• 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

Germany’s biggest credit bureau Schufa has been planning to poke around in your Facebook profile to find out if you're creditworthy. Is this just part of its job, or an intolerable violation? Have your say!

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)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

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
Exchange student 'murderer' stays silent
Police search the area near where Gabriele's body was found in October 2013. Photo: DPA

Exchange student 'murderer' stays silent

The alleged murderer of an exchange student in southern Germany stayed silent in the dock on Tuesday on the first day of his trial. READ () »

European Elections 2014
'If Britain goes, Europe is lost'
Hans-Olaf Henkel (r) celebrates the one-year anniversary of the AfD with leader Bernd Lücke. Photo: DPA

'If Britain goes, Europe is lost'

In an interview with The Local, one of the leaders of Germany's eurosceptic party talks about Europe's future, why Britain is a model country and why he will not work with UKIP's Nigel Farage. READ () »

Girls find live munition in Easter bonfire
Nane, with her father and a picture of the cartridge-laden wood. Photo: DPA

Girls find live munition in Easter bonfire

Two 12-year-old German girls found live ammunition lodged into a branch in an Easter bonfire. It was due to be lit the next day, potentially igniting the cartridges and causing disaster. READ () »

Opinion
'Fracking won't save Germany from Putin'
Photo: DPA

'Fracking won't save Germany from Putin'

Germany's reliance on Russian gas continues to limit the nation's diplomatic leverage in the Ukraine crisis. But as leaders once again explore fracking as an alternative, critics told The Local the risks were too high. READ () »

German rapper-turned-jihadist 'killed in Syria'
Deso Dogg. Photo: YouTube screenshot

German rapper-turned-jihadist 'killed in Syria'

UPDATE: A German former rapper who joined jihadists fighting in Syria was reported dead on Tuesday by jihadist sources, but hours later some retracted the claim, saying he was still alive. READ () »

Have Your Say
Who should pay for Germany’s roads?
Photo: DPA

Who should pay for Germany’s roads?

A top politician's suggestion that drivers should be charged €100 a year towards the upkeep of Germany's roads was met with derision on Tuesday. But how should Germany fill the black hole it its infrastructure budget? READ () »

Tax income hits March record
Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble with Chancellor Angela Merkel. Photo: DPA

Tax income hits March record

A record amount of cash flowed into German government coffers in March thanks to land, beer and incomes taxes, a monthly report from the finance ministry revealed on Tuesday. READ () »

Union bosses call for later starts in World Cup
Photo: DPA

Union bosses call for later starts in World Cup

German unions called on Tuesday for shift workers to be granted later starts during the football World Cup in Brazil this summer. Some of the matches begin at midnight due to the time difference. READ () »

Parents' house burnt as son went clubbing
Photo: DPA

Parents' house burnt as son went clubbing

A man who had thrown a party at his parents' empty mansion over Easter in central Germany returned after clubbing to find the entire building on fire. READ () »

Cologne secure return to Bundesliga
Fans rushed on to the pitch on Monday night to celebrate promotion. Photo: DPA

Cologne secure return to Bundesliga

Cologne will be back in the top tier of the Bundesliga next season after wrapping up the second division title on Monday evening. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Society
Crystal meth use hits record level
Photo: DPA
Rhineland
Elderly man taped €200,000 to his genitals
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
What's the unemployment rate in your area of Germany?
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Nine ways to celebrate Easter like a German
Photo: Galerie Bilderwelt
Gallery
World War I in colour photos
Photo: DPA
Society
JobTalk: Why you should teach English in Germany
Photo: DPA
National
330,000 sign up against TV licence fee
Photo: DPA
Hamburg
School kids hospitalized after 'porno' party
Photo: Submitted
Frankfurt
'I'll get even with my old pal Schwarzenegger'
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Ten great inventions you (probably) didn't know were German
Photo: J. Arthur White
Berlin
Clashes in Berlin as refugees tear down their own camp
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Munich's baby polar bears are finally named
Advertisement:
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The 10 best German employers to work for
CurrencyFair
Sponsored Article
Why it pays to avoid banks when making overseas transfers
Mr. Lodge
Sponsored Article
How to find a furnished rental in Munich
Sponsored Article
How to make a lasting impression in business
Hult International Business School
Sponsored Article
What they don't teach you at Business School
Photo: DPA
Society
Nine jobs you can only do in Germany
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
Photo: DPA
Features
The Local List Archive - Your guide to all things German
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

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

3,050
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd