Tag Archives: Experian

The systemic variable we forgot

We all have moments that are etched in our souls. It can be for the weirdest reason; it might not even make sense to the person when it happens. It sticks with them and what they had not realised at that time what or why, it takes time for the person to realise what the brain worked out instantly in the sub conscience. For me that moment was Stanley Kubrick. I saw 2001 early in life, I saw it in Cinerama and I never understood what I saw, I loved what I saw, and was caught unaware that Cinerama was merely a phase; yet that was not the moment. My moment was ‘the Shining‘. I was caught by the trailer, after that by the movie. I had read the book, but Kubrick had done something more with the King book. That feeling was reignited in me again when they used the movie in a part of the ‘Ready Player One‘ movie.

It is this part that will matter a little further down the line. For now I need to start with the Bloomberg article ‘Coke Names on Bottles Spell Money for Fintech with Data Focus‘ (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-12-02/data-is-money-for-fintech-that-helped-coke-put-names-on-bottles). The article is 2 weeks old, yet it connects to something that happened yesterday (at https://www.cnbc.com/2018/12/18/experian-to-offer-a-way-to-add-your-phone-bill-to-your-credit-report.html). Even when we ignore the initial part ‘You may soon be able to use your cell phone bill to boost your credit score‘, you see, like many Kubrick movies what you are reading is not what matters. Even the initial quote “Experian, one of three major credit bureaus in the U.S., announced that it will start factoring in phone and other utility payment history into some consumers’ reports early next year, according to the Wall Street Journal.” The second part is a little more to the point, yet still they will not give you the goods, which is “Your credit score is a measure of how trustworthy you are in the eyes of financial institutions. Showing that you’re consistent about paying your utility bills gives lenders more reason to think you’re a safe bet.

It is not merely about paying the bills, which is still a must. It is how much of a product are YOU? You are no longer a person, you never were, you are product for enabling and facilitation, that is all that you are to them. The collaboration of Fintech and Technology is about long term facilitation. As the technology and digital age of marketing reaches saturation, we are confronted with the stage of 4G, ‘wherever I am’. this stage is very important, because wherever you are, you are either ‘an enabling consumer’ or you are not. Those who are not have little or no value to these corporations. It is the second stage of what was called: ‘those who have’ and ‘those who do not have’ and it is now a lot more immediate. The tranche of facilitation is directly important to corporations as this is directly converted to value and corporate drive, and your credit score is a first hurdle to them. Even as they are all about a 700, or a 750 score, we are merely misrepresented. It is the 500-700 range that has the larger fortune for them and that is who they want in their partial view for now; it is facilitation towards a group of corporations. When that falters you are out of the game and you will pay exceedingly more for the same as you are considered ‘a risk’. This is the stage where we see ourselves as this is the first icon towards those getting into the 5G game and those who are told (just like a technology firm recruitment drive), ‘you are not the perfect fit for now‘.

That game will continue and expand to a much larger degree; the companies are expanding on the ‘low-risk’ populations on a global scale. The game for Fintech also changes. As we are presented: “By using Experian Boost, those consumers could see their scores increase immediately after they link their bank accounts. And around 1.5 million consumers with no scores could receive a score“, we are not informed on the change where you in advance hand over your financial data and financial stages, so that those in an early stage can be made enablers to a much larger degree as long as they commit. So the telecom and Fintech are maximising potential to have low risk customers, whilst still charging risk enabled margins to all. For them it is win-win no matter how you slice it. Soon thereafter you will started receiving the ‘pay now, avoid a lowered credit score’, which will at some point translate into imparting ‘mortgage fears’ with any late payment.

CNBC then gives us the next level of ‘misrepresentation’, or is that merely ‘partial misinformation’? As we get “This move is the latest in a series of efforts from credit report agencies to increase scores as lenders look for new ways to assess risk levels“, you see the driving change is not new ways of assessing risk, it is about having a much larger population with credit scores as the three players are trying to be the largest player and here they unite. Experian, Equifax and TransUnion are staging a new setting where they have credit scores upfront, not when it has become an optional issue, but as possible risks rise. It is not merely: ‘overhaul how negative information is handled‘, which now connects to “since the overhaul, which was initiated after the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found problems with credit reporting, firms have stripped tax-lien and civil-judgement data from credit reports, and millions of collection accounts have been removed. A year after the changes were made in June of 2017, 25 percent fewer consumers had a collection account on their credit report“, it basically gives them the setting that they have 25% less information, when you have a data population of one billion, 25% adds up fast, in addition, as 7 years old data falls off the debt data, having a new method (like phone bills) add it to the credibility of yourself, they get data with rollover capacity.

The question is not merely how just or how dangerous it is, it will soon become a stage of how discriminating it is. And even as that needs to be untangled, the Telecom companies and Fintech are now working together on how to select the cream from the others, making debt risk a valuating currency to add to their profit margins, as life without mobile phones is becoming increasingly important.

You see, you yourself will become the new system variable in all this. You are requested to freely hand over certain data that will identify you as an enabler to these large corporations and a larger facilitator to stamp out the credit value that you have and as such the technological abilities that you are allowed, or offered to be at a certain price. In a saturated 4G market getting the high end facilitators to be technological enablers for 5G matters to all who are ready to cash in, a lot of it and fast.

So when Bloomberg gave us: “Cassin, 51, who runs Experian Plc, has helped transform his company from a credit-reference firm into a broader data and software business. After starting with maintaining vast datasets of personal credit histories, most of its growth now comes from advising big companies on how to monetize the information they have on customers and supply chains, while avoiding privacy scandals” two weeks ago, they gave us a lot more than you realised. Brian Cassin has found a way to set the new stage, a stage he merely adopted from social media solutions like Facebook. Get them to hand over their billing history freely (for optional extra credit rating points) and as long as every bill is paid, he is happy to do just that, it is when the new stage adds other elements, that is when you either hand over more data, or lose credibility points and that is the stage of enabling them. From my data side, I would go with the premise that it is basically a brilliant move to get data. From the other side is that a financial setback will hurt more and when it is staged against your mortgage, that danger could become surreal for the person involved. It is basically a hidden trap that until you step into it, it is not a problem, when you do you will not merely hurt yourself, you will change the surrounding you are in by a much larger degree and the people handing over those details will not realise the trap they offered themselves up for until it is too late.

Matt Schulz, chief industry analyst at CompareCards also gives us: “You are the best judge of your ability to take on a new loan”. That is the part that bites, because more often than not, you are not. When you think back, who hasn’t made the fatal mistake when thinking: “I can buy this now, if I make sure that I only buy …….. next week“, you see, the actual premise is “If I do not buy these …… now, I will have enough money to buy …… next payday“, we do not do that, because we think we can gratify now and resolve later, and when there is a setback, we merely push it forward, which now becomes making the now initial issue an actual problem. We have all done that, and I have made that mistake a few times when I was younger. That is the immediate value for whoever uses that Experian solution as at that point the risk factor increases a lot and it will impact a few more items soon thereafter. It is a very dangerous setting for anyone under financial pressures.

Yet overall Experian is making a brilliant move to upgrade their data value in light of the 25% setback and basically these three players (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion) will upgrade their value by a lot this way. It will not end here, as Bloomberg gives us the thoughts of Cassin with: “Experian also helps protect against identity theft, and it still runs the core credit-scoring business, whose newer services include allowing lenders to quickly assess applications for car finance via text message. It’s also working with Amazon’s Alexa platform to explore new technologies like voice recognition to use in credit scoring“, the new field for Experian will grow as a much more axial player of 5G in the centre of it all. Identity theft will now no longer be merely around those with a stolen identity, their services will become a founding force is what will be the establishment of non-repudiation. As I stated, 4G was ‘wherever I am‘, yet with 5G it will be about ‘whenever I want it‘ and there the threshold of non-repudiation will rise, it is not merely about streaming, data access of what is there. It will be new levels of domotics, smart devices and automatic deep learning solutions, those paths require a level of non-repudiation, not merely authentication. The expert Varun Gulshan has been informing via academic papers the part of ‘Validation of Deep Learning Algorithms‘ and when you grasp that part, you will see the stronger requirement of non-repudiation over authentication, as Fintech is catching on there, the game evolves in a very different path, parallel the same, but in operations needs quite different and requires a much larger comprehension. Even as his stage was about the application in a medical field, its application applies to a lot more technology shores. The stage of non-repudiation (it can only be diabetic retinopathy and/or diabetic macular edema) and nothing else, versus the stage that we see when we consider ‘this could be diabetic retinopathy and/or diabetic macular edema (optional stage for authentication). As we see the evolution in finding the different stage, we see a new level of machine learning; we see a stage with a setting of being able to see the positive, the negative, the false positive and the false negative. The ability to differentiate between the four is actually a much larger difference than most realise. One could argue that we have a stage where the 95% certainty becomes a 98.1% certainty, making the larger risk no longer existent and the 3.1% difference translates to a trillion dollar market of facilitation, spread over the larger three mind you, so as they unite, they also grow their exponential growth in these area’s as we see basic needs being adjusted to facilitation with fees towards the risks that customers virtually pose. I state virtually for the mere reason that this field is basically new, evolved from an origin, but still brand new and all the companies who have ever been involved with invoice chasing will see that impact and they all want to be on board.

That is the system variable that we forgot, we forgot us as a mere variable in what drives our value, not the value that others impact on us, the value that we press for in ourselves, even if the impact is from the outside sources we face every day. Experian (and others) have found a way to charge us for the risk we are towards our value. So when we see an optional $60 for 200GB, we will soon face the option to get it at the starting price of $60, with an additional risk charge. You might think that this will never happen, but it is already happening, and when Fintech evolves the risk pattern, we will pay optional more, or face credit worthiness loss, losing 20 points when we are late with payment, seeing only 2 points repair per month, that is the part we do not see here. CNBC and Bloomberg only give the ‘business opportunity’ and the harshness of risk in the other direction was downplayed through ‘a natural fit for building solid credit‘, a statement that is not untrue, no one denies that. To see that hidden trap, you need to see the economic impact that 2004 and 2008 brought the people and how long it took them to restore those losses, I can tell you now that a large group of people in the US still have not recuperated, even when we realise that most families have mum and dad work 2 jobs. that is seen in part when we realise that at present both parents work full time in 46% of these households, the number is generic and weighted making it to some degree debatable, and some sources indicate that 30% of that group has both parents working more than one job, the latest information gives us that this is based on 2016 numbers, so it is incomplete at present, I personally fear that most politicians are not that eager to dig into that shameful setting, and as I am presenting these facts, we see no clear path that the quality of life is not getting any better for many, it merely becomes more risk driven than ever before enabling an evolving systemic problem to all households.

Technologically it is brilliant and opening many (fin)tech doors all over the place; looking with a humanitarian view, it is not a good thing, we are merely enabling others to degrade us to an algorithm part, something that was already the case, but until recently never to the degree we are about to see.

 

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The congressional sham

The papers are ‘covering’ live the entire Facebook hearing, we see several papers covering it and I think that this is a good thing. Yet, most papers are not without flaws. The fact that I have been writing about the entire mess of data privacy since 2013 makes it to the best of my knowledge a Capitol sham at best (pun intended) . you see, these so called senators are all up in arms and we see the Washington Post (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2018/04/10/mark-zuckerberg-facebook-hearing-congress-testimony) give quotes like “from data privacy to Russian disinformation“, you see, it is a lot less about data privacy than it is about the Russians. The anti-communist gene in Americans is too strong; the yanks get too emotional and become utterly useless in the process. So is it about the 44 senators grilling Mark Zuckerberg, is it about their limelight and about their re-election visibility, or is it about global data privacy? I can guarantee you now that it will not be about the last part and as such we will see a lot more warped issues shine on the congressional dance floor.

In that regard, when you read “They demanded new detail about how Facebook collects and uses data and elicited assurances that it will implement major improvements in protecting personal privacy“, it might be about that, but it will be a lot more on oversight and how the US government wants to be able to ‘check’ all that data. They wanted access to all that data since Facebook became one year old. So when we see ‘Sen. Kennedy: “I don’t want to have to vote to regulate Facebook, but by god, I will. That depends on you.”‘ you better believe that the ‘depends on you‘ can be read as ‘as long as you give us access to all your data‘, which contains the shoe that fumbles.

So when we see “Several asked for detailed answers about how private, third-party companies, such as the political consultancy Cambridge Analytica, gained access to personal data on 87 million Facebook users, including 71 million Americans“, we see the valid question, yet that did not require a congressional hearing, so that is merely the icing that hides the true base element of the cake. It is the honourable Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Commerce Committee that gives the first goods: “Many are incredibly inspired by what you’ve done. At the same time, you have an obligation, and it’s up to you, to ensure that dream doesn’t become a privacy nightmare for the scores of people who use Facebook”, you see, freedom of data and misuse of information as set by insurances. The statements like ‘Insurance companies warn that under certain circumstances, posting about your holidays on social media could result in your claim being declined if you are burgled‘. These senators were not really that interested in all this whilst the entire insurance issues have been playing as early as 2010; they were likely too busy looking somewhere else. The entire privacy mess is a lot larger. We see this at the Regis University site when we take a look at: “A new survey by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) reveals nearly one in five Americans (19%) has been the victim of some form of cyber stalking, defined as any persistent and unwanted online contact with another individual. Through aggressive social media contact, repeated emails or other methods of online connectivity, cyber stalkers represent a serious and growing threat to men and women who otherwise wish to disengage from those who make them feel uncomfortable. Still, the NCSA report shows only 39% of those who believed they were being stalked online reported the incident to authorities“, so was there a senatorial hearing then? No, there was not. In addition, a situation where one in 5 Americans is subject to stalking, yet in all those years almost nothing was done. Why is that? Is that because the overwhelming numbers of these victims have tits and a vagina, or merely because they are less likely to be communist in nature?

Does this offend you?

Too bad, it is the direct consequence of inaction which makes todays issue almost a farce. I stated almost! So, is the issue that the data was downloaded, or that the data on millions of Americans is now in the hands of others and not in the hands of the US government? This loaded question is a lot more important than you might think.

The fact that this is a much larger farce is seen when the Democrat from Illinois decides to open his mouth. It is seen in “Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL), asked Zuckerberg what hotel he stayed at Monday night and the names of anyone he messaged this week“, was it to break the ice? If all 44 senators do that, then we see evidence why the US government can’t get anything done. It is actually another Democrat that gives rise to issues. It is seen in Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said, “We’ve seen the apology tours before… I don’t see how you can change your business model unless there are different rules of the road.”, the man makes a good case, but I am not certain if he is correct. You see, unless the US government is ready to lash out massively in the abuse of data towards any corporation found using social media on exploiting the privacy of its members, and insurers are merely one part in all this. You see, the rules of the road have been negated for some time in different directions, unless you are willing to protect the users of social media by corporate exploitation, Richard Blumenthal should not really be talking about traffic rules, should he? This directly links to the fact that 90% of hedge funds were using social media in 2014. Were they properly looked at? I wonder where those 44 senators were when that all went down.

The one part that will actually become a larger case comes from Massachusetts. “Democratic Sen. Edward J. Markey (Mass.) plans to introduce a new bill Tuesday called the CONSENT Act that would require social giants like Facebook and other major web platforms to obtain explicit consent before they share or sell personal data“, it will change the business model where data is no longer shared, or sold, but another model where all this is set up by Facebook and he advertiser can get the results of visibility in top line results. That is the path Facebook would likely push for, a more Google approach in their setting of AdWords and Google analytics. Facebook is ready to a much larger extent on this and it is a likely path to follow for Facebook after all this. Yet in all this the theatre of congress will go on a little longer, we will know soon enough. In the end 44 senators will push regarding “The Federal Trade Commission is investigating violations of a 2011 consent decree over privacy policy at Facebook that could lead to record fines against the company“, in the end it will be about money and as it is more likely that the data on Americans made it to Russia, the fine will be as astronomically high as they could possibly make it. They will state in some way that the debt of 21 trillion will have nothing to do with that, or so they will claim. In the end Mark Zuckerberg partially did this too himself, he will get fined and so he should, but the entire theatre and the likelihood that the fine is going to be way overboard, whilst in equal measure these senators will not chase the other transgressors is a much larger case and calls for even more concern. You see, there is a much larger congressional sham in play. It was exposed by Clay Johnson, formerly of the Sunlight Foundation, (more at http://www.congressfoundation.org/news/blog/912). The issue is not merely “On the Hill, congressional staff do not have the tools that they need to quickly distill meaning from the overwhelming volume of communications that they receive on any given day“, it is that Facebook has been able to add well over 400% pressure to that inability. That given is what also drives the entire matter of division in American voters. I myself did not think that ‘fake’ news on events did any serious damage to Democrat Hillary Clinton, from my point of view; she did that all to herself during her inaction of the Benghazi events.

