Report: The Scoring of America
The Scoring of America: How Secret Consumer Scores Threaten Your Privacy and Your Future
This new report from Pam Dixon and Bob Gellman explores the issue of predictive scores that use information about your past to predict your future. How accurate are these predictions? What impact can they have on your life? What scores are predicting you?
To score is human. Ranking individuals by grades and other performance numbers is as old as human society. Consumer scores — numbers given to individuals to describe or predict their characteristics, habits, or predilections — are a modern day numeric shorthand that ranks, separates, sifts, and otherwise categorizes individuals and also predicts their potential future actions. This new report by Pam Dixon and Robert Gellman explores this issue of predictive scores and privacy.
This op ed was originally published Wednesday, March 19 2014 in IAPP for the FTC Alternate Scoring Conference.
In our modern sea of data, the resources to examine all relevant information regarding a decision is no longer feasible, so we use shortcuts. Consumer scores built using predictive analytics and fed by large datasets are the modern-day shortcuts to understanding individual consumer behavior. That’s why new and unregulated consumer scores abound. They are used widely in today’s world to predict consumers’ behavior, spending, health, fraud, profitability, and much more. These scores rely on petabytes of information coming from newly available data streams, and some old ones.