New era of credit scores trouble privacy advocates

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Some of the major credit bureaus are finding new ways to slice and dice your information that will be a thorn in the side of privacy advocates.

The Wall Street Journal  reports that Fair Issac, Equifax and Experian are expanding their businesses by compiling new credit scores on people that they believe can predict behavior and disposable income, among other things.

Fair Isaac has a Medication Adherence Score to figure out the likelihood you’ll take a prescription as directed by a doctor. Among the factors they examine to arrive at the score are sex, whether or not you own your home and if you own a vehicle.

Because credit reports don’t list your income, Experian has a score Income Insight they sell to businesses that are prospecting for customers. It offers their best approximation of your personal income.

Equifax has the Ability To Pay Index and Discretionary Spending Index. The latter supposedly can determine which consumers have money they’re just sitting on. Marketers would love to know that so they can nudge you to buy whatever it is they’re selling!

The idea of all this has a real creep-out factor, though I know that business owners may be intrigued because it’s so hard to get true qualified leads. This next generation data crunching being pioneered today could make it easier.

So again, it’s great from a business standpoint. But from a personal standpoint, it’s very upsetting to think about this trend of slicing and dicing more and more data and being able — with what’s supposed to be near certainty — to predict how they think you’ll behave.

Wow, and to think we were worried about Big Brother being government!



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