The News Today
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11.17.19
Debt Tu, Brute?

Grindr-Like Chinese App Tells You If “Deadbeat Debtors” Are Nearby

January 24th 19__Jon Christian__Filed Under: Future Society
Tag Hartman-Simkins

Debtor’s Panopticon

A new app created by authorities in China tells you if any “deadbeat debtors” are within 500 meters — like Grindr, essentially, but for insolvent borrowers.

It sounds like dystopian fiction, but news of the Chinese app comes from China Daily, a state-run newspaper that says the app was rolled out by the courts in North China’s Hebei province.

Ready Debt Go

The debt-detecting app runs inside WeChat, a popular messaging service in China that supports “mini programs.”

The idea, according to China Daily, is that WeChat users will locate “debtors capable of paying their debts” and “whistle-blow” on them.

Social Credit

The Chinese app fits into the nation’s broader trend toward tracking “social credit.” Social credit is an all-encompassing score that judges citizens’ “behavior and trustworthiness” by examining everything from whether they jaywalk to whether they play music too loudly in public, according to Wired. If a citizen’s social credit score is too low, they can lose privileges, such as the ability to book flights.

“It’s a part of our measures to enforce our rulings and create a socially credible environment,” a spokesman of China’s court system said of the debt-detecting app.

READ MORE: Hebei Court Unveils Program to Expose Deadbeat Debtors [China Daily]

More on social credit: If You Jaywalk in China, Facial Recognition Means You’ll Walk Away With a Fine