Pretty much nothing that impacts our rights impacts our credit scores. For example, freedom of speech, press, religion, gun ownership and much more do not impact your credit score.
FICO certainly correlates with some factors you may not want to be included but it seems like a pretty reasonable compromise. If I sublease my apartment to someone, shouldn't I be able to know if they actually pay their debts?
There are lots of problems around the implementation and privacy with FICO but these seem more logistical and implementation than a broken idea in general.
The Chinese social credit seems broken in general. Allowing US companies to check your instagram also feels broken but it's complicated. If you lie to an insurance company and then post that lie online (ie the adventurous sports example from the article), maybe you should face consequences.
A difficult situation is when tech monopolies ban you from using their service. For example, I believe every American should have the right to hear/read every public announcement made by the President. If you get banned from twitter, you may have your rights violated somewhat.
If you want actual points, here’s a great graphic that shows the point values of many different attributes:
If you go out of bounds in any category too often, you lose access to company resources and could lose bonuses and other incentives until a retraining course is completed.
When I drew parallels between China's social credit score and their employer's practices, they failed to see the relation because they "always made sure to maintain a good score" so it wasn't a bad thing.
You bring up another tangentially-related point here that represents a form of social scoring: tracking driving. I just got Progressive insurance on my car. They would have knocked about 10% off the rate if I'd agreed to install their app to track my driving. That's a behavioral scoring system.
It's easy to rationalize this by saying that good drivers should pay less than bad drivers, and that it's therefore within their purview. But they're not simply getting a score on how well I drive; they're tracking my every movement 24/7, whether I'm driving or not, with detailed location data.
Right now these systems are voluntary, but it's only a matter of time before we won't even be able to get car insurance without participating in tracking. It's all the same fundamental thing: quantifying our social value.
Before FICO you either had to have lots of cash or you had to have people both of you knew vouch for you. FICO enables people to get credit with less hassle than the traditional pre-FICO method.
I’d prefer FICO over s system which tries to manage my daily behavior and may publicly shame me for small transgressions.
With that said, I hope we don’t allow a Chinese style social scoring system and I hope we see push back against this even if it’s not government mandated but a “voluntary choice” with a private entity.
My point, as it relates to the article, is that what started out as a means of gauging financial creditworthiness is increasingly used as a means to gauge your worth in other aspects of life.
It's regrettable that they're are used for things like employment, but on the other hand, you won't be prohibited from using a taxi (Uber), hotel (Airbnb), entering a restaurant (PatronScan), or using a phone or the mail (WhatsApp) because of your FICO score.
Nobody knows what data goes into the reputation systems of tech companies, where it's collected, or who it's shared with. You usually can't look at it. You usually have no recourse as there is no regulatory oversight and no contract to use their services besides "we can kick you off at any time for any reason or no reason at all".
I've been lucky enough to never have to participate in a system that I view as being incredibly exploitative. I hope to keep it that way and honestly, I'd like to see further efforts towards curbing the credit score system. It's draconian, a bit orwellian and punishing to the poor and/or unlucky.
I think it's worth noting that you can't rent what the kind of people who care about their FICO score think is a good apartment and employers the kind of people who care about their FICO score want to work for won't hire you. You can still get an apartment, job, etc just fine so long as you're not in bankruptcy.
There's a pretty big chunk of society where basically everyone either has shit credit and/or doesn't use credit. It's just not a chunk of society the chunk that knows their credit comes into much contact with. Those people mostly get along just fine. Access to credit is not a significant thorn in their side.
I know you don't mean that, but it sure smells like it.
This is a VERY good reason why cash or cash-like transactions are good. With China they enforced their crazy system using wepay where even street beggars now have to accept payment that way.
a) what purpose is that?
b) FICO score doesn't include political outlook or social behaviors. (see also 'a')
Edit: People really need to know the difference between FICO score and credit history. You can't challenge algorithm of a FICO Score number. You can challenge incorrect data on your credit report.
I lived outside the US for years, and even when I'm in the US, I don't participate in the credit market. I'm completely unable to rent apartments in NYC unless I work out an unofficial sublet arrangement (and get treated like a second class tenant at risk of eviction at all times), and even in the suburbs, it severely limits my apartment choices. The only reason it hasn't hurt me with employers (that I know of) is because I have a solid resume and references.
