‘Black Mirror’ in China? 1.4 Billion Citizens To Be Monitored Through Social Credit System


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Chinese investigative journalist Liu Hu found out he was blacklisted when he tried to buy a flight to Guangzhou last year. After several airlines rejected his booking, Liu discovered that China’s government was keeping a list of “untrustworthy” people who were banned from flying—and that he was on it.

Liu had fallen afoul of Beijing in 2016 after he made a series of claims on social media accusing officials of corruption. He was forced to pay a fine and apologize, and when he did so he thought the case was closed. However, it wasn’t: Not only has Liu been barred from flying, but his new status as a “dishonest person” comes alongside a slew of other restrictions.

“My life [is] very inconvenient,” he told Newsweek. “I’m also not allowed to purchase property, I can’t send my daughter to a good school or travel on high-speed trains.”

Charlie Brooker: ‘The more horrible an idea, the funnier I find it’

Blackest ever black: Bryce Dallas Howard in episode one, Nosedive.

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Few shows have wormed their way into the nation’s collective nightmares like Black Mirror, the new series of which premieres on Netflix from next Friday. Over two Channel 4 series and a feature-length Christmas special, Black Mirror has depicted unpleasant scenarios from the not-too distant future, in a way that has at times felt almost eerily prophetic.

…The new Netflix series duly opens with Nosedive, a “horrible comedy” set in a world where everyone is scored out of five. Like the best near-future satire, it resonates with our own present-day social media experience. So what can we learn from it and the rest of the series, in order to make sure Black Mirror doesn’t become a reality? We asked Charlie Brooker to stand in judgment on present-day tech issues: from hacking to Pokémon GO, and tell us where we need to watch our step…