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Credit bureau to trawl Facebook for information

The Local · 7 Jun 2012, 16:09

Published: 07 Jun 2012 08:32 GMT+02:00
Updated: 07 Jun 2012 16:09 GMT+02:00

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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.”

Consumer protection and data protection groups are furious. “There is always a reason behind such research projects. If Schufa actually uses such data, it would be a completely new dimension,” said Thilo Weichert, data protection commissioner for Schleswig Holstein state.

“People who are on Facebook do not think that what they say there could one day be influential in their credit status. That crosses a line,” said Edda Castelló, data protection commissioner in Hamburg.

Schufa's consumer advisory council said on Thursday afternoon it had not been informed of the plans - and that it was less than enthusiastic about them.

"We are disconcerted to find that the the contents or aims of this project were not discussed with the advisory council ahead of time," read an email sent by five of the council's 15 members to Schufa's managing director Michael Freytag.

They called for Schufa to urgently lay out exactly what it plans to do.

The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

18:34 June 7, 2012 by rfwilson
Street View is a social network? How do they figure that?
18:39 June 7, 2012 by Leo Strauss
Markus Wolf would have been drooling over Facebook. A Russian friend of mine refers to it as `Deathbook`. Just wait until they start to prosecute people retroactively for things that they have revealed on their Facebook account. That data ain`t never going away. Schufa is the least of your worries, although its actions are disgusting. In Canada police can enter information gleaned from Facebook as evidence against you into a court of law. It is data-mined in real time by the NSA and by (fill in blank with spy agency of your choice) in order to build a portfolio on you. You think that wasn`t the plan from the beginning?

Thanks Mark, for zucking your fellowman.
19:33 June 7, 2012 by catjones
Leo Strauss...it's public information and while you 'can enter' this info in a court of law, that does not result in using it as 'proof'. That's why we have laws. The burden is on the state. I can add Leo Strauss into FB today and start entering all sorts of statements into the Leo Strauss account. Connecting that account to you is another matter.

Blaming Zuckerberg is like blaming Steve Jobs for someone making obscene iphone calls.....Russians call them DeathPhones?
20:01 June 7, 2012 by Leo Strauss
@catjones

Hey cat, how you doin`? You're starting to feel like my little shadow- its kinda flattering. But please, my good man, be careful because...

...you misquoted me in the Moody's thread and now you`ve done it again here. Please do take the time to read. You quote these words in your comment and attribute them to me (you `can enter`) and `proof`. I wrote that `police can enter` the data- not `you`. They do not enter it as `proof` but as `evidence`. And uhm, I agree with you, the state has laws...

In any case, I think that you have missed my point here. Why would a person wish to enter personal details on a platform that is used by police, spy agencies and other entities to compile a dossier on the platform`s members?

Maybe its just a generational thing.

Also, do really think that people like Eric Schmidt of Google and Mark Zuckerberg are not cooperating with the Security State?

Until next time, all the best, cat. :)
20:37 June 7, 2012 by Englishted
I read in the English press last week (between the Queen stories) that some idiot posted on facebook that he had "got away with it " while he was on trial ,it was used and he was found guilty .

Don't really like this idea of credit rating and I don't trust those who do it.

But to the Russians who call it "Deathbook" try to change your country back (if it every was) to a democracy that may help to ease you fears.
21:06 June 7, 2012 by Leo Strauss
@Englishted

In my opinion, the idiots like the one you described on Facebook only serve to make the pill go down easier but they don`t justify the actions of the authorities. These cases are held up by the police state to say, `nothing to fear, you have lost your right to privacy but we are getting criminals off of the street`.

I don`t buy it: `Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither`- Ben Franklin

How would you feel if they were reading your snail mail or wire-tapping your phone. Is this any different?

You don`t trust the Schufa crew? What about those listening to your cell or monitoring your blackberry in England and the rest of Europe (Hi ECHELON)? Why is it that the English just don`t seem to mind the CCTV cameras and the whole surveillance state thing? It makes the Germans hair stand up. Ever read Len Deighton´s SSGB? Oh, the irony...

By the way, I wrote that a Russian friend of mine referred to Facebook as Deathbook- not the Russians.:)
22:14 June 7, 2012 by Englishted
@Leo Strauss,

True ,the CCTV are for stopping crime but they don't they are only used to catch some of the perpetrators after the event.

Personally I only use facebook for contact to my old English friends ,only contact the wife on my mobile and don't have or want a blackberry (unless it is in a pie).

I have read the book many years ago but I am not keen on his style and will not read it again.

What you say about the Germans is correct but I find some of their attitudes strange ,e.g. you can't watch hardly any videos on you tube because of rights that as far as I can see have nothing to do with Germany.

I they tend to scream out on green issues but don't delve deeper in to some of the frankly corrupt practices of the people in charge of German and even more so the E.U. ,don't demand a vote on expansion ,the change to the Euro or any of the major changes that passover them without a word of protest.

However I live here like the people and love the beer.

Say sorry to your Russian friend but tell him to watch his back as you never know who is watching,. :-)
02:47 June 8, 2012 by catjones
Leo Strauss...shedding light.

Pessimists never have a good day and paranoids flatter themselves thinking others really care what they're thinking (or posting).

And yes, me reading your public, voluntary postings is different from me opening your mail or wire-tapping your phone. Got your house blurred?
06:53 June 8, 2012 by Leo Strauss
@Englishted

Agreed regarding Deighton`s style. Don`t care for it either.

As for GEMA, I think that most Germans despise it, even the musicians here. This has been imposed on Germany by the copyright interests and their lawyers.

I also agree that too many Germans are Green Nazis or perhaps more tolerably support a lot of the green agenda without too much reflection. Agenda 21, people?

I`m with you on the EU as well, where is Germany`s Nigel Farage? I am also a Euro skeptic.

As for the Russian, she watches her back. Second nature cuz of the history. Too bad that people in the UK and the USSA don`t have any spider senses because the police state is already there.

Have a good one.

@cat

I`m a realist and a skeptic cat, not a pessimist. And I`m the opposite of paranoid- I think everybody likes me. :)
19:48 June 8, 2012 by raandy
In the ever expanding information highway and the ever increasing demand for information,about consumers, and their personnel life styles likes and dislikes.The abuse by authorities and the private sector of information garnered off the good intentions of the public,only to willing to put it out there.

I say let the user beware. No thanks
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