British insurance provider Admiral planned to harvest social media information to judge a driver's personality and determine their premium.

British auto insurance provider Admiral has held off launching a new system that harvests Facebook data to determine how much users pay for their car insurance, after the the social media platform withdrew its permission to access the data.

The Guardian reports that Firstcarquote would explore users’ posts and likes to make an assessment of their personality and how much of a risk they pose behind the wheel. The information is then compared to real claims data.

But that was deemed to be a violation of Facebook’s policies, according to Autocar. Those policies prevent the use of “data obtained from Facebook to make decisions about eligibility, including whether to approve or reject an application, or how much interest to charge on a loan.”

Speaking to The Guardian, Firstcarquotes project leader Dan Mines defended the system. “It is incredibly transparent. If you don’t want to use it in a quote then you don’t have to. We are doing our best to build a product that allows young people to identify themselves as safe drivers.”

That line didn’t land with privacy activists Open Rights Group. Director Jim Killock told Autocar: “We might be penalized for our posts or denied benefits and discounts because we don’t share enough or have interests that mark us out as different or somehow unreliable.”

Admiral insisted that the system would only be used to determine discounts. However, Mines contradicted that, saying it could eventually be extended to set price increases, and encompass other social media channels.

Firstcarquote was supposed to launch earlier this week. The website is still live, but not functioning.

“Firstcarquote, which will allow first time drivers to voluntarily share some social data with insurers for a simple and discounted quote, is currently a beta product,” an Admiral spokesman told Autocar. “Admiral does not have access to customers’ Facebook data and does not hold social media data to set prices for its customers. Following discussions with Facebook, the product is launching with reduced functionality, allowing first time drivers to log in using Facebook and share some information to secure a faster, simpler, and discounted quote.”

Source: The Guardian, Autocar

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