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PSI public sector information

- December 9, 2018 in Uncategorized

OpenSchufa: The first results

- November 29, 2018 in germany, mydata, OK Germany, personal-data

This blog has been reposted from the Open Knowledge Foundation Germany blog In early 2018 the Open Knowledge Foundation Germany (OKFDE) and Algorithm-Watch launched the project OpenSCHUFA, which works on reverse-engineering the algorithms of the Schufa, Germany’s credit rating system. This week the first analyses of OpenSchufa dataset are published. The data teams and editorial offices of Bayerischer Rundfunk and SpiegelOnline have evaluated the anonymous data that has been collected with the help of our „mydata“ project OpenSchufa since this spring. In the last 10 months this project generated 100,000 individual data requests in Germany. Out of these, more than 30,000 were directed at Schufa and resulted in more than 3,000 data donations to us. Many thanks to all the people who donated money, time and especially their data and supported this project with other resources!

These are the most important findings:

  • Bad scores even without negative characteristics
Many people have bad Schufa scores, although they have no negative characteristics. Our data implies that the Schufa lists some people as „higher risk“ even if they don’t have negative data on them. This means: Apparently the Schufa algorithm is error-prone. Even if people who have no debts or defaults get bad scores, the scoring procedure is broken.
  • Allegedly accurate scores despite inaccurate data
The Schufa scores suggest to the public that they are particularly scientifically prepared. Part of this image is generated by the alleged accuracy of scores such as 85.04% or 97.41%. However, the information is misleading. The Schufa often lacks the data to make reliable statements about the creditworthiness of individuals. In almost a fourth of the people in our dataset, the Schufa has a maximum of three data points on users. In these cases, the score is not particularly trustworthy.
  • Factors: Age, sex and moves
The OpenSchufa data set suggests that factors such as age, gender and many moves affect the Schufa score. For example, young men are often worse off. This means that even aspects that cannot be influenced could cause negative Schufa scores. At the moment, it is not possible to say with the data how exactly the factors affect the respective score and whether the Schufa will include them individually in the calculation or combine them. It is very possible that the scores discriminate.
  • Some scores have fallen out of time
In many areas, the Schufa holds several score versions from one scoring area over individuals. As a result, for example, people have a worse score after version 1 of the Schufa Bank Score than after version 2 or version 3 of the Schufa Bank Score. Those who are unlucky that a bank requests an older score version from the Schufa have worse cards in such an example. The fact that the older score versions are still being released apparently leads to biases.

This results in these demands:

Thanks to OpenSchufa, the German Advisory Council for Consumer Affairs (SVRV) at the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection has already written a paper with scoring transparency. SRVR advocated that the Schufa and other scoring providers disclose their algorithm. Characteristics and weighting of the Scores must become understandable for the consumer. As the results of OpenSchufa also show, possible discrimination must be examined and disclosed. A central problem at Schufa is obviously the quality of the score and the data on which it is based. Further reporting by Bayerischer Rundfunk has already shown that the supervision of Schufa and other scoring providers is inadequate. The Schufa itself pays for the reports that should actually review it independently. The Federal Ministry has already announced that it will examine the Council’s recommendations. In addition to transparency, Schufa should also accept its responsibility in society. This includes that the Schufa should cooperate constructively with researchers, journalists and civil society. So far, the Schufa press office has attracted attention primarily because it intimidates journalists.

And what about the Schufa algorithm?

We are currently working on reliably deciphering various aspects of the Schufa formula. The challenge: Of around 30,000 data acccess requests that users have sent to Schufa via, only around 3,000 data records have been forwarded to us. Nevertheless, we try to make further reliable statements about the Schufa algorithm and continue to work with the data set. Originally, we had planned to address targeted calls to specific population groups in order to obtain data from them in the event of distortions in the data. However, this is no longer possible at present. Since the data protection regulation (GDPR) was applied in May, Schufa has given significantly less data to individuals than before. Data donations of Schufa information are therefore not usable for us since May.

What’s next?

Together with our partner AlgorithmWatch we continue to work on the evaluation of the data and hope to be able to derive further insights from the data soon. Afterwards we want to give further recommendations for legal regulations. Also important: Schufa currently still refuses to provide free information by e-mail, although the GDPR obliges them to. We will work to ensure that Schufa complies with this obligation. The Schufa is the beginning, but not the end. We need more transparency for all scoring providers in Germany and Europe.

