Consumer scores

For a growing number of consumers, recording and analysis of individual activities, behaviour and habits is nothing out of the ordinary. These data are often made available to consumers who, for example, want to improve their levels of physical activity using a fitness tracker. But companies also use the information gathered in order to assess individual risks, for example to decide on insurance conditions or creditworthiness. There are other examples of profiling (e.g. movements, user statistics) that remain completely hidden to consumers.

While these new technologies are still in the early stages of development, the impact is already foreseeable: New business models and contractual conditions are entering the market. As a result, real or would-be trends may be set which may even impact upon individual behaviour. This raises the question not least as to whether personalised services in health insurance, for example, could seriously affect established solidarity-based systems.

The Advisory Council for Consumer Affairs has therefore decided to build on its earlier thematic paper entitled “The digital world and health: E-health and m-health – opportunities and risks of digitalisation in the health sector” and, in addition to the publicly best-known example of credit scores, engage in a detailed analysis of score-based models in general, exploring this issue above all from the consumer perspective.

In particular, the Advisory Council for Consumer Affairs will examine how far the use of scores differs from existing business models, which technological innovations are driving this development, to what extent models based on consumer scores are accepted among consumers, what social consequences are to be expected and where regulation is required.

Publication of the report on consumer scores is planned for 2018.