Grant / January 2020

Uncovering the Risk Networks of Third-Party Data Sharing in China’s Social Credit System

China’s “social credit system” is a personal and behavioral data-driven effort to publicly rate the trustworthiness of individuals, drawing upon data from people’s social networks, online purchases, and video game consumption. Major cybersecurity risks are looming under the surface of social credit: as third-party services partner with Chinese tech firms to provide benefits to consumers related to their credit scores, large amounts of personal data are moving across a largely invisible network of companies. This project proposes an interview-driven case study of third-party data sharing agreements, with a qualitative investigation focused on Sesame Credit, the product that dominates the social credit market and has over 450 million users.