Recently, Gavin Newsom, the greasy-haired governor who may or may not run for president, made a trip to Beijing to meet with Xi Jinping. It went swimmingly, according to various reports.
When it comes to US-China relations, “divorce is not an option,” Newsom, who divorced from Kimberly Guilfoyle in 2005, told CNN on November 8. America’s answer to Justin Trudeau argued that the US and China must “reconcile our strategic red lines.” The idea of being cozy with China, a country that actively uses cyber espionage to undermine the US economy, may strike many as odd, even dangerous — but not Governor Newsom. In fact, according to reports, he is so inspired by his trip to China, that he now wants to bring a CCP-like “social credit system” to the Golden State.
The fifty-six-year-old recently announced the creation of California’s new “Cradle-to-Career” (C2C) system. According to this official statement, the system will integrate “over 1 billion data points — providing unprecedented insight and transparency,” ostensibly “to improve career outcomes for millions of Californians.” C2C’s integration of data, notes the statement, “will provide the public, researchers and lawmakers unprecedented insight that could improve education and quality of life for millions of Californians.”
But it could also make citizens’ lives many times worse. After all, these data points, like oil from the ground, must be extracted.
Which brings us back to China’s “social credit system.” By integrating a multitude of data points, the CCP monitors, manipulates and modifies the behaviors of its 1.4 billion citizens. As someone who previously lived and worked in China, I am intimately familiar with its credit system. In short: individuals and businesses are all given a score. If they fall below this arbitrary number, all sorts of bad things occur. For example, a person with a poor credit score may find himself unable to enter certain venues, purchase airline tickets or enroll his children in specific schools. The system provides a unified record of all citizens and businesses; it can be monitored and updated in real-time. In other words, you could have a healthy credit score in the morning and find yourself unable to apply for a loan in the afternoon.
According to the aforementioned C2C statement, by “leveraging billions of data points, California’s Cradle-to-Career data system will be a game-changer for improving the quality of life for millions of Californians and highlighting ways to improve opportunity in the classroom and access to the workforce.”
The Golden State, we’re assured, “is leading the nation in equitably connecting our education system to the workforce to ensure every Californian has the freedom to succeed.”
On closer inspection, however, the system will give lawmakers access to intimate information broken down by race, geography and, of course, gender, to, as the statement suggests (or warns) “illuminate and address areas of strength and needed growth and any inequities.” C2C’s partners include the California Department of Education, the Department of Health Care Services, the Department of Social Services and University of California’s Office of the President.
Like something straight out of China, where five-year plans are all the rage, Newsom’s C2C is a comprehensive five-year plan designed to vacuum up as much data as possible, from the cradle to the grave. This will include data on early learning and care, public and/or private schools attended, universities attended, workforce participation and social services sought. All Californians, from the time they exit the womb, will be monitored closely. They will be mined, mercilessly and methodically, for data. The more data decision-makers have on citizens, the more they can control them.
Newsom’s C2C system must be viewed through a broader lens. The vast majority of Americans, not just those living in California, are having their data harvested and their privacy violated. Last year, for example, a sobering investigation by the Georgetown Law Center on Privacy and Technology clearly demonstrated the many ways in which the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, employs highly sophisticated surveillance systems to spy on tens of millions of Americans. As the report noted, even those who live in states with strict privacy-protecting laws were being targeted. Like China, the US now has about one surveillance camera system for every four citizens. It has become very common in recent years for leading US politicians to denounce China’s authoritarian ways. No doubt, some of these politicians are sincere. But, as is clear to see, many important lawmakers in the US admire the CCP’s inhumane methods of surveillance. California’s new C2C system may very well be the future of America.