I'm a capitalist and a bit of a left-leaning libertarian, so I'm not saying landlords shouldn't have the right to act like this, or that I think the government needs to step in and regulate it. If I owned a property, I wouldn't want the government telling me whom I can rent to (more than they already do). Just providing examples of the creeping social credit system we have. I don't think it's about financial security once you're already asking for three months' rent just to move in; the financial part is pretty well covered by then.
As for renting: Do you have any examples of cases in which "religion" was used in conjunction with credit scores to successfully argue discrimination? Because I believe it's pretty standard to pull credit checks on renters before they sign a lease, and again, I'm going to (not so) boldly assume the landlord is then using that in their decision making.
Is your point that it's JUST the detailed credit history and not "the detailed credit history + FICO" score, because that just seems like a pedantic point to make (and also, impossible to prove. There's no reason someone couldn't obtain your FICO score for these reasons)
OP point still stands: your credit history can be used against you in renting and employment. You've not disproved this point.
I don't care about the relation between FICO score and credit history. It's tangential to this discussion.
I've had credit-history checks done alongside criminal-background checks done for a number of apartments. One of my landlords told me it was a "negative event check," i.e. do you routinely miss payments, rather than an credit-worthiness check before a loan.
Just like I've occasionally had a startup ask me if I have a wife and kids in an interview, I'm sure there exist landlords that use a credit-check less judiciously.
I don't think there is law to forbid agencies to do this.
Also, what if you disagree with me politically about illegal immigration - does that give you a "right" to ban me from your establishment? Imagine it on the other side as well for people who are against abortion.
"But some Chinese are unaware that it even exists. And many others actually like the idea. One survey found that 80% of Chinese citizens surveyed either somewhat or strongly approve of social credit system."
How many people actually like the idea and how many claim they do because they want to score points? The endgame is that the government can do whatever it wants and claim it is with "the support of the people"
Note that I'm not supporting the social credit system (or disapproving either), I'm just pointing out that I don't think, unlike other responders here, that this poll finding is automatically void just because it was done in China. How many Americans would have been polled as "somewhat or strongly approving" of the invasion of Iraq in 2003?
Most people are aware of the Chinese tourist stereotype. Perhaps they see this "social credit" system as a way of combating that behavior now that communities are much too global to provide the social pressure they once did.
That was not what the poster you're replying to was saying. Quite the opposite, actually. The other poster was describing a political sophistication that would make an 80% approval rating for a social credit system a rather amusing irony.
If there's some guy out there with your name, who also lives in your state and also uses facebook, and he happens to be a klansman, by the time you realize that you have a Kafkaesque situation to sort out with your 'social capital,' the damage may already be tremendous.
We already see this at the U.S. border with agents checking your social feeds, and in legions of stories about stolen identities... god help us.
If the owner said that in the US? Well, probably not. If this hypothetical establishment is open to the public, they aren't allowed to discriminate based on political beliefs AFAIK.
They could just kick you out for 'no reason', but that seems hard to do without pretext.
People who a big deal out of not fitting in in a way that most everyone else finds disagreeable gets told to gtfo because they don't fit in but this goes for basically every group, not just religious ones.
However, I will point out that the liberal Christian denominations are generally dying out these days: the evangelical denominations (who are the ones you're worried about) are the ones adding new members, building "mega-churches", etc., while the "mainline Protestant" denominations that have liberalized themselves a lot to try to stay relevant and get new members are full of elderly people who are literally dying off. Basically, younger people go one of two ways: if they're more liberal, they tend to just abandon religion (like me), but if they're conservative, they instead go to conservative (typically evangelical) churches.
Also, this is a US-centric view. Christians outside the US, esp. in Europe, tend to be far more liberal than in the US. If you go to a random non-Catholic church in western Europe and tell them your views, they'll probably be happy to have you. Even super-Catholic Ireland just legalized abortion.
There's variability among UU congregations and individuals. It's like any religion in that way, although I think UU is maybe a little more heterogeneous than some.
And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need
of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to
call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”
However, it is very unlikely that a church is going to keep someone out, especially a non-believer, because of their views on abortion. Church attendance is generally open to everyone. It is participation in the sacraments (baptism, communion, etc.) and leadership that often requires doctrinal commitments.
