seen intrusive technology or software that doesn't welcome.

    CNN praises it! - "Amazon's application says the process leads to safer, more connected neighborhoods, as well as better informed homeowners and law enforcement."

    https://www.cnn.com/2018/11/30/tech/amazon-patent-doorbell-facial-recognition/ind ex.html

    But ACLU warns: "Amazon is dreaming of a dangerous future, with its technology at the center of a massive decentralized surveillance network, running real-time facial recognition on members of the public using cameras installed in people's doorbells. -Jacob Snow, ACLU

    https://www.commondreams.org/author/jacob-snow

    As a former patent litigator, I've spent a lot of time reading patents. It's rare for patent applications to lay out, in such nightmarish detail, the world a company wants to bring about," writes Jacob Snow in a recent ACLU report on the newest invasive technology by the company that only 10 years ago just sold...books.

    Imagine if a neighborhood was set up with these doorbell cameras. Simply walking up to a friend's house could result in your face, your fingerprint, or your voice being flagged as "suspicious" and delivered to a government database without your knowledge or consent. With Amazon selling the devices, operating the servers, and pushing the technology on law enforcement, the company is building all the pieces of a surveillance network, reaching from the government all the way to our front doors.

    https://www.commondreams.org/views/2018/12/13/amazons-disturbing-plan-add-face-surveillance- your-front-door

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2019 @ 9:10am

      Re: Why don't you ever rail against same in surveillance capital

      I prefer the "unlawful entry" example:

      Ray Liotta's character (the killer cop) offers to help the wife of Kurt Russell's character (the stooge) with her computer. He teaches her how to use search engines by typing the husband's name into Google. Out pop a bunch of lies about how the husband cheated/raped kids/is broke/whatever, and she thanks him for alerting her, not realizing he used a VPN and anonymizer to google-bomb the husband.

      She divorces the husband and hooks up with the cop, all because of misinformation for which Google is immune under Section 230.

      Another example: one exterminator accuses another of using carcinogenic pesticides and breaking laws, putting people at risk, but these are all lies, all repeated by 230-immune search engines, put their by a rival exterminator who really does do this. People trust the internet, avoid the good exterminator, hire the bad one, and literally wind up dying as a result.

      Businesses have already been doing this for over twenty years and no one's the wiser. There are three clear examples where the public was duped by 230-immune search engines or websites into believing the bad guys over the good guys, and this is just the tip of the iceberg. That's not just "surveillance capitalism" but the same evil with the added problem that the surveillance is being weaponized as a misinformation tool.

      Perhaps we were living in prehistoric times, a curious era where "privacy" was enabled by the lack of technology which will one day make the entire concept of individual sovereignty a quaint curiosity. It is also better to just assume all privacy is dead and will never come back, that we are being watched at all times, and can trust no one. Those who find privacy endearing may be wishing for a return to a time which has been long gone for a generation.

      I'm not saying this is a good thing, only that it seems to be a brave new world for which none of us were prepared. Perhaps when the laws truly catch up to this new reality, it will indeed be better. Many crimes which were enabled by privacy are simply no longer possible. In many ways, this trend began when we started naming people, and accelerated with the invention of the photographic camera, which led to the rogues galleries that made being a "thief in the night" much more difficult.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2019 @ 11:25am

        Re: Re: Kiss him you fool

        Nowa your chance bro! Ask him out!

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Rocky, 29 Jan 2019 @ 12:58pm

        Re: Re: Why don't you ever rail against same in surveillance capital

        She divorces the husband and hooks up with the cop, all because of misinformation for which Google is immune under Section 230.

        Did google manufacture the false information?

        Yes - They are not immune No - They are immune

        This shouldn't be hard to understand, especially since in your story the cop character set it all up and the other examples clearly describes illegal behavior by a perpetrator and you still think it's Google's fault?

        Are there dishonest people on the internet, yes there are - but they also exists everywhere else in society. That doesn't mean we go after the tools they use, we go after them.

        Fundamentally, the problem resides in our society and not the tools we have. If we want the problem to disappear we need a better society.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2019 @ 10:07am

    Who knew that Orville episode "Majority Rule" was actually a documentary?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    John85851 (profile), 29 Jan 2019 @ 10:44am

    Every company has to follow every country's rules

    So if Europe is forcing Google, Facebook, etc to follow the Right to Be Forgotten and GDPR, how long will it be until China forces them to follow their rules? After all, if one country/ region can tell companies what to do, why shouldn't even country be able to?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    in China Right Now, 30 Jan 2019 @ 7:05am

    Deplatforming v Chinese internet monitoring

    Re: “Yep. There's no society more credible than a population turned against itself. ”

    Well, as we see with the ADL/SPLC monitoring message boards and deplatforming users, via “trusted flaggers,”etc., at least Chinese censorship is out in the open -and without the trigger warning racist context that these US /British crybullies bring to the table.

    It seems that western freedom simply boils down to being “free ”to chose one batshit crazy Abrahamic religion and its attendant social control over another, but every other freedom is off limits.

    Yeah, and of course, Americas credit scores, backed by debtors prisons are interesting too.

    Suuuure, its China turning in on itself, lol, as you people shit all over the Constitution, and due process, inching ever closer to where China was at in 1969.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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