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About the AuthorRich Robinson is the CEO and publisher of Rise News. He is also a journalist and a native of Miami. Robinson graduated from the University of Alabama and can be followed on Twitter @RichRobMiami.
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By Alex Austin
China is in the process of creating a nationwide database of “social credit” in order to not only rate the financial strength of their citizens, but also their trustworthiness.
Unlike the US or UK, China does not have a nationally recognized credit score system. However, also unlike the aforementioned countries, China’s new initiative will not only determine how good people are at paying bills. It will also be used to rate how obedient they are to the state.
Currently, this plan is in somewhat of a beta stage, as eight Chinese companies have set up sites to issue these credit scores.
Possibly the most high-profile of these is called Sesame Credit, a joint venture between Alibaba, Asia’s largest online retailer, and Baihe, China’s largest matchmaking service.
However, neither company will reveal how they determine or calculate the scores, nor will they directly speak to Western media out of fear of losing the lucrative government contract.
Conversely, they will admit that shopper’s purchases will be taken into account. As Li Yingyun, Sesame’s technology director, told the Chinese magazine Caixin:
“Someone who plays video games for 10 hours a day, for example, would be considered an idle person, and someone who frequently buys diapers would be considered as probably a parent, who on balance is more likely to have a sense of responsibility.”
This is a very controversial point, as it leaves the door open to the government deciding who can do and buy certain things based on subjective, and possibly stereotyped, life decisions.
From a different angle, this type of credit system is being valued as little more than another authoritarian propaganda tool.
In the extensive government planning outline, the Chinese government states in Article 5, Section 1 that it will actively encourage competition between citizens to work for high scores by incentivizing trust-keeping and punishing trust-breaking.
Many Westerners are beginning to see this as China hiding an Orwellian “big brother” behind the façade of a game. For more on that angle, there is the relatively short, but oft-linked video from Extra Credits on the matter.
As of now, the system is opt-in. However, as part of China’s most recent Five-Year Plan, the “social credit” system, in one form or another, will be mandatory in 2020.
Cover Photo Credit: Danny Mekic’/Flickr (CC By 2.0)Post Views: 56
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The Supreme Court struck down a Texas abortion law Monday that advocates argued made it more difficult for women to receive an abortion. The court ruled the law placed an undue burden on women. The court’s opinion is available online here. Justice Stephen Breyer authored the court’s opinion. The court ruled 5-3. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg… Read MorePost Views: 40
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Hana Epstein, a high school student living in Katonah, NY recently received something in her mailbox that wasn’t mail- but instead a painful reminder that hate is still alive in the world.
In the early morning hours of January 25, Hana’s father went out to get the mail out of the family’s mailbox. He realized their mezuzahs had fallen off near the front door.
Hana’s dad continued to the mailbox where he discovered a white object that he thought was some kind of food lid.
After further inspection, he suddenly realized what it really was; a white square covered in swastikas. The name “Hannah” is also written across the square, with the last h underlined twice with a blue pen. The connection suddenly became evident.
“I was basically numb, I couldn’t really let it sink it just yet,” Hana Epstein said. “I’ve always heard of hate crimes being committed against Jews, but never in a million years did I think this would happen to me particularly.”
Hana lives in a neighborhood that is predominantly Jewish, so it was very unusual for something like this to happen.
“I had a wide array of emotions,” Hana’s mom Mara Gross Epstein said in a phone interview with RISE NEWS. “I was upset and angry and concerned for my daughter’s well-being. I was also amazed that this happened in Katonah, of all places.”
It took time for Hana to realize that there are hateful people in the world.
The entire episode created a sense of unease in the young student. She wasn’t able to sleep in her own house that night.
She looked around her room, looking at her Israeli flags and other tokens that reminded her of who she was. She said she could never understand why someone would do this to her just because she was part of a different religion.
Hana was so upset she went to her cousin’s house and missed the next day of school.
Eventually Hana said that she realized there is a lesson to be taken away from this.
“I always have been as proud to be Jewish as I am,” Hana said. “I don’t hide the fact that I’m Jewish, Judaism means the world to me. Now, more than ever, it’s essential that I stand up for who I am.”
Hana wants to spread awareness about the terrible crimes committed by anti-semitic people all around the world.
She posted a picture on social media of her wearing a Tallit (a holy garment) on top of Masada in Israel; the caption was “I’ll always be proud to be Jewish.”
Starting in September, Hana will be spending a year abroad in Israel where she hopes to share her experience.
The family said that they have reported the incident to local police.
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. Anyone can write for us as long as you are fiercely interested in making the world a better place.
Cover Photo Credit: Submitted.Post Views: 71
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