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Chinese-Style Social Credit System Is a 'Threat' to Russia, Deputy PM Says

Alexander Avilov / Moskva News Agency

Russia is not currently devising a Chinese-style system to rate its citizens based on desirable or undesirable behavior, a senior government official has said.

China’s Social Credit System rates the trustworthiness of citizens based on an individual score determined by credit history, personal characteristics, behavior and interpersonal relationships. Individuals with low scores are reportedly punished with slower internet speeds and travel restrictions.

“I believe that this is a fairly obvious threat, but… we’ll manage to avoid it,” the Moskva news agency quoted Deputy Prime Minister Maxim Akimov as saying Saturday.

Akimov made the comments at an annual gathering on future tech organized by the Sberbank state lender, where he assured the audience that “the government is not currently discussing these issues; they’re not on the agenda.”

“Scoring a person’s political and social behavior, as well as assessing its success or failure —  there are currently no such projects,” he was quoted as saying.

The head of IT at Russia’s Pension Fund recently estimated that 80 percent of the population will have state-gathered “digital profiles” by 2025, a plan that observers say resembles China’s scoring system.

The profiles will reportedly track a student’s academic successes and failures, which will be passed on to their future employers. This so-called “personal development trajectory” is part of the Russian government’s $53-billion Digital Economy Program designed to help roll out digital technologies nationwide by 2024.

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