Big Brother Gets Bigger: How Credit Agencies Are Getting Nosier

Posted by on December 14, 2011 in Business Financing, Business News [ 0 Comments ]

You already know that credit agencies collect detailed data on your financial life.  That’s how they figure out whether or not to lend you money.  It’s how they know if they can trust you and how much they can trust you.

But recent technologies, energetically used by consumer credit score agency Core Logic, have made it possible to expand the basis for that trust by assuming you trust them back.  Usually without their knowledge, the new system collects data on a person’s missed rent payments, evictions, child support judgments, and even applications for payday loans.  Then they use that information to provide financial institutions with what they deem to be a more accurate credit rating.

As the first indication of a likely-to-be broad social phenomenon, the new technology is almost certainly poised to cross over into the business world – probably sooner than later.

Big Brother’s on a Growth Spurt

Privacy laws are still in their infancy in the United States, and the legislation protecting sensitive personal and business data is likely to be outstripped by the aggressively pursued technologies.  There are obstacles at every turn, and they make take years or decades to be properly worked out.

What qualifies as sensitive data, anyway?  How far can lenders go to assure the security of their investment?  Do businesses have the right to keep any of their investments or other financial information truly private?  As a society, we’re probably not going to have all the answers anytime soon.

But You’ve Got to Live With Him

As a business owner or someone starting a small business, you have to deal with reality as it stands now, and it’s a reality that’s taking a wild leap into the data cloud.  And if you’re going to be along for the ride, you may as well go head-first.

1. Stash What You Can

There’s information vital to your business that you can still keep to yourself if you’re careful about how you share it.  Devise internal procedures so as to keep what you can off-line.  Remember, even friendly sites can share their data, so don’t be deceived by informality.  Your comic books are your comic books.

2. Know That He’s Reading Your Diary

It’s important to realize that no matter what security features you put in place, it’s   impossible to operate invisibly in the 21st century business world.  Your company’s information is shared and exchanged freely in order to maintain a transparent and profitable business.  That’s how it should be, so don’t try to squash it – just try to do it intelligently.  You can say you have a crush on Katie, but it’s better to say you have a crush on K.

3. Keep Your Hands Up

Be aware of the ways you can protect yourself from overt surveillance.  You should even consider pursuing legal action if you deem it necessary.  There are likely to be some class action lawsuits in the near future you’ll be able to sign onto, so keep your eyes open.  Let him know he has to be ready to fight.

If You’re Nice, He’ll Let You Use His Stuff

With that said, you probably won’t be coming up against the credit powers anytime soon.  A good credit rating for your business has real and decisive cash value, so make sure you do everything you can to keep the people watching happy.

Remember: deep down, they really love you.  They’re just going through a know-it-all phase right now.

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