BTJ has been reporting on Social Credit Scoring in China since 2017, but most of the implementation of Social Credit Scoring seemed to weaken with the coronavirus pandemic. Unfortunately, where China left off with its Social Credit Scoring program, it seems that other countries might be picking it up.
The state of Utah in the United States is launching a Digital Driver’s License pilot program to test a driver’s license that would be installed on your personal mobile phone. According to some observers, Utah’s new program would use China’s Social Credit Scoring System.
A photo (below) of a flyer being handed out about the program has been circulating on the Internet.
In a recent Tweet, Utah’s Driver’s License Division (separate government body than the Department of Motor Vehicles), has unofficially refuted the claim in a random response to an online Tweet, calling the flyer fake, but the link they posted was nothing more than the homepage of the government website for Driver’s License general information and gave no definitive information about what additional information is required for the mDL.
The Driver’s License Division of Utah ended their tweet with #research – but gave no resource for research. If the information required for the mDL was the same information required for getting a regular driver’s license, then it could be assumed that the mDL would automatically be approved for anyone who wants it, but it is not. There is a separate process and additional information needed. What additional information is needed is not yet known and that is the concern.
BTJ utilized the online chat application to ask further questions from Utah’s Driver’s License Division, but we were merely pointed to online information and our questions were not answered.
Utah’s push for the mDL, according to the government website, is in line with the ISO goals based in Switzerland. ISO is a international standardization organization that is pushing to comply with the United Nations international identification for what is referred to as “Sustainable Development Goals.”
Utah’s Freedom Coalition is a group that is specifically raising the concern of Social Credit Scoring through Utah’s new mDL.
For many China observers, the Utah mDL seems very similar to China’s Digital ID cards. Although Utah’s Driver’s License Division clearly claims that personal purchases and travel cannot be tracked with the mDL app, it does seem eerily similar to China’s National Digital ID system which is notoriously known to closely monitor not only your location, but your personal purchases, chat history and private messages with family and friends, as well as photos and videos that are stored on your phone.
The cold hard truth is that there are a lot of things that we use our personal phones for. When we put an application on our phone – whether it is private or government – we are ultimately compromising security for possible access to private communications, personal purchases, travel history, and yes, even our social media engagements.