What’s the Social Credit Score in Your Wallet?

 

You are excused if you missed this story. “PayPal Partners With ADL (Anti-Defamation League) To ‘Fight Extremism And Hate’ By Researching, Disrupting Payments,” screamed the headline from Daily Caller, a conservative news site created by Fox News’ Tucker Carlson (he no longer controls it).

Perhaps you ignored it or drew a yawn from you. After all, you may have a Pay Pal account that has never had a problem and aren’t aware of ADL’s hard-left political activism. You may want to pay attention, especially if you’re a conservative who uses credit cards for certain contributions (such as the NRA) or purchases (like, purchasing a weapon for self-defense. And a lot of people are).

The initiative, led by the ADL’s Center on Extremism, will focus on researching funding networks of “extremist and hate movements,” the ADL announced in a statement Monday. The partnership will then share its research with policymakers and law enforcement officials, as well as with civil rights organizations and actors in the financial industry, to disrupt “the financial pipelines that support extremist and hate movements.”

“By identifying partners across sectors with common goals and complementary resources, we can make an even greater impact than any of us could do on our own,” Aaron Karczmer, chief risk officer at PayPal, said in the statement.”

Before you dismiss this as a right-wing conspiracy theory, you may first want to become familiar with what Communist China is doing. The very bi/nonpartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) of the Library of Congress has published an excellent and factual study. And here’s part of a post from CBSN that describes the practical result in the lovely People’s Republic of China.

When Liu Hu recently tried to book a flight, he was told he was banned from flying because he was on the list of untrustworthy people. Liu is a journalist who was ordered by a court to apologize for a series of tweets he wrote and was then told his apology was insincere.

“I can’t buy property. My child can’t go to a private school,” he said. “You feel you’re being controlled by the list all the time.”

And the list is now getting longer as every Chinese citizen is being assigned a social credit score — a fluctuating rating based on a range of behaviors. It’s believed that community service and buying Chinese-made products can raise your score. Fraud, tax evasion and smoking in non-smoking areas can drop it.

There’s a lot more to it than that, obviously. In China, it is all about being loyal to Communist Chinese authorities. From Futurism.com:

Much like what we have for our financial credit ratings, China’s “social credit” system attaches a positive point value to behavior that the government views as praiseworthy (showing integrity, responsibility and/or trustworthiness) and a negative point value for behavior it wants to discourage. “Bad” behavior includes spending too much time playing video games, not caring for aging parents, poor driving, jaywalking, not paying one’s debts and, of course, criticizing the government.

The enormity of this effort is impossible to overstate. Chinese companies (and foreign companies authorized to do business in China) collect massive amounts of data on Chinese people from their cellphone and internet use and turn it over to the Chinese government. Dozens of government agencies share data and information with each other. Hundreds of millions of surveillance cameras watch Chinese people in cities across the country (with hundreds of millions more to come). Advanced facial recognition technology and complex algorithms assist in determining the identity of those being surveilled in public places. And, of course, there are the “informers” – members of the local community who report the good and bad conduct of their neighbors and co-workers to authorities.

Eventually, every Chinese citizen over a certain age will have a “social credit” score.

Perhaps you find this interesting but are asking, “so what? We don’t have this kind of system in America.”

Perhaps you should pay closer attention. Here are some realities for you to consider. You’ll never see Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Amazon, Google, or other tech empires quite the same. Just read those “terms of service” we mostly ignore.

If you’re a registered voter, the odds are that both major political parties (and marketers, of course) have a file on you, with hundreds of data points. They know when you’ve voted, if you’ve made any political campaign contributions, how much, when, and to whom (if reported to the Federal Election Commission). They know your magazine subscriptions. They know if you’ve joined or sent financial contributions to organizations that make a habit of selling their lists (and most organizations do). It is why you may make one contribution via winred.com, but you suddenly began getting scores of solicitations from the Republican National Committee and no shortage of other candidates. Winred.com and its Democratic counterpart, ActBlue.com, certainly appear to rent or sell information. Federal candidates rent or sell their contribution lists directly to other candidates for “fair market value” under rules established by the Federal Election Commission (FEC). It’s at least illegal to fundraise from legally mandated periodic FEC disclosure reports – at least directly.

Surely you know this already, but a major source for those data points is Apple, Google, and other internet service providers (a few search engines and ISPs, such as DuckDuckGo, do not). They make a lot of money selling data about you to advertisers and others. And I bet many of the organizations you join or contribute to, political and otherwise, rent or sell their lists (unless they tell you that they don’t).

