China has blocked millions of travelers from purchasing train or plane tickets as part of the Communist country’s controversial “social credit” system, which has drawn the ire of privacy advocates who fear the surveillance-based system could lead to dystopian outcomes.
The Guardian reports that Chinese courts banned travelers from buying flights 17.5 million times by the end of last year, and that citizens put on blacklists for so-called social credit offenses were prevented from purchasing train tickets 5.5 million times. The report said: “Once discredited, limited everywhere.”
The social credit system, which is still being built and now exists more as a patchwork of local and regional systems, purports to incentivize trustworthy behavior through various penalties when Chinese citizens commit a range of offenses, including not paying taxes, jaywalking, smoking on a train, walking their dogs without a leash or taking drugs.
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