Talk: Big data, big surveillance: China’s social credit system

As part of the ICTE MSc. class in Interaction Design, Dr. Jing Zeng presents March 8, 2018 her research on China's new Social Credit System: "Big data, big surveillance: China’s social credit system".


"With a mission to  “raise the awareness of  integrity and the level of trustworthiness of Chinese society”, the Chinese government uses the Social Credit System to score its 1.4 billion citizens’ trustworthiness through their social behaviors. The social credit system will not be fully implemented nationwide until 2020, but various scoring and ranking schemes have been implanted by local governments. 

This system does not only assess one’s behavior, infiltrating many more aspects of people’s daily life. Actions that can now harm personal credit record include not showing up to a restaurant without having canceled the reservation, cheating in online games, leaving false product reviews and jaywalking. Those with low scores may face restrictions to their travel and public service access.

The role of big data in the project has received broad attention from academics and commentators, due to concerns about how the Chinese government may use its power to intensify surveillance. In this talk, the speaker will focus on how data from online platforms can potentially be integrated to the social credit system, as well as its consequences." 

More background about this social credit system (a recent article written by Jing):


Dr. Jing Zeng is currently a post-doc fellow at Hans-Bredow-Institut in Hamburg, Germany.  She received her MSc in Social Science of the Internet from the University of Oxford in 2014, and recently completed her PhD study at the Digital Media Research Centre of Queensland University of Technology. Her research interests include online rumour, information control, and digital activism. Her PhD thesis analyses  rumour on Twitter and Weibo during times of crisis.


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