And then there is the collection by your federal government as well as the private sector. Are the “location services” of your mobile phone on? Chances are there are organizations “geofencing” your numbers to match against available databases – for a fee, of course – to find out who the person is behind that mobile phone number and their contact information. Imagine the possibilities for marketing. From Smartbugmedia.com:

“Geofencing is a location-based service in which an app or other software program uses radio frequency identification (RFID), Wi-Fi, GPS, or cellular data to trigger a targeted marketing action (such as a text, email, social media advertisement, app notification) when a mobile device or RFID tag enters or exits a virtual geographic boundary, known as a geofence.

“A simple example of geofencing is when a young woman walks near a Sephora retailer at the mall and receives an app notification that says: “Today only! Buy 1 lipstick, get 1 free!”

“You can track a consumer’s location through GPS, Bluetooth, and beacons, and there are three ways to utilize this technology for targeting consumers: geotargeting, geofencing, and beaconing.”

If you don’t think private companies won’t share that information upon request to the federal government, guess again. When the FBI began investigating the January 6th incursion at the Capitol, they easily obtained credit card data from Bank of America and others on air travel and hotels in and around the Washington, DC area around that date.

But that’s just the start. Before Joe Biden was sworn in as President and especially after the January 6th Capitol riots, organizations like The Lincoln Project swung into action to target and cancel Trump supporters, whether or not they had anything to do with any unlawful events of that day. This includes, apparently, individuals who make financial contributions in support of House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).

It doesn’t take long to see where this might go. Not just the loss of employment or a contract for an “unapproved” or “unacceptable” comment or contribution, but having your use of your credit card denied for air travel and more. There have long been concerted efforts – including by the Obama Administration – to pressure credit card companies from any relationship with the firearms industry, broadly speaking – gun makers, gun sellers, and gun buyers.

Pay Pal and financial transaction processor Stripe already have.

You can imagine how this plays out if and when the Biden or Harris Administrations declare a “climate emergency” and look for ways to “disincentivize” spending or investments into fossil fuels, or anything that uses them (like, “gas-guzzling” automobiles, boats, lawnmowers, etc.). And authoritarian left-leaning social investor groups have been pressuring private companies to take positions and actions along these lines for years now. Many of them, like the Center for Political Accountability, have created indexes and scores by which to rate corporate compliance with their constantly shifting goalposts.

China has yet to fully implement its social credit system, complete with scores for every adult. But they’re on their way, and quickly. Will leftist advocacy groups find a way to impose an equivalent – like an “equity score” on people and organizations in the United States? You know the answer.

Fortunately, some are fighting back, like the social media network Gab. Founder and CEO Andrew Torba claims to have been blacklisted by Visa to prevent Gab from processing credit card payments. Torba:

We were told this week that not only is Gab blacklisted by Visa as a business, but my personal name, phone number, address, and more are all also blacklisted by Visa. If I wanted to leave Gab tomorrow (something that isn’t going to happen) and start a lemonade stand I wouldn’t be able to obtain merchant processing for it.

Simply because my name is Andrew Torba.

If my wife wants to start a business she won’t be able to obtain merchant processing because she lives at the same address as me and would be flagged by Visa.

They also claim to have been banned by several banks and are now considering buying their own bank. So much for the advice that if you don’t like Facebook or Twitter, start your own social media network. It’s not a long step from canceling companies to individuals.

Call it whatever you like, “social credit score” or “equity score,” in honor of Critical Race Theory, but it’s here, and now. It’s long past time, but not too late to fight back. Start by divesting yourself as much as possible of the worse actors and authoritarian censors in Big Tech and their fellow corporate travelers and look to support emerging alternative institutions, financial and otherwise, as they emerge. For example, aside from using DuckDuckGo as your internet search engine, use BraveVivaldiTor, or another browser that won’t track you like Google, Edge, and even Firefox do. Pay attention to new tech tools to see if they’re for real. Hold public officials accountable for privacy and other internet reforms.

Maybe get off Twitter and limit your engagement on Facebook. At a minimum, don’t support vendors who advertise there – stop putting money in Mark Zuckerberg’s pocket that he will spend in support of Democratic campaigns and elections. Cancel your Pay Pal account (I have). There are several other emerging social media platforms you should investigate, from Clouthub.com to the latest, GETTR.com. Parler.com is back online after being deplatformed by Apple and Google. There are others like usa.life, mewe.com, and spreely.com. And then there are new “locals” networks established by celebrities like Dilbert creator Scott Adams. Too many in my view, but that’s how the market works.

