More countries are emulating China’s strategy of monitoring the population’s activities on the internet. This time, Japan’s leading social media company Line, launched a series of new products among which Score, an online credit system similar to the one used in China but run by a Japanese private company.
A report published by the Verge describes Line Score as an application that uses AI to give a social credit score to its users. A high credit score will give Line users the possibility of getting better deals and offers that wouldn’t be available to users with a lower rating.
Line has been increasingly interested in branching out in the direction of tech-finance, with its Line Pay service already well established in Japan as a digital wallet and financial portfolio for investments and insurances.
Line Score, the new AI-powered social credit system, will provide deals and offers for its users and will be backed by Line Pocket Money service to determine rates and credit limits based on the ratings provided by Score.
While not as Orwellian as its Chinese government-run counterpart, Line Score has a lot in common with Alibaba’s Sesame credit system, which categorizes Chinese citizens based on a series of factors such as content sharing, video visualization, messages sent, etc.
Line pointed out that the product is optional, that no data will be read from the chats or calls, and that it will ask for user approval when a third party company requires the data.
Allegedly, Line does not have bad intentions and it is not planning to do anything shady with the data. However, the revelations on the new products come in the wake of yesterday’s recommendation that AI-powered scores be banned in the European Union, leaving many people spooked by the idea.
Japanese tech companies might be ethically immaculate, nevertheless, Line’s new products delineate the tech industry’s increasing preponderance on as many aspects of social life as possible, including very delicate matters such as people’s priorities, such as money and credit.