• Germany edition
 
Have Your Say
Should Schufa trawl your Facebook page?
Photo: DPA

Should Schufa trawl your Facebook page?

Published: 08 Jun 2012 12:43 GMT+02:00
Updated: 08 Jun 2012 15:41 GMT+02:00

This week a joint investigation by radio station NDR Info and Die Welt newspaper discovered internal Schufa papers about tasking a research group with working out how to link information found on the internet with other details about personal credit rating.

Although the research institute – the private Hasso-Plattner Institute in Potsdam – said on Friday it was pulling out of the project because it had been “misunderstood” – the question remains of what information could reasonably be used by Schufa in making a credit rating.

The idea was to use profiles on services such as Facebook, Xing and Twitter in order to get addresses, as well as gleaning information from property rental and sale sites such as immoscout24 or mobile.de.

This kind of talk always touches a nerve in Germany, where people are notoriously sensitive to data protection rules - as can be seen in the trail of legal wrangles with sites like Facebook and Google Street View. Germany successfully fought a battle to allow people to have their hones pixellated out on the latter.

The country's consumer protection and data protection groups are furious about the new intervention. “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 the state of Schleswig-Holstein.

But what do you think? Are the Germans just being paranoid, or do the credit bureaux have the right to use whatever means necessary to provide accurate credit ratings, even of private individuals? How would you feel if you knew that Schufa was scanning your Facebook profile?

Let us know!

Registered users of The Local may add their comments in the field below. If you haven’t signed up yet, you can do so here – it’s free and only takes a moment.

The Local/bk

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

13:32 June 8, 2012 by Karl_Berlin
In no way an intolerable violation. If people are dumb enough to willingly provide this information for all and sundry to see, then SCHUFE would be stupid not to use this information.

Imagine this scenario though. You are in no way a credit risk, but lots of your "friends" on facebook have a horrible credit rating. Would they automatically write down your credit-worthiness as some of your mates are notorious credit card junkies? I reckon that's the dangerous part.
13:54 June 8, 2012 by yourkeau
I'm absolutely comfortable with having my Facebook profile scanned as I don't have one.
14:05 June 8, 2012 by Bigfoot76
@yourkeau....I just made one for you. I will get you the log in later. :D
15:28 June 8, 2012 by finanzdoktor
@Karl_Berlin: You have a point. Would my credit rating go down, just because my friends on Facebook are a credit risk? Just like my property value suffers, if a neighbor or two doesn't take care of their property?

But, I think the more pressing questions (not exhaustive) are: 1) How is the profile information relevant to making a viable credit risk assessment?; 2) What factors in the profile will be used and how will they be weighted?; 3) What if I don't have some information in my profile, will the credit rating agency want me to post it, or else?; and 4) What if I don't have a Facebook account (e.g., yourkeau), will I be told to get one, and post a profile and accept friends so they can assess whether or not my associates are credit worthy or not?
15:40 June 8, 2012 by bwjijsdtd
1933 all over again ... What did the credit agencies do before computers, internet and the paving of the Internet Highway ...
15:59 June 8, 2012 by Bigfoot76
I am sure they would be required to be hypocritical as well. I am sure that many of the people who assess the credit of individuals would probably have similar traits to those they are scrutinizing. The off colored friend who posts not so PC comments, a photo or two of what happened when the guys or gals went out on the town, political statements supporting or criticizing one party or another. The list goes on but honestly, who does not have something on their profile that can not be viewed as controversial? Not even the Pope.
16:09 June 8, 2012 by aruntutu
I would be rather pissed if Schufa were to go anywhere close to my FB profile, never mind why they want to do it. It is not their concern so I would much rather they stay out of my personal life. Scoundrels i tell you!
19:56 June 8, 2012 by iche
I still don't see why anyone would want to have an account with Facebookistan.

And for those dumb enough to put there life, for all to see and read, forever, I have no pity for the consequences they suffer.
20:34 June 8, 2012 by raandy
I will make the same comment i made on this before.

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
13:00 June 9, 2012 by The-ex-pat
Apparently due to the public and political backlash, this has now been abandoned........If the Bild is to be believed......................lol
13:34 June 9, 2012 by AlexR
Facebook? This is so last century.
13:22 June 11, 2012 by bobmarchiano
Abandoned ......... how would one know if anyone from the government to SCHUFA

has looked at your face book account
14:26 June 11, 2012 by Wobinidan
I'm not sure how they can find out my credit-worthiness through my sarcastic comments. Unless you write a comment like "just took out 5 loans that I can't afford LOL" I don't think this is a very cost-effective idea.
13:47 June 13, 2012 by Alfa166
US employers used to look around FB profiles before hiring. A federal law now make it forbidden.
19:27 June 15, 2012 by Mark S.
Who would post "I can't afford my loans?" Lots of people. In the US, there have been several convictions of criminals who admitted their crime on facebook. Admitting that you have money problems is less obviously stupid, but could still cause you problems.

