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This Chinese app shows when debtors are nearby

According to a media report, the Chinese province of Hebei developed an app that tells people when they are near debtors.

People in the region can access the app through the messaging platform WeChat, and it is allegedly known as a map of deadbeat debtors. It has a 500-meter radius accuracy and can identify debtors within that range.

Screenshots that appeared online show that the app displays the debtor’s location and full name. However, these are not just any debtors, as further details revealed that people the app identifies are those who default on court mandates to repay loans they received.

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Business Insider report claims that the app does not show how much the debtor owes or to whom. And a China Daily article claimed that the app was developed as a way to back the country’s social credit policy. With it, citizens can also play a part in keeping the debtors on their toes.

However, the app has been called intrusive because of how it betrays private information about a person. Also, while it encourages others to act as whistleblowers, the China Daily report says that it is targeted at those that can pay back but refuse to do so. How ordinary citizens are supposed to tell the difference between debtors by choice and by circumstance is not clear.

The Chinese social credit system judges a person’s trustworthiness using their ability to pay off loans and their behavior in public. Results of running afoul of the system include being publicly shamed (like the app discussed here), blocked on apps, and banned from boarding planes or trains in and out of the country.

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Onwuasoanya Obinna

A reader of books and stringer of words. Passionate about Science and Tech. When not writing or reading he is surfing the web and Tweeting.