Global Privacy Extinction – Is Big Brother Watching You?

  • In china, the last resort is being blacklisted from all national services or privileges: essentially having zero rights in your own country.
  • A new law means that anyone using Russian social media or any other forms of instant messaging has to register their mobile number which is then verified off their passport information.
  • While in Russia and China these types of systems are controlled by the government, in the US it's being implemented by private corporations.

Since 2014, China has been developing a social score system for its citizens. The official system launch will take place in 2020. A negative score will result in punishment. The criteria include: wrong religion, late payment of taxes, financial loan default, political critique against the current government, smoking, loud music and even the condition of your front lawn. Consequences under the above criteria will include being banned from overseas travel, public transport, hotel stays, etc.

The program has been piloted since last year and WeChat is one of the pioneers in adopting it into their chat groups and posts. People are already suffering consequences, including being banned from travel.

Another variation of punishment is reduced internet speed, including a full blackout. The last resort is being blacklisted from all national services or privileges: essentially having zero rights in your own country.

Image Source: CBS

On May 5th, a new law came into effect in Russia that blocks anonymous use of the internet and cellular-based private messaging applications. The new law means that, from now on, anyone using Russian social media or any other forms of instant messaging has to register their mobile number which is then verified off their passport information.

Such information will be checked through the mobile service provider during service use. The passport information will be available on demand to the registrar and individuals will be given an identification number to access social media. The mobile service provider has 20 minutes to provide such information to the owners of any chat apps and online services. If the information is not provided, the individual will not be able to use any messenger and will not be able to access any chats within Russia.

Image Source: Axios

There are discussions going on in Russia to follow China’s path in the near future, where WeChat is a personal electronic ID for Chinese citizens which allows the government to socially rank users based on content. The reality is that such an ID allows the government to control all your interactions and provide you with social points based on your online behavior.

Negative points could actually mean you wouldn’t be allowed to board a plane, book a ticket to use a train, or even obtain an international visa. The same systems will be discussed in Russia as they begin to resurrect a 5-year plan.

Meanwhile, a Canadian company IDscannerapp.com is offering a way for private establishments to create a patron database. As per their website, it allows the business to:

“Scan your patrons’ information with the touch of a button. Use one or multiple scanners to build a CRM database with unlimited records that can be reviewed and exported. Once you scan an ID the information is stored locally on your iPhone, iPod or iPad. You can register for free to have your scan history uploaded to the cloud and accessed via a web portal. Create your own network of scanners by using the same login for all your ID scanners for free. Best of all, you can login to the cloud to consolidate, view, report, and export your ID scan history from all your ID scanners in one place.”

The system is currently operating in the US too, allowing establishments to discriminate against their patrons and not to serve certain patrons identified in such a database.

While in Russia and China these types of systems are controlled by the government, in the US it’s being implemented by private corporations and the consumer has no choice or appeal without launching a lawsuit, which thus far have not been tested in US courts.

The future of privacy globally looks grim. Every day privacy is being taken away around the world.

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Christina Kitova

I spent most of my professional life in finance, insurance risk management litigation.

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