Is it really necessary? Credit Bureaus intend to follow you on Facebook

thelocal.de reports that Germany’s biggest credit bureau Schufa plans to tap social networks such as Facebook and Google Street View in a huge data trawl for personal information to use in deciding whether a person is credit-worthy.

I recently started to look Euro-wide on credit bureaus practices regarding privacy and data protection, and what I have found is that credit bureaus – which are most often private entities, place themselves in this we-don’t-care-about-your-privacy-rights bubble and nobody complains about it! I discovered that there is no common EU policy for credit bureaus, hence they function under self-determined rules which lead to such different practices. For instance, some credit bureaus retain your personal data for 6 months and other retain it for 10 years. Plus, you never know which kind of data they gather!

Hence, this piece of news is quite interesting.

“A joint investigation by radio station NDR Info and Die Welt newspaper unearthed internal papers about the establishment of a “Schufa Lab” research group to work out how to link information found on the Internet with other details about personal credit rating.

Schufa is a privately-held credit bureau – by far the biggest in the country. It confirmed cooperation with the Hasso-Plattner Institute for software systems technology (HPI) in Potsdam on the project.

Ideas which will be discussed and examined include using profiles on services such as Facebook, Xing and Twitter in order to get addresses, Die Welt reported on Thursday. Property rental and sale sites such as immoscout24 or mobile.de could also be used, the paper said.

The statistical linking of particular personal characteristics to ability or willingness to pay off loans could also be part of the research, while detailed information will be gathered in the huge data trawl.

Both the HPI and Schufa stressed that the research would be conducted according to the highest ethical standards, and that everything would be published after a three-year work period.

The more concrete plans of Schufa were contained in a second paper, Die Welt said. This included the idea that, “Information generated from the web would be linked by Schufa with other information and analysed from a business perspective.””

You can read the whole story HERE.

 

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