Schufa reporting on the 28th of November (in German)

German version of this article with more frequent updates

For further inquiries

Walter Palmetshofer, Open Knowledge Foundation Deutschland,, +49 30 57703666 0  

PSI Policy und EUDataSummit

- October 26, 2018 in Uncategorized

English summary will follow. Seit 2012 beschäftigt sich die OKFDE aktiv mit der PSI - Public Sector Information Directive, aka Open Data. Und so wie es scheint, auch noch länger. Anlassgegeben zu den aktuellen Neuverhandlungen der PSI Richtlinie fand am 24.-26. Oktober der EUDataSummit in der KAS Konrad Adenauerstiftung statt. Den Anfang machte Rufus Pollock zu digitaler Transformation von „Atomen zu Bits“. Präsentation hier. Video folgt. Bild Banane Kurz seine These: Die Rahmenbedingungen der „Digitalisierung“ durch „costless copying“ führen zu Marktmachtkonzentration (aka Monopole) welche wiederum zu Vermögensungleichheiten führen, welche wiederum zu politischen Herausforderungen führen (siehe Trump, Rechtsruck in Europa, Brasilien, …). Zur Teillösung dieser Herausforderungen schlägt er ein Remunerationsystem bei Patenten, … vor. (Buch Kapitel 10). Danach gab eine Podiumsdiskussion. Eines der Highlights war der sehenswerte Überblick von der PSI Genese in Europa aus Brüsseler Sicht von Malte Beyer. Video: Beginn Malte Beyer verknüpfte dabei den Bogen von 2008 Paper von Rufus zu den aktuellen französischen Rahmenbedingungen. (Als Beispiel nannte er die Kostenbefreiung des nationalen französischen Geographiedienstes und der Daten und die Kostenabdeckung durch zukünfigte Mehrwertsteuer die aus jenen Anwendungen enstehen). Industriepolitik. Wirtschaftspolitik. Anreizsysteme. (Text siehe Transkript im englischen Teil). Ursprünglicher Antreiber war UK. Fehlt jetzt weg. Franzosen aktuell der zweite Treiber. Und es ist ein Frage des politischen Willen. cough cough oder wie man auf Deutsch sagt HUESTEL!!! Das zweite Panel behandelte „B2B and B2G Data Sharing“. Video folgt. Nach den Breakfast Session „Data Driven Governments“ und „Access to Data“ kamen in der extra einberäumten PSI Policy-Lunch-Session Mitglieder der aktuellen österr. EU-Präsidentschaft, EC, Verhandlungsteam der einzelnen Länder, Open Data Enthusiasten und Wirtschaftsleute zusammen. Und es fand ein äussert reger Austausch statt (quasi opengov). Policy
Wir werden sehen wie süß oder sauer die nächste PSI wird. Danke an allen beteiligten Personen, vorallem jene die extra nach Berlin kamen. Danke an Pencho und KAS Stiftung, oder wie es Mathias Schindler so treffend sagte.

Aktueller Fahrplan:

