A new white paper by the IMF calls for linking your search history to your financial credit score, which would in effect lower your score if you visit websites marked harmful by their fact-checkers.
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In a new blog post for the International Monetary Fund, four researchers presented their findings from a working paper (read below) that examines the current relationship between finance and tech as well as its potential future.
The researchers propose using the data from your browsing, search, and purchase history to create a mechanism for determining the credit rating of an individual or business.
The plan is outlined in a blog written by Arnoud Boot, Peter Hoffmann, Luc Laeven and Lev Ratnovski, pitching the Orwellian notion as a breakthrough in financial technology (Fintech).
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 traditional credit assessment methods, and can advance financial inclusion.
Overall, while much of the technological progress in finance is evolutionary, its pace is accelerating fast. Fintech’s potential to reach out to over a billion unbanked people around the world, and the changes in the financial system structure that this can induce, can be revolutionary.
Governments should follow and carefully support the technological transition in finance. It is important to adjust policies accordingly and stay ahead of the curve.
Gizmodo commented on the proposal and its mortifying consequences if it were actually implemented on a grand scale.
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The researchers acknowledge that there will be privacy and policy concerns related to incorporating this kind of soft-data into credit analysis. And they do little to explain how this might work in practice. The paper isn’t long, and it’s worth a read just to wrap your mind around some of the notions of fintech’s future and why everyone seems to want in on the payments game.
As it is, getting the really fine soft-data points would probably require companies like Facebook and Apple to loosen up their standards on linking unencrypted information with individual accounts. How they might share information with other institutions would be its own can of worms.
However, the policy seems to be designed to bring an end to alternate news media with grave consequences for those engaged with the organisation.