The institute should explore whether and how information from the internet can help in the assessment of creditworthiness. In view of "some misunderstandings in the public" about the agreed research approach and reactions based on it, such a scientific project cannot be carried out unencumbered and with the necessary calm, explained HPI director christoph meinel on friday.
Although schufa and HPI had emphasized that this was exclusively an open-ended research project, the idea came under massive fire from politicians of all parties and data protectionists on thursday. "Schufa must not become the big brother of business," warned consumer affairs minister ilse aigner (CSU). Justice minister sabine leutheusser-schnarrenberger (FDP) also made it clear that she sees no scope for such ideas. It was already clear at this point that schufa would not be able to implement the findings of the three-year project.
The company’s consumer council also asked the board of management to schedule a joint meeting as soon as possible. Advisory board member uli rohm told the dpa news agency on friday that he couldn’t understand how "in the current discussion about social networks, people are starting to do such blue-eyed research.".
According to a report by NDR info, the list of ideas for the project included the proposal to research the connection between the circle of friends of facebook members and their creditworthiness. In addition, the analysis of text data is conceivable in order to "determine a current opinion of a person".
In blogs, on facebook as well as in the short message service twitter the debate unleashed a flood of ironic comments. Recommendations were circulating about which status reports could be used to raise one’s credit rating or which should be avoided at all costs. Some people have already started to take action, as one twitter user did with the comment: "crap, the ferrari’s got a flat tire. Now we have to go to sylt again with the Q7."