In the end I believe that the bulk will go after Mark Zuckerberg for whatever reason they think they have, whilst all hiding behind the indignation of ‘transplanted data‘. The fact that doing this directly hit the value that the rest of his data has is largely ignored by nearly all players. In addition, the fact that the BBC gave us ‘More than 600 apps had access to my iPhone data‘ less than 12 hours ago is further evidence still. So when will these 44 senators summon Tim Cook? The fact that the BBC gives us “Data harvesting is a multibillion dollar industry and the sobering truth is that you many never know just how much data companies hold about you, or how to delete it” and the fact that this is a given truth and has been for a few years, because you the consumer signed over your rights, is one of those ignored traffic rules, so the statement that Richard Blumenthal gave is a lot larger than even he might have considered. It is still a good point of view to have, yet this shown him to be either less correct on the whole, or it could be used as evidence that too many senators have been sitting on their hands for many years and in that matter the least stated on the usefulness of the European Commission the better. So when we read “The really big data brokers – firms such as Acxiom, Experian, Quantium, Corelogic, eBureau, ID Analytics – can hold as many as 3,000 data points on every consumer, says the US Federal Trade Commission“, we see that Equifax is missing from that list is also a matter for concern, especially when we consider the events that Palantir uncovered, whilst at the same time we ignore what Palantir Gotham is capable of. I wonder how many US senators are skating around that subject. We see part of that evidence in Fortune, were (at http://fortune.com/2017/10/10/equifax-attack-avoiding-hacks/) we see “Lauren Penneys, who heads up business development at Palantir, advised companies to get their own data and IT assets in order—both to better understand what risks do exist and to improve readiness to respond when a breach does happen“, she is right and she (validly) does not mention what Palantir Gotham is truly capable of when we combine the raw data from more than one corporate source. With the upcoming near exponential growth of debt collection, and they all rely on data and skip tracing of social media data, we see a second issue, which these senators should have been aware of for well over two years. So how protective have they been of citizens against the invasion of privacy on such matters from the Wall Street Golden Child? Even in London, places like Burford Capital Ltd are more and more reliant on a range of social media data and as such it will not be about traffic rules as the superrich are hunted down. We might not care about that, mainly because they are superrich. Yet as this goes on, how long until the well dries up and they set their nets in a much wider setting?

We claim that we are humane and that we set the foundation for morally just actions, but are we? The BBC actually partially addresses this with: “Susan Bidel, senior analyst at Forrester Research in New York, who covers data brokers, says a common belief in the industry is that only “50% of this data is accurate” So why does any of this matter? Because this “ridiculous marketing data”, as Ms Dixon calls it, is now determining life chances” and that is where the shoe truly hurts, at some point in the near future we will be denied chances and useless special rebates, because the data did not match, we will be seen as a party person instead of a sport person, at which point out premiums would have been ‘accidently’ 7% too high and in that same person we will be targeted for social events and not sport events, we will miss out twice and soon thereafter 4 fold, with each iteration of wrong data the amount of misconceptions will optionally double with each iteration. All based on data we never signed up for or signed off on, so how screwed is all this and how can this congressional hearing be seen as nothing more than a sham. Yes, some questions needs to be answered and they should, yet that could have been done in a very different setting, so as we see the Texan republican as the joke he is in my personal view, we see “Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) asked Zuckerberg about 2016 reports that the company had removed conservative political news from its trending stories box, and followed up with questions about its moderators’ political views. When Zuckerberg said he didn’t ask employees for their political views, Cruz followed up with “Why was Palmer Luckey fired?”“, we wonder if he had anything substantial to work with at all. So when you wonder why Zuckerberg is being grilled, ask yourself, what was this about? Was it merely about abuse of data by a third party? If that is so, why is Tim Cook not sitting next to Zuckerberg? More important, as I have shown some of these issues for close to 5 years, why was action not taken sooner? Is that not the more pressing question to see answered?

 

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