  1. November Präsentation der EC, aktuelles doc.
  2. Dezember Abstimmung im Parlament Bis dahin rattern die Türklinken.


Transcript Malte Beyer. (status: machine translated) Thanks for for having me, I’m first and foremost a true soldier I mean in the bureaucracy you’re never and an agenda set at the lowest level it’s coming from higher moments and I’m have a great team what doing open data since it’s deception and I think that term public sector information we owe to the Brits it’s their fault obviously who we’re the the true innovators on this front in the Late 1990s and early 2000s when the further where the policy was basically created with the original directive in 2003 and when I joined the Commission in 2011 my German friends lawyer friends were saying we’re gonna go work on and say yeah it’s open data what’s that? yeah IWG Informationsweiterverwendungsgesetz ah this niche law that I’ve never really know where to find it which in 2011 was really for good reasons, a niche law because it was basically a very soft along almost powerless almost a toothless tool in terms of the open data so over time and that should but we try to adopt the term open data which synchronizes maybe more with the 2013 version of the director so the first revised directive and that’s also the standard label we now try to give it well we can change the name of the directive in this round I’m not so sure but there have been I think suggestions and we also discusses and it seems that wear label it but that has all sorts of complications I think what the directive had to do and will continue to have to do is to do it in partnership with member states we will just now see again a new report and subsidiarity and proportionality coming out and there will be communication from the Commission on that there was a was a specific process to underpin this and we have been reminded of these principles that are in the treaties in the annexes to the treaties that you shouldn’t try to regulate everything at European level and the access freedom of information is national competence and it will remain one and that’s always been a bit of the the thing that the openness relies on the two legs access and reuse as you say so so certain certain purposes and also you can see it also in the amendments in the European Parliament are driven by transparency I want to know, journalists want to know activists want to know the gender pay gap is is a fantastic example for that people want to know this because we want to be more transparent in the world we live in the original directive however had to find a legal base in the treaties and that was the internal market competence with you saying there’s an economic activity that builds on data and that gives us the right to say certain things about conditions that may be or not may not be attached to data held by the government then it comes to the restrictions and so how open have do you have so with the the idea of of now sitting together with the members is in a process still to be defined and I’ve been in kind of an act still to have a specific nature and the process comes with nature of the act and the influence and the powers that that now gather that list that that is something what we try to break it and we’ve been involved also in the g8 Open Data charted in 2013 we look having at office in the UK again the Brits at fault here the cabinet did a marvelous job in setting together that list of the categories of high-value data sets in the g8 open data chart at the international data charter has taken that over and and has tried to internationalize from eight countries to a lot more and now we want to build on that momentum and say yes we all agree that certain categories are particularly valuable. a second driver in that process is is France it’s the law on the digital Republic which has established a category of „donate the reference“ certain data assets that are mostly held by the public sector which have such a core value in anything that you want to do and a classic example is geospatial information mapping information all the geo localized services that you have on your phone only work with accurate mapping information otherwise it’s crap so who holds access to that infrastructure the mapping information and how has it been usable and reusable if it has such an important value on you or all your phones and what do people have to pay to whom if at all to have the right to use mapping information and why is Google so successful in getting its maps out, maybe because the license model is better and I mean Rufus no worries now I mean he’s been been fighting with the UK ordnance service for years, I’m intellectually speaking fighting, saying change your yoga business model and France will do that trick France will say we will stop the asset you national Geographic the charging people to use mapping information and will replace it with government funding just to stop it and hoping to recap on the value that we is generated by the services using the apps so the VAT that is paid by the app developer, the income tax that is paid by the app developer, that’s that’s Rufus’s case from 2008 which still is the most valuable piece to underpin our policy but it’s not that intellectual discourse is not finished and we’ve seen this with reopening the discussion on the psi directive we’re seeing it very clearly and we’re seeing especially because we want to say that the list of high value data sets should come free free at no cost to the user because of the high value that’s the French example in French say well demonstrate that they have if there’s political will you can do it and then you try to to tax the app developers and to get the VAT from them don’t try to have these 8-10 distributors that happen to be tapped into your company register in your country and that basically bring you back the money that it took to set up the the infrastructure because there was a cost of setting up the company register there’s not for a operational cost of having the company residues running now the third marginal cost if you want also for the last copy them will never be closed and never entirely zero there will always be a little cost so wrapping this up open data open government data is an essential element of anything that we hear about data than your oil in the new economy because it’s one part of the data and if you push it now data is data essential resource in the economy and will may become that in the second panel if we agree that at least some data assets are an essential assets in a data economy and if it happens to be so that such as it’s operated by the government then this is a clear case for a public data infrastructure so a public provision of that data as infrastructure a last word I mean it’s a bit the semantics discussion is not always easy out also inside our house because we have data as infrastructure versus infrastructures for data so hosting an open data portal is an infrastructure for data if you want and so the whole that the semantics on data as infrastructure are do not resonate always very well in our circles and maybe also with you in the audience but I think the economic argument that Rufus has eloquently made before and the pins the fact that it’s a it’s like an infrastructural resource in the economy and certain of that infrastructure needs to be publicly provided.

