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German credit agency plans to use Facebook data

Information will be used for credit ratings


Schufa is Germany’s largest credit agency

German credit agency Schufa is planning to use data from Facebook to form credit ratings according to leaked documents.

As well as pulling information from Facebook pages the agency is looking into using information from other sources including Twitter, Linkedin and Google Street View to assess individual credit ratings.

Read our advice guide to protecting your personal details.

The documents, leaked to German broadcaster NDR, suggest the agency is planning to use ‘crawling techniques’ like those used by search engines to find relevant information with aim of ‘identifying and assessing the prospects and threats’.

Which? Legal view

Mark Batistich, a member of the Which? Legal team, said, ‘Whilst it’s not exactly clear what credit checking companies such as Schufa intend to do with data obtained from Facebook, it is certainly possible, at least in the UK, that using such information without consent could be in breach of the Data Protection Act, and also the Facebook Terms and Conditions, which set quite stringent guidelines on what can be done with information obtained from that site.’

The plans have drawn criticism from the German consumer protection minister Ilse Aigner as well as justice minister, Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, who both said the plans went too far.

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