Start also with more carefully investing our time, our dollars, and our votes. The old libertarian canard that private companies can “do what they want” doesn’t apply to the enormous power Big Tech and a few other corporations have amassed and abuse. And if there’s one area of bipartisan agreement, reforming Big Tech looks to be one. Watch this space.

It is likely to get worse before it gets better. But being silent, inattentive, or inactive is no longer a suitable option.

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  1. Ekosj Member
    Ekosj
    @Ekosj

    Kelly D Johnston: It is likely to get worse before it gets better

    That’s more like it.   

    • #1
  2. navyjag Coolidge
    navyjag
    @navyjag

    Wonder if living in San Fran will get me some extra points.  But if they track web site use and trace me to this site probably not. Lucky I did my last VA refi last year and don’t care what my credit score, social or otherwise, is.  

    • #2
  3. Vince Guerra Member
    Vince Guerra
    @VinceGuerra

    If it’s like scoring in golf I think I’ll win hands-down. 

    • #3
  4. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    navyjag (View Comment):

    Wonder if living in San Fran will get me some extra points. But if they track web site use and trace me to this site probably not. Lucky I did my last VA refi last year and don’t care what my credit score, social or otherwise, is.

    I wonder if there’s anything in the “fine print” that allows them to cancel mortgages for various reasons.  Wouldn’t surprise me.  And even if there isn’t such language now, it could always be added via legislation.  And courts wouldn’t deny it.

    • #4
  5. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    kedavis (View Comment):

    navyjag (View Comment):

    Wonder if living in San Fran will get me some extra points. But if they track web site use and trace me to this site probably not. Lucky I did my last VA refi last year and don’t care what my credit score, social or otherwise, is.

    I wonder if there’s anything in the “fine print” that allows them to cancel mortgages for various reasons. Wouldn’t surprise me. And even if there isn’t such language now, it could always be added via legislation. And courts wouldn’t deny it.

    I think — but I don’t remember exactly — but I think banks can call in a loan at any time.

    • #5
  6. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Flicker (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    navyjag (View Comment):

    Wonder if living in San Fran will get me some extra points. But if they track web site use and trace me to this site probably not. Lucky I did my last VA refi last year and don’t care what my credit score, social or otherwise, is.

    I wonder if there’s anything in the “fine print” that allows them to cancel mortgages for various reasons. Wouldn’t surprise me. And even if there isn’t such language now, it could always be added via legislation. And courts wouldn’t deny it.

    I think — but I don’t remember exactly — but I think banks can call in a loan at any time.

    They probably can, they just usually don’t, perhaps mostly because they don’t – or at least didn’t used to – want to end up owning a lot of property.  But that could change.

    • #6
  7. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    Technology makes it abundantly easier for tyrants to control the population.

    Technology is not a gateway to freedom.

    • #7
  8. Ekosj Member
    Ekosj
    @Ekosj

    I highly recommend keeping an emergency cache of cash … just in case.   The power could go out.   They could shut off your credit cards.   You never know.

    • #8
  9. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Stina (View Comment):

    Technology makes it abundantly easier for tyrants to control the population.

    Technology is not a gateway to freedom.

    Wait, are you saying NuBattlestar Galactica got it right?  I can’t accept that.

    • #9
  10. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Stina (View Comment):

    Technology makes it abundantly easier for tyrants to control the population.

    Technology is not a gateway to freedom.

    Wait, are you saying NuBattlestar Galactica got it right? I can’t accept that.

    I’ve been gaming this out in my head, but if Robin Hood and his merry men or compatriots were to all be caught, there would need to be a great many Sherriffs of Nottingham. The more sherriffs you have, the more risk there is for corruption or that one of them may have a stronger sense of right and wrong than obedience to king.

    Technology makes it possible for one sheriff to monitor great swaths of forest, cutting down the probability for corruption or do-Rights. Better yet, the king himself could monitor his own forests for unauthorized arrows flying through the air.

    • #10
  11. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    navyjag (View Comment):

    Wonder if living in San Fran will get me some extra points. But if they track web site use and trace me to this site probably not. Lucky I did my last VA refi last year and don’t care what my credit score, social or otherwise, is.

    Also, aren’t you planning to get out of People’s Republic of California sometime soon?  Won’t you need a mortgage for that, or do you expect to pay all cash?  (Which automatically makes you suspicious, of course.)