PSI Directive – joint effort by OKF and friends

- July 12, 2018 in Uncategorized

EITI-Woche in Berlin

- June 24, 2018 in Uncategorized

Diese Woche findet in Berlin das internationale Board-Meeting von EITI statt. EITI steht für Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative und bemüht sich um die Offenlegung der Zahlungsströme im Rohstoffsektor. Mehr Infos gibt es hier. D-EITI publizierte 2017 seinen ersten Bericht.
Im Rahmen des Board-Meetings gibt es folgende Veranstaltung von der bzw. für die Zivilgesellschaft: Dienstag 26. Juni „Workshop on resource governance, transparency and climate change“
mit Publish What You Pay, Global Witness, Heinrich Böll Foundation, und FSB Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). Hier geht es um Rohstoffe, Offenlegungen der Zahlungen bis zum persönlichen CO2-Budget. Mittwoch 27. Juni, 9-11 Uhr, CS Meetings mit folgender Agenda:
International gab es die Unterzeichnung eines Memorandum of Understanding zwischen OGP und EITI. Deutschland ist eines der wenigen Länder, in denen beides aktiv implementiert wird. lila beide, orange OGP, hellblau EITIorange OGP-Länder, hellblau EITI-Länder, violet EITI-OGP-Länder Aspects of Resource Extraction and EITI Wednesday, 9 – 11 am
09.00 Welcome Prof. Dr. Edda Müller, Transparency International Germany
09.10 Social Aspects and D-EITI - IGBCE (Industrial Union in the Mining, Chemical and Energy Industry)
09.20 Ecological Aspects and D-EITI - FÖS – Green Budget Germany German Forum on Environment & Development
09.30 EITI and the Ecological and Social Impact of Mining in Peru Cesar Gamboa, Derecho, Ambiente y Recursos Naturales
09.45 EITI and the Ecological and Social Impact of Mining in the Philippines Dr. Cielo Magno, Bantay Kita
10.00 Discussion Under the moderation of: Jürgen Maier, German Forum on Environment & Development
10.50 Announcing EITI & OGP Partnership - effects for CS - OKFDE & friends
10.55 Prof. Dr. Edda Müller, Transparency International Germany

16:00 Side event from BMZ on civil society and shrinking spaces (Room Eichensaal) Thursday Board-Meeting
15:00 Side event from EITI International Secretariat on contract transparency
18:30 - 19:00 Side event from NRGI and EITI International Secretariat on blockchain technologies in the extractives industries
19:30 - 22:00 Liquidity & Networking
Freitag Board-Meeting
Mexikanische Delegation
WB und Extractives Global Programmatic Support (EGPS) 02.-05. Juli Booksprint on EITI in Potsdam mit PWYP. Deutschland fällt hier eine wichtige Rolle zu. Einerseits gilt es, EITI-Standards, die man erfolgreich vertritt, auch international hochzuhalten (Arbeitsrechte, Verteidigung des Civic Spaces) und innovative Ansätze voranzutreiben (Tiefseebohrung, Erneuerbare Energie). In Sachen Transparenzregister und Informationsfreiheit hat Deutschland noch einiges nachzuholen. Mehr Information und Zutritt, wo möglich, gibt es per Mail unter

EITI-Woche in Berlin

- June 24, 2018 in Uncategorized

EU Vorschlag zur Überarbeitung der PSI-Richtlinie

- April 25, 2018 in Uncategorized

Am 25. April veröffentlichte die EU den Vorschlag zur Überarbeitung der Richtlinie über die Weiterverwendung von Informationen des öffentlichen Sektors (PSI-Richtlinie), aka Opendata-Richtline. Hier eine Kurzanalyse, eine detailierte Übersicht folgt bis 30.04. Die Überarbeitung ist ein Schritt in die richtige Richtung, aber geht nicht weit genug. Die notwendigen Hinweis auf Echtzeitdaten und die Ausweitung der Diskussion auf Versorgungs- und Verkehrsunternehmen sowie der öffentlich finanzierten Forschung ist begrüßenwert, jedoch fehlen die konkreten und zeitnahen Umsetzungsmaßnahmen. Zum Beispiel wird der Verkehrssektor durch die delegierte Verordnung (EU) Nr. 2017/1926 abgedeckt, d.h. die Daten werden bei jetziger Umsetzungsgeschwindigkeit erst 2023 zur Verfügung stehen.(Details zu 2017/1936) Des weiteren gibt es keine Zugangsharmonsierung. Lobenswert ist der transparente Evalulierungprozess. Die Nächste Evaluierung kommt in 4 Jahren. PS: Für Kommentare, Anmerkungen und Links gibt es ein Pad.

