China's courts have now added 13.5 million individuals to the social-credit punishment list [theglobeandmail.com].
People deemed untrustworthy in China have been blocked from the purchase of more than 25 million plane and train tickets, as the country works to build the massive social-credit system designed to monitor and shape the conduct of its citizens
The system covers "19 key areas of dishonesty" such as failing to make court-ordered payments (China has no personal bankruptcy statutes), spending habits, turnstile violations, and filial piety, as well as
spreading online rumours and false information, committing financial fraud, delivering unlicensed medical treatment, evading taxes, cheating on tests and fixing sports matches.
Chinese officials are careful to point out that this is only the beginning of the process of implementing a social-credit system. There are also multiple blacklists involved, not one big blacklist like the United State's 'No-Fly' list.
In total, the number of blacklists in China now likely numbers in the hundreds, said Dai Xin, a professor at Ocean University of China School of Law. But it remains experimental, he said, like many initiatives in China, where “governments just go ahead with some vague assumptions of what may happen if a measure is adopted.”
Critics call the system the beginning of a "digital panopticon", while other Chinese scholars and officials defend the system as one that will ease life for those who display good conduct and integrity even as it deprives the untrustworthy of access to services.