LIRNEasia is a regional ICT policy and regulation think tank active across the Asia Pacific

In the end, it’s all about expectations

Privacy is a subjective thing. Some of it is from the inside of the individual; some is social. It’s not immutable. It’s not the same across societies.

Now after Yudhanjaya’s reflection on the Chinese social credit system, we are more interested than ever in what is going on in China. Here is another report, filtered of course through American eyes:

China’s biggest online payment company offers its hundreds of millions of users a breakdown on their spending each year, showing everything from their environmental impact to their ranking among shoppers in their area. Many spenders — not shy, and occasionally even a bit boastful about their personal finances — in turn share the details on social media.

This year, the marketing stunt has run into a problem: China’s growing sense of personal privacy.

Ant Financial, an affiliate of the e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, apologized to users on Thursday after prompting an outcry by automatically enrolling in its social credit program those who wanted to see the breakdown. The program, called Sesame Credit, tracks personal relationships and behavior patterns to help determine lending decisions.

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