I would be happy to start on this issue by pointing to any number of long-running (like, millenia-long) ideas on this and other complex moral issues that are littered throughout the many texts of abrahamic faiths. Claiming that there is exactly one intepretation that's valid (which you implicitly do) is a crabbed and limiting way of reading and living pretty much all of the time.
On this specific front, my church only recognizes two sacraments, and both are open to all. With regards to challenging present norms and mores, I am happy to agree, albeit in a way that you almost certainly don't mean. For instance: the more of the body of christ that locks themselves to concentration camp gates, the better!
> Respectfully, there are faith communities that hold any number of views without regard to their consistency with founding documents or traditions of teachings
In the first part of my comment, regarding abortion (which was the subject brought up by astura) I am simply saying that the bulk of Christian teaching is against it (except perhaps where the life of the mother is in danger). This is not some parochial, evangelical fundamentalist position: the Catholic and Orthodox churches (and several different flavors of Protestantism) are in agreement on this. Theologians throughout history likewise concur. That is not to say that there has been no debate, but that debate has generally not been about whether abortion is generally wrong, only about what the exceptions are.
Any church that departs from such a strong and consistent tradition of teaching and embraces abortion without reservation is likely in all matters more influenced by the surrounding secular culture than by it's own scriptures and traditions.
> I heartily recommend that for anyone who is genuinely seeking spiritual guidance to avoid religious establishments that do not challenge present cultural norms and mores.
Here, I genuinely intend this to be more generic advice. The point of being a spiritual seeker is that you recognize there is something missing from the culture around you and you are looking for an alternative - something that is hopefully timeless.
> However, it is very unlikely that a church is going to keep someone out, especially a non-believer, because of their views on abortion. Church attendance is generally open to everyone. It is participation in the sacraments (baptism, communion, etc.) and leadership that often requires doctrinal commitments.
I hope this is clear enough.
Now to respond to your remarks:
> I would be happy to start on this issue by pointing to any number of long-running (like, millenia-long) ideas on this and other complex moral issues that are littered throughout the many texts of abrahamic faiths.
> Claiming that there is exactly one intepretation that's valid (which you implicitly do) is a crabbed and limiting way of reading and living pretty much all of the time.
You are inferring something that I did not imply. There is not only one valid interpretation for many things. However, some interpretations cohere better and are better supported, and you can only stretch interpretations so far before it becomes dishonest.
> On this specific front, my church only recognizes two sacraments, and both are open to all.
Which ones? Does participation in these sacraments at least require an acknowledgment of the solemn purpose of those sacraments, or can you just do them for a laugh?
> With regards to challenging present norms and mores, I am happy to agree, albeit in a way that you almost certainly don't mean. For instance: the more of the body of christ that locks themselves to concentration camp gates, the better!
What events are you referencing?
Some clarification: First, when I talk about this slant in reporting Chinese affairs, it's not from a pro-CCP or pro-China position. Discussions about Chinese media and bias are still essential to have, but has nothing to do with the point I'm making here. Next, this issue isn't limited to just US media. There is arguably an observable bias even when it comes to Western academics that study or cover China in some capacity.
I'm sure aspects of this system in China earns a healthy dose of criticism and skepticism. However, it's important to consider the way this may be reported in the West, especially as tensions heat up between China and the US. Just think, for example, that it would not be very difficult to cover the US's credit score system as authoritarian, racist, or Orwellian. In fact, such cases have been made in the past and have some weight to them.
Just a thought.
I agree that this article is pretty good. Ironically, Wired's first article about China's social credit system generated a lot of misinformation about the social credit system in the first place. Nothing was factually incorrect, but most of the article was pure speculation and then everyone on the internet treated that as fact.
If there are editorials, fine, but don't just confirmation bias and move on. Read the primary source.
Look, online tracking inevitably leads to behavioral profiling. Put two behavioral profiles side by side and you have scoring, ranking. Add some weight on behaviors, age, income etc. and you have a social credit system.
Edit: the question is not if big tech already have social scores in us or not. The questions are when and how they will use it
Tech has opened up "channels of analysis" that the US spent a huge amount of time, effort, and social strife legislating against. Because of the hub-and-spoke model of tech and data, a lot of these channels have been re-opened in indirect, but socially important ways.
What goes in one end for social media, comes out the other end in your insurance rates. How do we think Rocket Mortgage generates am instantaneous rate, when mortgage lenders used to rely on a great deal of relationship management and building to do the same loan issuance (and, they had credit scores back then, so it's not only an API into FICO that's changed).
There are so many unknown unknowns here now. Previously, your mortgage rate bumped up if you lived in a red-line neighborhood. This was legislated against. Now, is the same thing happening with online banking/online health insurance rate quotes, etc., if you have a history of social media locations that place you in minority neighborhoods? Odds are, I bet yes, or something very similar.
The more people that realize what is going into seemingly innocuous uses of tech - game apps, social media, food ordering, comes out in the other end in things that really matter to us - banking (this guy's kid spends $1k a month on candy crush), insurance (see the article), politics (we all know this), the more this can start to be legislated safely, and at least make the consumer aware.
It will be a cold day in hell when any insurance company investigates you for potential fraud, decides you're not guilty, and then decides to LOWER your premiums as a result of their investigation. Premiums don't work that way. It's frustrating to see that float around as even a possibility from a blog like FastCompany that claims to know how the business world works. I find it incredibly frustrating anyone would even insinuate that insurance companies have a conscience.
I've heard similar stories about car insurance companies asking to install GPS into your car for discounts or per-mile billing.
I'm not quite sure about the end-game for insurance companies for things that aren't about catching fraud. If we have perfect data then we lose the risk-pooling for insurance--then you're no longer insuring against anything and that seems like a different type of business to me.
However the tracking is suspicious. Insurance companies have a bad habit of trying to never pay what they promise out of greed - despite doing so sawing at the branch they sit upon.
As a rule of thumb if the insurance company learns nothing from what it gives away it is probably trustworthy.
Many people buy the insurance they can afford. That means lowest up-front costs or flat out whoever will actually give you a policy. There's not nearly as much choice in the matter as you're making it out to be. Most people don't have the luxury of shopping for the best value plan. So the lowest barrier for picking up an insurance plan isn't who has the best price.
It's who has the lowest standards for what they'll insure. The nature of the game means that those two selling points (price & availability) are mutually exclusive.
SV recruiters blackball candidates/potential employees (often for no reason than petty vindictiveness);
SV incubators/VCs use blackball lists;
even insurance has internal lists in order to assess and deny claims based on nothing other than the "social credit" of the claimant rather than the merits of the claim itself. They even go a step further and insurance will rate/rank a claimant's attorney, so you may have a good claim that gets denied because you have a low ranking attorney, or you may have a weak claim they approve because your attorney is highly ranked (probably has a number of jury verdicts in similar cases).
How do you know about this blacklist? How is it shared and maintained.
This is the hidden power structure that crosses companies. And this power structure holds and maintains all sorts of biases: alumni, ethnicity, religion, gender, socioeconomic, etc... It works the other way too in terms of some people getting hired who otherwise wouldn't.
In fact, that person holds the relationship with the other person in higher regard than you and will in fact report to the other person that you have been interviewing at another company. Applies to recruiters, managers, HR, you name it.
Lawsuits, screenshots and public quotes.
But what side of the story did you get? The side of the person doing the blackballing or the person being blackballed?
Just as a counter example (there is a link in this thread to exerts from a employment lawsuit against Google), one Google Manager is quoted outright...
"...I don’t care if you are perfect fit or technically excellent or whatever. I will actively not work with you, even to the point where your team or product is impacted by this decision. I’ll communicate why to your manager if it comes up. You’re being blacklisted by people at companies outside of Google,You might not have been aware of this, but people know, people talk. There are always social consequences.”
What is the offense? Apparently holding republican/conservative values.
Really what about the SV party culture ? And if the companies are that professional and only care about your work why does the age bias exist ?
What party culture? I worked at Google in Mountain View and never saw any of this, nor "brogrammers", nor endless mandated/encouraged overtime, or most of the other stereotypes that seem to perpetuate themselves.
How long did you work there >5 or >10 years or sth like that or just a stint ?
> In 2014, former CIA and NSA director Michael Hayden said in a public debate, “We kill people based on metadata.”
> According to multiple reports and leaks, death-by-metadata could be triggered, without even knowing the target’s name, if too many derogatory checks appear on their profile. “Armed military aged males” exhibiting suspicious behavior in the wrong place can become targets, as can someone “seen to be giving out orders.” Such mathematics-based assassinations have come to be known as “signature strikes.”
Meet the algo behind the math assassinations, its name is literally SKYNET 
Using something that has the same functionality as a utility but is not regulated as such raises some questions.
Also, profiling social media is nothing new. It's not uncommon for insurance companies to hire private investigators to look into suspicious cases. One case I heard was a man going on disability citing being homebound but the private investigator found evidence completely to the contrary. I fail to see how this is any different.
Social Credit is a wrong-headed authoritarian tool of control that is enforced and has jack and shit to do with actual creditworthiness. It only "works" from being pressures because otherwise the companies shouldn't give a shit if they want to optimize for profits. If you tried to sell a loan evaluation system for banks based upon how they treated their parents in the US or Europe they would tell you to not waste their time again.
There are problems with the current scoring systems of course - the burden of proof for identity theft is utterly backwards, credit scores have major "how good of a cash cow are you" aspects mixed in to what should be pure reliability, and idiots in recruiting use it for employement evaluation when it is utterly irrelevant.
Even if the system winds up unjust and stupid there are large differences - the comparison isn't helpful.
You chose the worst example of Google being able to ruin somebody's life when if they really wanted to be evil, they'd have a monumental amount of data for blackmail, the ability to silence you online, etc..
PatronScan looks potentially more dangerous, but the law in the US and UK (for example and afaik) is that you are free to refuse service to anyone you please as long as it is not illegal discrimination (e.g. in the UK, race or sexual orientation).
Once again what this highlights is the power gained by these online platforms. On the one hand as private companies they have no obligation of universal service, on the other hand some of them have so much power that being excluded has a real impact on people.
This reinforces my opinion that either these tech giants will effectively rule, or they will have to be controlled in a way similar to what China does in order to keep decisions on censorship, exclusion, and provision of service within public hands.
There is more to discrimination law, including "gotchas" like adverse impact.
> or they will have to be controlled in a way similar to what China does in order to keep decisions on censorship, exclusion, and provision of service within public hands.
The Western nations seem more concerned with who and what is banned from a platform, the Chinese the opposite, banning speech the Party doesn't like and, perhaps more in line with the West, leveraging these companies as intelligence assets.
In this way, the Silicon Valley companies themselves are more like the Chinese whereas the current administration less so.
I fear that we have opened the pandora box and now the alternatives are those I mentioned.
> There is more to discrimination law, including "gotchas" like adverse impact.
Not in the UK, unless mandated by law in specific industries.
I don't know that we've opened the box so much as we've built or otherwise inherited a system that allows for what we have now. No reason we can't legally preclude social-media companies from excluding based on their arbitrary and capricious criteria.
> Not in the UK, unless mandated by law in specific industries.
I was talking about the US, specifically. Honestly a bit weird to group the two together in the first place, being very different countries.
And thus social media, and other platforms, are controlled or at least heavily regulated by the government.
Just wondering what does it mean and how can this ever be enforced? Does this mean that you can refuse service to anyone as long as they are not part of any minority?
That said, you only cannot discriminate on the basis of one of those listed above. There are unfortunately many people who will try to discriminate using a rule which indirectly singles out a group (I am intentionally omitting examples, use your imagination).
There are, perhaps more unfortunately, valid reasons to serve one cohort and not another that can have bias along these lines. Once again, the actions of some hateful few can ruin things for the rest of us.
On the other hand, for example in France it is illegal to refuse service unless you have a good reason to.
So in the UK if I walk to a market stall with money in my hand they are free to refuse to sell to me (I suspect the same is true in the US), but in France they would need a 'good reason' to refuse.
But I do not understand how can this be enforced. If for example you are gay and are refused service, can't you claim that it is due to your sexual orientation? Conversely, if the shop wants to expel you because of illegal reasons, can't they always claim that it is due to some other, ridiculous but valid reason?
Then it's the usual job of the courts to try to uncover the facts.