EU Vorschlag zur Überarbeitung der PSI-Richtlinie

- April 25, 2018 in Uncategorized

Am 25. April veröffentlichte die EU den Vorschlag zur Überarbeitung der Richtlinie über die Weiterverwendung von Informationen des öffentlichen Sektors (PSI-Richtlinie), aka Opendata-Richtline. Hier eine Kurzanalyse, eine detailierte Übersicht folgt bis 30.04. Die Überarbeitung ist ein Schritt in die richtige Richtung, aber geht nicht weit genug. Die notwendigen Hinweis auf Echtzeitdaten und die Ausweitung der Diskussion auf Versorgungs- und Verkehrsunternehmen sowie der öffentlich finanzierten Forschung ist begrüßenwert, jedoch fehlen die konkreten und zeitnahen Umsetzungsmaßnahmen. Zum Beispiel wird der Verkehrssektor durch die delegierte Verordnung (EU) Nr. 2017/1926 abgedeckt, d.h. die Daten werden bei jetziger Umsetzungsgeschwindigkeit erst 2023 zur Verfügung stehen.(Details zu 2017/1936) Des weiteren gibt es keine Zugangsharmonsierung. Lobenswert ist der transparente Evalulierungprozess. Die Nächste Evaluierung kommt in 4 Jahren. PS: Für Kommentare, Anmerkungen und Links gibt es ein Pad.

Upload-Filter: Wir brauchen deine Hilfe

- February 22, 2018 in Uncategorized

We crack the Schufa, the German credit scoring

- February 22, 2018 in germany, mydata, OK Germany, personal-data

Last week the Open Knowledge Foundation Germany (OKFDE) and AlgorithmWatch launched the project OpenSCHUFA. Inspired by OKF Finland and the „mydata“ project, OpenSCHUFA is the first„mydata“ project by OKFDE. Over the last 7 days, the campaign generated Germany-wide media attention, and already over 8.000 individual Schufa data request (30.000 personal data requests in total).

Why we started OpenSCHUFA and why you should care about credit scoring

Germany’s leading credit rating bureau, SCHUFA, has immense power over people’s lives. A low SCHUFA score means landlords will refuse to rent you an apartment, banks will reject your credit card application and network providers will say ‘computer says no’ to a new Internet contract. But what if your SCHUFA score is low because there are mistakes in your credit history? Or if the score is calculated by a mathematical model that is biased? The big problem is, we simply don’t know how accurate SCHUFA’s or any other credit scoring data is and how it computes its scores. OpenSCHUFA wants to change this by analyzing thousands of credit records. This is not just happening in Germany, or just with credit scoring, for example the Chinese government has decided to introduce a scoring system by 2020 that assigns a “social value” to all residents. Or think about the Nosedive episode of Black Mirror series. We want to
  • start a discussion on that topic
  • bring more transparency towards (credit) scoring
  • empower people with their own data and show what can be done once this data is donated or crowd-shared

What exactly is SCHUFA?

SCHUFA is Germany’s leading credit rating bureau. It’s a private company similar to Equifax, Experian or TransUnion, some of the major credit reporting agencies operating in the US, UK, Canada or Australia. SCHUFA collects data of your financial history – your unpaid bills, credit cards, loans, fines and court judgments – and uses this information to calculate your SCHUFA score. Companies pay to check your SCHUFA score when you apply for a credit card, a new phone or Internet contract. A rental agent even checks with SCHUFA when you apply to rent an apartment. A low score means you have a high risk of defaulting on payments, so it makes it more difficult, or even impossible, to get credit. A low score can also affect how much interest you pay on a loan.

Why should you care about SCHUFA score or any other credit scores?

SCHUFA holds data on about 70 million people in Germany. That’s nearly everyone in the country aged 18 or older. According to SCHUFA, nearly one in ten of these people living in Germany (around 7 million people) have negative entries in their record. That’s quite a lot. SCHUFA gets its data from approximately 9,000 partners, such as banks and telecommunication companies. SCHUFA doesn’t believe it has a responsibility to check the accuracy of data it receives from its partners. In addition, the algorithm used by SCHUFA to calculate credit scores is protected as a trade secret so no one knows how the algorithm works and whether there are errors or injustices built into the model or the software. So basically, if you are an adult living in Germany, there is a good chance your life is affected by a credit score produced by a multimillion euro private company using an automatic process that they do not have to explain and an algorithm based on data that nobody checks for inaccuracies. And this is not just the case in Germany, but everywhere were credit scores determine everyday life.

How can you help?

Not living in Germany? Money makes the world go round. Please donate some money – 5 EUR, we also do take the GBP or USD –  to enable us to develop a data-donation software (that is open source and re-usable also in your country). Get in touch if you are interested in a similar campaign on the credit bureau in your country: And now some of the famous German fun, our campaign video: