From our friends at the International Monetary Fund comes this innovation.
“Credit scoring using so-called hard information (income, employment time, assets and debts) is nothing new. Typically, the more data is available, the more accurate is the assessment. But this method has two problems. First, hard information tends to be “procyclical”: it boosts credit expansion in good times but exacerbates contraction during downturns.
The second and most complex problem is that certain kinds of people, like new entrepreneurs, innovators and many informal workers might not have enough hard data available…
Fintech resolves the dilemma by tapping various nonfinancial data: the type of browser and hardware used to access the internet, the history of online searches and purchases. Recent research documents that, once powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning, these alternative data sources are often superior than [sic] traditional credit assessment methods, and can advance financial inclusion, by, for example, enabling more credit to informal workers and households and firms in rural areas.”
“[C]an advance financial inclusion…” By definition, then, it can advance credit exclusion.
Websites, Twitter accounts, YouTube videos, hosting platforms, and credit card processing are all already being cancelled, shadowbanned, disappeared and denied for political reasons. Now they propose to use your computer model, search history, and the sites you visit to determine your credit score.
If you visit the Southern Poverty Law Center too often, or QAnon more frequently than you “should” according to some algorithm; if you search for “All Lives Matter” or “Green Nude Eel;” if you use a Chromebook or an obscure brand tablet – then your credit score may suffer. That could turn out to be the least of your problems.
I can’t count the number of times people have told me they aren’t worried about such corporate espionage when I point out what Facebook really is, or tell them why to use Duck-Duck-Go instead of Google search. “I’m not doing anything wrong and have nothing to hide.” The problem, I explain, is that they aren’t the ones who decide that.
“The old cliché is often mocked though basically true: there’s no reason to worry about surveillance if you have nothing to hide. That mindset creates the incentive to be as compliant and inconspicuous as possible: those who think that way decide it’s in their best interests to provide authorities with as little reason as possible to care about them. That’s accomplished by never stepping out of line. Those willing to live their lives that way will be indifferent to the loss of privacy because they feel that they lose nothing from it. Above all else, that’s what a Surveillance State does: it breeds fear of doing anything out of the ordinary by creating a class of meek citizens who know they are being constantly watched.”
~ Glenn Greenwald