Chinese app offers map of "deadbeat debtors" near you

Is there an app for that too? :joy:


Not quite the correct meaning of guanxi there, but otherwise you’re basically right. Anyone who is not in your immediate in-group is fair game to do whatever you want to them and there is no concept of public behavior or decency. This is easiest to see in action if you see pictures or video of Chinese intersections, but if you live in China for any period of time (I was there several years) you see how it is part of every interaction.

Incidentally, this is part of why a lot of mainlanders are actually all on board with the idea of the social credit system. Nobody can imagine a society where it’s expected to just treat everyone you meet with some base level of decency, so substitute in general oppression and state enforcement instead.


It’s called iNformant. You no longer have to be interrogated by the secret police in person to turn in your associates.

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Again, see here for nuance:

It’s also a bit ironic to see this critique coming from the land that has mugshot websites and sex offender registries packed with public urinators and teenage sexters.


This will come in handy when the annual purge comes!

There was a report about the social credit system in China from your friendly German hackers in their last congress. It is probably more accurate info than anything else you can read in the West:

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This is a considerable exaggeration.


What’s the motivation for engaging in anonymous malicious gossip about your neighbours?

Who knows but people have been doing it probably for as long as there have been people.

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How does this system determine “who is late on debt payments but capable of paying”?

That last part seems like a difficult qualification to verify, no? Obviously they can point to the guy who owes his dog washer 4000 than, but who has had 50,000 Yuan in his bank account for 3 years…

But wouldnt this cohort be made up almost entirely of edge cases?

So do they try to restrict this app to deadbeats who COULD pay, like the article says, or is it the far simpler set of people who have been reported for not paying?

That’s how it’s supposed to work.
In other news, Wells Fargo is still trading.


You have a point.

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I think the idea is that if you see your neighbor on the list for not paying his debts, but also see him spending money lavishly, you can then rat him out.

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Worst Grindr update ever.


I had visions of Xi scrolling through a database on his phone and adding people to the purge list.

But would it be a swipe left, or a swipe right? :thinking:


I heard the reason all those phones exploded was they tried to make the app show corruption

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An educated guess would be “late on debt payments but still buying imported luxury goods”.

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That’s still a brutally difficult determination to make in an algorithmic way, since basically all of these cases are edge cases.

If they try to make those determinations at all then I’d wager that the anecdotes of incorrectness (which in a population that size would be nearly uncountable even if the percent were low) would destroy the tools effectiveness.

I feel like the claim that they are aiming to make a map of “deadbeat debtors who could pay” requires significant evidence. Obviously they are least trying to make a map of “people who have been late on their debts” or perhaps “people who have been reported to be late on their debts, and the reporter swears the debtor could pay”

I just don’t like seeing boing boing reporting this credulously

Yes. If you watch the video I cited earlier, you will find out that the Chinese government recognizes that problem and is finely tuning their models. They have several competing projects in various cities. The beauty of being in China is that you can try your system on 1 million people, no big deal.

Yes they can ab test this problem into submission. However their goals seem primarily to increase the social stigma about skipping out on debts, rather than the stated goal of alerting to people who skipped out on their debts without any excuse.

Their stated goal, alerting people to debtors WHO COULD PAY, is nonsensical in the absence of extraordinary evidence. I’m sorry, the Chinese government saying a thing is not extraordinary evidence.

In the absence of that evidence, it is far simpler to assume that they are making the claim about their targets as propaganda, not truth. I would have hoped that the happy mutants here would be immediately suspicious for those reasons, rather than accept that government at their word, and I’m disappointed.

Because for all you want to say that the technocrats of the Chinese government are testing to make it work right, they have a value they are trying to change “the number of debtors with late payments”. Any attempt to restrict that value magically to those with no acceptable reason to be late must, definitionally, say that anybody who gets their debt current was able to pay.

The idea that a person is going to borrow money from organized criminals to pay their credit card bill hardly seems virtuous, but it surely is a logical effect of extreme pressure.

My serious problem here is that we, in the comfort and safety of the west, are going to argue over this as if the qualification on the targets is their government being honest. That’s insane, both on technical and social grounds.