But if you don't use facebook, you are safe, right? No. Credit agencies are well known for making mistakes with their data. Suppose somebody with a similar name to yours posts on facebook that they have money problems. That could affect your credit rating even if you have never heard of facebook.
22:40 June 24, 2012 by The-ex-pat
A story from the 8th of June back on the front page........Slow news day then??
15:48 July 19, 2012 by Floriansamsel
Dear SCHUFA - did you ever consider YouTube accounts, too? Might be as reliable a source of information as Facebook...

Is it April Fool's Day again?

On the other hand: if I had a Facebook account, this would really make me think it over....
Today's headlines
Foreigner toll to hit motorways only
Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt. Photo: DPA

Foreigner toll to hit motorways only

Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt plans to limit his road toll for foreigners initially to motorways only, Spiegel reported on Sunday. READ  

Criminals blow Berlin Sparkasse wide open
The damaged bank branch. Photo: DPA

Criminals blow Berlin Sparkasse wide open

Criminals robbed a Berliner Sparkasse bank branch early on Sunday morning - using a bomb. READ  

French retread path to Berlin finance ministry
French Economy and Finance Ministers Emmanuel Macron (l) and Michel Sapin. Photo: DPA

French retread path to Berlin finance ministry

French and German ministers are due to meet on Monday to discuss ways of boosting growth in Europe's two biggest economies, as Paris called on Berlin to step up investment. READ  

Lufthansa pilots to strike for 35 hours
Grounded. Photo: DPA

Lufthansa pilots to strike for 35 hours

Pilots' union Cockpit has called a new 35-hour walkout at Lufthansa starting Monday, hours after a weekend-long rail strike finished. READ  

German dies after trying to take ravine photos
Photo: File photo/Shutterstock

German dies after trying to take ravine photos

A German student has died after falling into a steep ravine at a waterfall on a popular Malaysian resort island, police said on Sunday. READ  

Academic makes Twitter splash saying 'Nein'
File photo. DPA

Academic makes Twitter splash saying 'Nein'

Former Ivy League professor of German Eric Jarosinski has become a Twitter phenomenon developing a huge social media following thanks in no small part to saying no in German. READ  

Klopp slams Dortmund as slump continues
Jurgen Klopp looks downcast as Borussia Dortmund suffer another defeat. Photo: DPA

Klopp slams Dortmund as slump continues

Jurgen Klopp slammed his Borussia Dortmund side after Saturday's 2-1 defeat at Cologne made it five Bundesliga games without a win ahead of Wednesday's Champions League clash at Galatasaray. READ  

Michael Müller will be Berlin's next mayor
Michael Müller. Photo: DPA

Michael Müller will be Berlin's next mayor

Berlin’s development senator, who led the controversial project to develop Tempelhof Airport, will be the capital’s next mayor. Michael Müller won almost 60 percent of the vote among members of the ruling Social Democratic Party (SPD) on Saturday. READ  

Train Strike
Rail strike cripples Germany's train lines
Passengers wait for buses outside Erfurt station on Saturday morning. Photo: DPA

Rail strike cripples Germany's train lines

Rail travellers on Saturday faced huge delays and disruptions on one of autumn's busiest travel weekends as the train drivers' union began a 50-hour strike. READ  

Freed hostages back at German embassy
Stefan Viktor Okonek and Henrike Dielen are welcomed by German Embassy officials upon their arrival at Villamor Airbase in Pasay city, south of Manila, the Philippines. Photo: DPA

Freed hostages back at German embassy

Two Germans kidnapped by Islamic militants in the Philippines are safely back at their Manila embassy, officials said on Saturday after a harrowing six-month ordeal in which they endured threats of beheading and seemingly routine cruelty. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Travel
This is the man who has stopped Germany's trains
Photo: Shutterstock
Business & Money
Expats: Should I stay or should I go?
Photo: DPA
Gallery
PHOTOS: World's biggest erotic fair opens in Berlin
Photo: Screenshot
National
German jihadist threatens 'filthy' Merkel
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock
Gallery
11 things Germans are afraid of...
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
Time to loosen the purse strings?
Photo: Shutterstock
Business & Money
Which expat foods do you miss the most?
Sponsored Article
International School on the Rhine: a legacy
Photo: Shutterstock
Business & Money
How to get hired at a Berlin startup
Photo: DPA
Berlin
Ebola 'prankster' shuts down Berlin bar
Photo: DPA
Features
215 countries, 26 years and one engine
Photo: DPA
Society
Leipzig 25 years ago: 'We were scared of being shot'
Photo: DPA
Gallery
What do other countries warn about Germany?
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The ten richest people in Germany
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Sponsored Article
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation at Phorms
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,422
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd