The Social Credit System: Not Just Another Chinese Idiosyncrasy

Eunsun Cho
Content Type
Journal Article
Woodrow Wilson School Journal of Public and International Affairs
Issue Number
Publication Date
Spring 2020
Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University
As the unparalleled ability of big data to capture and process real-time information signals a revolution in public administration, countries around the world have begun to explore the application of the technology to government functions. At the forefront of these efforts is China, which is planning to launch the social credit system (SCS), a data-powered project to monitor, assess, and shape the behavior of all citizens and enterprises. This new frontier of digital surveillance raises questions about how the United States will incorporate data technology into its own politics and economy. This article argues that the U.S. needs a comprehensive nationwide data protection framework that places limits on surveillance by both private business and the government. Without drawing its own baseline for personal data protection, the United States risks missing the already narrowing opportunity to define its balance between democracy, security, and growth.
Security, Science and Technology, Democracy, Surveillance
Political Geography
China, Asia-Pacific, United States of America