Rated by the algorithm: suggestions from the Chinese Social Credit System

Algorithmic analysis is the technical tool enabling citizens’ rating systems to function. The biggest one in terms of people involved and data gathered is the Chinese Social Credit System. Though still in a preliminary stage, the SCS has been tested in some municipalities with different success. The SCS starts from the awareness of state deficiencies (low rate of enforcement of law; financial scams; corruption; tax evasion) and the need to overcome them in the context of a market economy. In order to do so, rating and ranking citizens into different classes allows government and private sector to assess their trustworthiness and compliance to socially acceptable behaviour. Connected to one’s score is a specific shade of citizenship, a different extent of enjoyment of rights and freedoms and access to services and benefits. Despite the SCS allows control and fosters political conformity, it’s not its primary target. Indeed, it fits the Chinese traditional favour for social conformity.