Italy will be the first European nation to roll out the use of a dystopian social credit system they plan to use to conserve resources while rewarding “good behavior”.
Bologna, Italy announced that they will start a program that rewards “virtuous” citizens for The city of Bologna, Italy, has announced a pilot program to reward “virtuous” citizens for recycling, taking public transportation, and curbing energy usage.
“Smart Citizen Wallet”, a new app that was presented on March 29, has a lot of similarities to Chian’s own social credit system. It’s expected that the use of the Smart Citizen Wallet will go into effect in September 2022.
“In September, we will start with a pilot project for the city: at the center is the virtuous citizen, the one who, for example, separates waste well or does not waste energy, or uses public transport and does not receive fines, or actively uses the Bologna Welcome Card,” announced Massimo Bugani, councilor for the city’s digital agenda and civic use of data, at a press conference late last month.
“The municipality will assign such citizens a score as part of a reward system with economic benefits to individual users,” Bugani explained.
Those who live in the city will have access to their rating, giving them the ability to improve their chances of earning points which they can redeem on prizes such as rebates and cultural activities as a reward for their “virtuous behavior.”
The use of this social credit system will be voluntary…for now.
“What we call a new ‘water system’ for the city is being built,” Bugani said. “In the coming years’ many services will go digital in Italy; we have an ambitious project here that is built on solid foundations. Obviously, no one will be forced to participate. Those who want to will be able to give consent when downloading and using the app.”
However, he expects that “many people will want to participate.”
“We want to make them understand that they are not ‘losers,’ but that their behavior is rewarded,” Bugnani explained.
Italian tech firm Privacy Network specializes in digital privacy and has already warned of the legal, ethical, and societal implications of apps like Smart Citizen Wallet.
“These practices, if poorly developed or used, can lead to serious limitations on, and violations of, citizens’ rights and freedoms, as well as discriminatory practices, which are also achieved through technological means, such as ‘social credit’ systems (or social scoring),” reads a Privacy Network online statement.
If you don’t sign up for the social credit app that Bologna is introducing, what will happen to those who want to use resources?
Two weeks after Italians were told they’d have a choice between “air conditioning or peace”, the government appears to have made the choice for them, introducing rationing of AC and heat in a bid to reduce the nation’s dependence on imported Russian energy.
Will those who are defiant and not good citizens be cut off from the ability to use AC as the sweltering temperatures of summer creep up? What about a drought? Will they be left without water? Perhaps when winter comes around again and temperatures drop below freezing? Will they be doomed to freeze to death?
As of May 21, public buildings will be limited in their use of heating and cooling, with caps set on maximum and minimum temperatures and stiff fines for failing to respect them.