Report: The Scoring of America

In April, I along with my co-author Robert Gellman published The Scoring of America. It is a 90-page report that was deeply researched over the course of years, not months.

Here is a brief summary of the report at World Privacy Forum, where it was published:


This report highlights the unexpected problems that arise from new types of predictive consumer scoring, which this report terms consumer scoring. Largely unregulated either by the Fair Credit Reporting Act or the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, new consumer scores use thousands of pieces of information about consumers’ pasts to predict how they will behave in the future. Issues of secrecy, fairness of underlying factors, use of consumer information such as race and ethnicity in predictive scores, accuracy, and the uptake in both use and ubiquity of these scores are key areas of focus.

The report includes a roster of the types of consumer data used in predictive consumer scores today, as well as a roster of the consumer scores such as health risk scores, consumer prominence scores, identity and fraud scores, summarized credit statistics, among others. The report reviews the history of the credit score – which was secret for decades until legislation mandated consumer access — and urges close examination of new consumer scores for fairness and transparency in their factors, methods, and accessibility to consumers.


It is still early in terms of impact, but at least the report has been cited in the White House Big Data Report, which was a gratifying beginning of what we hope is a robust and meaningful public discussion about the issue of consumer scores and what they mean in all of our lives.

To read the report, visit the World Privacy Forum Scoring of America report page.