In the decision of May 13, 2019 on GZ DSBD123.688/0003-DSB/2018, the data protection authority had to deal, among other things, with the question of whether a credit agency qualifies as a data protection controller for the credit rating it performs.
The subject of the said proceedings is an alleged violation in the right to information. In addition to several alleged on the part of the complainant
violations, which were essentially limited to incomplete information, it was claimed that the respondent, which operates a credit reporting agency, had not provided more detailed information with regard to the logic involved and the scope and intended effects of the credit assessment of the complainant that had been carried out. In summary, the respondent countered that the decision on the conclusion of a legal transaction or the form in which the legal transaction is concluded is made exclusively by the company requesting information from the respondent.
In this regard, the data protection authority held that the respondent processes personal data for the purpose of carrying out its trade under Section 152 of the Austrian Trade Regulation Act 1994 (credit bureaus on credit relationships) and that a mathematical value is calculated on the basis of statistical probability using certain parameters, which reflects the probability of non-payment. The fact that companies have the option of incorporating the weighting or other parameters (such as their own payment experience with the end customer/subject) into the logic does no harm. In fact, in the sense of the above considerations, the respondent cannot be understood as a processor, since the data are not merely processed on behalf of the respective customer, but a processing is carried out independently thereof in the course of the exercise of the trade pursuant to
§ 152 GewO 1994 is carried out and the “score formula” – i.e. which concrete information with personal reference is combined with each other in which concrete way in order to calculate a certain creditworthiness – is determined by the respondent itself.
In the opinion of the data protection authority, this is an independent decision-making process at the respondent, as the respondent carries out the aforementioned trade in order to bring calculated creditworthiness data into economic circulation and, according to general life experience, this can be associated with significant impairments in economic life. If an end customer who obtains a credit report makes a certain decision on the basis of the calculated creditworthiness – for example, by unquestioningly comparing the creditworthiness result with his or her financial situation – he or she will be able to make an informed decision.
decision – this is a second independent decision-making process for the end customer.
As a result, the performance mandate was thus to provide the respondent with meaningful information about the logic involved as well as the scope and the intended effects of the credit assessment concerning the complainant. This decision is not legally binding.