This Chinese app tells you if you’re within 500 metres of someone in debt
Google knows a lot about you: what you look like, how you sound, your favourite place to get coffee. But all that information stays within Google, it isn't handed over to the UK government, who can then use it to decide if you deserve a mortgage or can go on holiday.

In China, things work a little differently. The country is gearing up to launch a social credit system in 2020, giving all citizens an identity number that will be linked to a permanent record.

Like a financial score, everything from paying back loans to behaviour on public transport will be included.

Different cities and states have different versions of this at the moment, that will all come together in one big database, in order to keep track of everything everyone is doing.

One aspect of this social credit system is a new app in the northern province of Hebei. According to the state-run newspaper China Daily, the Hebei-based app will alert people if there are in 500 metres of someone in debt....

...The app name translates to “map of deadbeat debtors”, and can be accessed via WeChat, China’s most popular instant-messaging platform. The idea is that it will allow people to “whistle-blow on debtors capable of paying their debts.”

The Hebei-based app is one part of this tracking system, but this social credit scoring is already having an impact in China. According to China Daily, more than 6,000 people who failed to pay their taxes on time or misbehaved on public transport were barred from taking planes or trains in and out of China between June 2018 and January 2019. ...