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October 09 2019

mr-absentia

@tictoc: The NBA isn't the only business in hot water with China

September 27 2019

mr-absentia

September 24 2019

mr-absentia

China Scores Businesses, and Low Grades Could Be a Trade-War Weapon - The New York Times

«Beijing is increasingly amassing information now divided among various government agencies and industry associations — including court decisions, payroll data, environmental records, copyright violations, even how many employees are members of the Communist Party — and using it to grade businesses and the people who run them, according to state media, government documents and experts.

Companies that get low grades can be banned from borrowing money or doing other essential tasks. Their owners or executives could have their bank accounts frozen or be forbidden from traveling.

It isn’t just aimed at Chinese businesses. In letters sent to the companies, officials have threatened to give United Airlines, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines black marks on their records if they don’t bend to Beijing’s wishes. FedEx could face a similar punishment.

China calls it the social credit system. By next year, Chinese leaders had hoped to start an ambitious nationwide program focused on punishing or rewarding individuals. It was aimed at replicating the credit scoring system common in the United States and other places, as well as taming behavior in a country where laws are inconsistently enforced.

Civil libertarians warned that it would create a digital Big Brother that would intrude into everyday Chinese life. But the system has yet to materialize for individuals on a mass scale.

For many businesses, however, social credit has become a fact of life. In September, China’s central economic planning agency announced that it had completed a first evaluation of 33 million businesses, giving them ratings from 1 for excellent to 4 for poor. China hopes it will someday become a nationwide regulatory tool, harnessing the country’s growing skills in big data and automation, to help the Communist Party keep the business world in line.

“It’s supposed to affect the decision making of businesses to conform to what the party wants,” said Samantha Hoffman, a fellow at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, a think tank.

Loren Fei, the 30-year-old-daughter of a silk factory owner, has been added to a blacklist of businesses and their owners. Because her father couldn’t pay his bills, she said, her bank accounts have been frozen and she lost her job and her ability to travel.

“My family really wants to pay back the money, and the system is making it impossible,” Ms. Fei said.

The authorities are testing the system as a tool to bend foreign companies to the Communist Party’s political views.

United, Delta and American received letters last year from Chinese aviation officials saying their social credit score could be hit unless their websites labeled Macau, Hong Kong and Taiwan as part of China. Lower scores would lead to investigations, the possibility of frozen bank accounts, limitations on local employees’ movement and other punishments, according to a letter sent to United and seen by The New York Times.

Representatives of United, Delta and American Airlines confirmed changing their websites but declined to comment specifically on the matter.

Social credit is one aspect of the Communist Party’s efforts under Xi Jinping, its top leader, to strengthen its hold over the country. The authorities are installing separate facial-recognition technology and other monitoring systems to quell dissent as well as stop crime. They have taken a tougher line on media and worked to give the party a greater role in offices and classrooms.»

January 10 2018

mr-absentia

You still love Facebook?

“Totalitarianism and everyone should be outraged. But you are not. You cooperate in your own oppression with your silence because you don't think that this has anything to do with you.” — @ajamubaraka

July 12 2014

mr-absentia

July 11 2013

mr-absentia
  • Obama gives himself control of all communication systems in America (RT USA, Jul. 9 2013)

    US President Barack Obama quietly signed his name to an Executive Order on Friday, allowing the White House to control all private communications in the country in the name of national security.

    President Obama released his latest Executive Order on Friday, July 6, a 2,205-word statement offered as the “Assignment of National Security and Emergency Preparedness Communications Functions.” And although the president chose not to commemorate the signing with much fanfare, the powers he provides to himself and the federal government under the latest order are among the most far-reaching yet of any of his executive decisions. ...

  • Obama administration urges federal employees to spy on each other to avoid leaks (RT USA, Jul. 10 2013)

    President Barack Obama has asked that federal agencies launch an unprecedented campaign requiring government workers to monitor the behavior of their colleagues and report potential leakers under the threat of prosecution.

    McClatchy reporters Jonathan Landay and Marisa Taylor wrote Tuesday that the “Insider Threat” program mandated by Pres. Obama utilizes methods that, while meant to identify security threats from within, actually provoke co-workers to spy on one another.

    The program is unprecedented in scope and hopes to prevent future instances where government secrets are spilled. According to a new report, however, the Insider Threat initiative and the techniques utilized by the agencies involved are not proven to work. ...

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