Did you recently buy a new video game?
Did you post a negative political sentiment on social media?
Do you have a particularly outspoken friend on Facebook who posts anti-government sentiments?
If you live in China and answered “yes” to any or all of the above statements, your credit would’ve been dinged several times.
It’s true. China has implemented a new Citizen Score system influenced not just by financial decisions, but lifestyle decisions as well. Using big data obtained from the government and big internet companies, an individual’s Citizen Score is calculated using an algorithm to determine even the most casual of relationships between lifestyle choices and using that data to present or take away opportunities.
The scores range from 350-950, with rewards given to those with higher scores. For example, a citizen’s score of 650 would allow the citizen to purchase a car without a down payment. The higher the score, the greater the rewards. Some jobs even require a high citizen’s score.
Is Big Brother Watching You?
If this sounds like something straight out of a George Orwell book, you’re not too far off. This level of control the Chinese government is trying to establish may seem far-fetched, especially for those in the U.S. However, with the increasing reports of privacy invasion and financial turmoil in the USA, it might not be too long before the credit system in the United States is revamped to include more “comprehensive” criteria in order to better screen loan applicants or those requesting credit.
Of course this is all speculation and would represent a huge invasion of privacy. We don’t have to worry about our lifestyle and political opinions affecting our credit scores for the time being.
However, it’s important to consider that this is actually happening in our world today, and we must be aware of any form of invasion of our own privacy and fight against the unlawful use of our personal information.
Current Credit Dangers in the U.S.
On a smaller scale, our personal information is already hacked and used against us when it is stolen by hackers. When your card information is stored on a retailer’s website or in your own internet browser’s history, hackers can break in and steal your information and money, damaging your credit while they’re at it.