What if your network of friends from Facebook could decide your eligibility for a loan?
Last week a British startup called Score Assured, from the real-estate market, got on the news thanks to the particular service that offers: if a user agrees, the service scans the Facebook account of the user (as well as some other social networks) to show the landlord how probable it is that the potential tenant may pay the rent.
In other words, a twenty-something wants to rent a house. Due to its age, its still limited credit history does not help to value if or for how long can he/she assume the obligation to pay for a rent. However, its vast digital life provides plenty of clues about its standard of living and from its friends. Therefore, the landlord of the house that he or she wants to rent may hesitate about its ability to pay for it. That being the case, the landlord asks the potential tenant for a report of its digital life, so that extra info can be used to make a better decision.
Science fiction? No, a reality. Our digital profiles are constantly growing and little by little the data pool is becoming huge. That data pool can be useful to find out about our cinematographic preferences or the time of the year when our income increases. The thing is that if the first piece of info comes in handy for some companies, the other one too.
In any case, although this service has stirred up some controversy, to properly function it requires the consent from the user. That means that the potential tenant voluntarily agrees to the scanning of its social media accounts. Having said that, what would happen if a social network were 1/7 of mankind is already a member, uses the huge amount of data gathered about us for something similar? Specially, if it does making use of the consent that we already gave when we signed up. Yes, we are talking about Facebook and what the future holds in store for us in relation to the use of our data. Although in fact, in some cases this is already happening .