New Social Credit System Launched In Italy

( Starting in the fall of 2022, the city of Bologna, Italy plans to launch a pilot program that would reward citizens for good behavior, like using public transportation or properly recycling.

Bologna will be launching a “Smart Citizen Wallet” to reward good citizens with digital coins and provide people with high good citizen scores discounts at local shops. In this instance, “good citizens” means those who do their part to save resources and battle “climate change.”

In an interview with Bologna Today, Massimo Bugani, the councilor for Bologna’s digital agenda, said participation is voluntary and nobody in Bologna will be forced to use this “Smart Citizen Wallet.” But Bugani believes that plenty of Bologna’s citizens will sign up.

Naturally, this silly program is being portrayed as a Chinese-style “social credit system.” But since the “Smart Citizen Wallet” is voluntary, it isn’t exactly the same.

Is it silly? Yes. But it isn’t a mandatory program that punishes citizens for wrong behavior or wrong think. Instead, it is a system to bribe people into living their lives like it’s the pre-industrial age.

But some still believe that Bologna’s pilot program may be a gateway to more overt types of social control.

The same concerns have cropped up over other European Union efforts as well. For example, both Germany and Austria are pursuing plans to digitize IDs, mail, and passports. Meanwhile, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has also indicated her support for a digital “EU ID” that would integrate national IDs via the internet.

Last year, von der Leyen floated the idea of a “secure European e-identity” that any European citizen can use for anything from “paying taxpayers to renting bicycles.”

Both privacy advocates and the highly paranoid worry that these digitized IDs and other government-run digital apps could pose serious privacy risks.