    • #11
  12. Ekosj Member
    Ekosj
    @Ekosj

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Stina (View Comment):

    Technology makes it abundantly easier for tyrants to control the population.

    Technology is not a gateway to freedom.

    Wait, are you saying NuBattlestar Galactica got it right? I can’t accept that.

    I have to agree with Stina on this point.   Just look at China.

    • #12
  13. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    There are conservatives who support the Lincoln Project.

    I’d love to hear their take on all this. 

    But, I won’t.

    • #13
  14. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    There are conservatives who support the Lincoln Project.

    I’d love to hear their take on all this.

    But, I won’t.

    Those would be “conservatives.”

    Because nobody believes it, except themselves.

    • #14
  15. navyjag Coolidge
    navyjag
    @navyjag

    kedavis (View Comment):

    navyjag (View Comment):

    Wonder if living in San Fran will get me some extra points. But if they track web site use and trace me to this site probably not. Lucky I did my last VA refi last year and don’t care what my credit score, social or otherwise, is.

    Also, aren’t you planning to get out of People’s Republic of California sometime soon? Won’t you need a mortgage for that, or do you expect to pay all cash? (Which automatically makes you suspicious, of course.)

    KE, if we can sell our place for 2/3 the current market price we could buy 5 houses in Okla. Brother in law sold his house in Healdsburg, bought 6 acres in Norman. Beautiful house in Norman with swimming pool. No mortgage. And  retired at 59.  Not bad for an OU partying Sigma Chi. 

    • #15
  16. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    navyjag (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    navyjag (View Comment):

    Wonder if living in San Fran will get me some extra points. But if they track web site use and trace me to this site probably not. Lucky I did my last VA refi last year and don’t care what my credit score, social or otherwise, is.

    Also, aren’t you planning to get out of People’s Republic of California sometime soon? Won’t you need a mortgage for that, or do you expect to pay all cash? (Which automatically makes you suspicious, of course.)

    KE, if we can sell our place for 2/3 the current market price we could buy 5 houses in Okla. Brother in law sold his house in Healdsburg, bought 6 acres in Norman. Beautiful house in Norman with swimming pool. No mortgage. And retired at 59. Not bad for an OU partying Sigma Chi.

    Then it depends on how long you plan to wait.  Housing prices in CA have crashed before, and likely will again.  The only question is when.  Also, housing prices in other places are going up, as people leave PRC to go elsewhere.

    • #16
  17. cdor Member
    cdor
    @cdor

    Great post and very scary. I guess these financial institutions don’t care if they lose half of their business.

    • #17
  18. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    cdor (View Comment):

    Great post and very scary. I guess these financial institutions don’t care if they lose half of their business.

    As long as the feds will pay their salaries etc, it doesn’t really matter to them.

    • #18
  19. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    I think that if truth in advertising applied, the ADL might have to take the “Anti” out of its name.

    • #19
  20. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    cdor (View Comment):

    Great post and very scary. I guess these financial institutions don’t care if they lose half of their business.

    They can expect a bailout. Everyone does these days. 

    • #20
  21. Annefy Member
    Annefy
    @Annefy

    Flicker (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    navyjag (View Comment):

    Wonder if living in San Fran will get me some extra points. But if they track web site use and trace me to this site probably not. Lucky I did my last VA refi last year and don’t care what my credit score, social or otherwise, is.

    I wonder if there’s anything in the “fine print” that allows them to cancel mortgages for various reasons. Wouldn’t surprise me. And even if there isn’t such language now, it could always be added via legislation. And courts wouldn’t deny it.

    I think — but I don’t remember exactly — but I think banks can call in a loan at any time.

    I don’t think they can … easily. But you could nail anyone on mortgage fraud. There’s no way anyone is reading the onerous disclosures and documents. If anyone wanted to get you, they could. 

    • #21
  22. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    There are conservatives who support the Lincoln Project.

    I’d love to hear their take on all this.

    But, I won’t.

    Those would be “conservatives.”

    Because nobody believes it, except themselves.

    I want to hear from them. Some are here. Where are they to defend their champions?

    These are the same people who tried to hang every mean tweet and indeed, a riot, Round the necks of every Trump supporter. 

    Seems to me if someone donated to the cause, they should answer questions. 

    • #22
  23. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Flicker (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    navyjag (View Comment):

    Wonder if living in San Fran will get me some extra points. But if they track web site use and trace me to this site probably not. Lucky I did my last VA refi last year and don’t care what my credit score, social or otherwise, is.

    I wonder if there’s anything in the “fine print” that allows them to cancel mortgages for various reasons. Wouldn’t surprise me. And even if there isn’t such language now, it could always be added via legislation. And courts wouldn’t deny it.

    I think — but I don’t remember exactly — but I think banks can call in a loan at any time.

    Hmmmm.  I kinda don’t think that would happen.  If it starts happening regularly, it would kill the private housing market because no one would trust getting a mortgage.  Wait a minute . . . the left wants everyone in government housing . . .

    • #23
  24. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    Stad (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    navyjag (View Comment):

    Wonder if living in San Fran will get me some extra points. But if they track web site use and trace me to this site probably not. Lucky I did my last VA refi last year and don’t care what my credit score, social or otherwise, is.

    I wonder if there’s anything in the “fine print” that allows them to cancel mortgages for various reasons. Wouldn’t surprise me. And even if there isn’t such language now, it could always be added via legislation. And courts wouldn’t deny it.

    I think — but I don’t remember exactly — but I think banks can call in a loan at any time.

    Hmmmm. I kinda don’t think that would happen. If it starts happening regularly, it would kill the private housing market because no one would trust getting a mortgage. Wait a minute . . . the left wants everyone in government housing . . .

    They don’t have to actually do it to a lot of victims in order to have a significant effect. “pour le encourage les autres”. And furthermore, they can apply such fascistic criteria to loan applications, applications to open checking and savings accounts, and so on. I am assured that liberalism is the opposite of fascism, but the evidence says otherwise.

    • #24
  25. Ekosj Member
    Ekosj
    @Ekosj

    cdor (View Comment):

    Great post and very scary. I guess these financial institutions don’t care if they lose half of their business.

    To which financial institution will you flee?    I’m pretty sure they think you are a captive audience.   And I’m pretty sure they are right.

    • #25
  26. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    Stad (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    navyjag (View Comment):

    Wonder if living in San Fran will get me some extra points. But if they track web site use and trace me to this site probably not. Lucky I did my last VA refi last year and don’t care what my credit score, social or otherwise, is.

    I wonder if there’s anything in the “fine print” that allows them to cancel mortgages for various reasons. Wouldn’t surprise me. And even if there isn’t such language now, it could always be added via legislation. And courts wouldn’t deny it.

    I think — but I don’t remember exactly — but I think banks can call in a loan at any time.

    Hmmmm. I kinda don’t think that would happen. If it starts happening regularly, it would kill the private housing market because no one would trust getting a mortgage. Wait a minute . . . the left wants everyone in government housing . . .

    And your “social credit score” will determine the quality and location of your residence. 

    • #26
  27. W Bob Member
    W Bob
    @WBob

    A business can’t refuse to do business with someone on the basis of race. Propose a new federal law which expands that kind of civil rights protection to political viewpoint or affiliation, including party affiliation. A perfectly reasonable extension of the law. Do you think a bank should have the right to close your accounts if they don’t like your politics or what you say on Twitter? Let the social credit defenders in Congress make their case.

    This article says that PayPal has teamed up with Southern Poverty.

    https://thehill.com/opinion/finance/565860-coming-soon-americas-own-social-credit-system

     

     

    • #27
  28. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    Ekosj (View Comment):

    cdor (View Comment):

    Great post and very scary. I guess these financial institutions don’t care if they lose half of their business.

    To which financial institution will you flee? I’m pretty sure they think you are a captive audience. And I’m pretty sure they are right.

    “Unhappy? Stop whining. Just create your own social media platform…hosting software…ISP…bank…” Where have we heard that before?

    • #28
  29. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    Ekosj (View Comment):

    I highly recommend keeping an emergency cache of cash … just in case. The power could go out. They could shut off your credit cards. You never know.

    I agree.  I keep a couple months of cash.  Also a couple months of food.  But mainly I keep a cache of weapons and about a year’s worth of ammo.  If it all falls apart, ammo and the ability to throw it down range quickly and in volume will be of value.

    • #29
  30. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    There are conservatives who support the Lincoln Project.

    I’d love to hear their take on all this.

    But, I won’t.

    Those would be “conservatives.”

    Because nobody believes it, except themselves.

    I want to hear from them. Some are here. Where are they to defend their champions?

    These are the same people who tried to hang every mean tweet and indeed, a riot, Round the necks of every Trump supporter.

    Seems to me if someone donated to the cause, they should answer questions.

    He refuses to be “cross-examined.”

    • #30