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Beyond Black Mirror: Understanding Social Scoring in Europe


Social scoring – the attempt of social ordering through combining data from various sources to make a value judgment about an individual – follows a long history of inventing new tools and methods to assess trustworthiness to facilitate socioeconomic transactions. Early attempts of scoring fueled the industrialization of Europe and the United States, mixing past transactions, opinions, and a judgment of the character of the individual.

Now, private sector driven mass-surveillance, data-sharing attempts between the public sector stakeholders, standardized rating systems, and alternative data sources have taken these earlier practices to a more substantial level to facilitate social scoring practices possible today. 

Social scoring practices are present in Europe, too.

Deployed in contexts as vital as healthcare, law enforcement, or social services provision, social scoring can lead to disparate impacts including racial and sexual discrimination, speech suppression, and invigilation. Contrary to popular belief, social scoring practices are neither only a science fiction licentia poetica (a la Black Mirror) nor only a predicament of China. Instead, such practices are present in Europe, too, albeit often invisible.

Through producing a limited series podcast and launching a public dialogue exchange, this project attempts to shed light on European social scoring practices. Particularly, this project will focus on Poland – a country with techno-optimistic government and an underdeveloped advocacy sector.


Updated November 2022