“If you’re living a normal life,” Thornhill reassures me, “then, frankly, you have nothing to worry about.”
Literally the nothing to hide argument.
“People will give up their privacy to get something they want,” he said.
He is admitting that their product is an attack on privacy, as if that was a good thing.
This is just sad.
I feel like this would fall foul of protected classes in the US. If not, it certainly should. It’s like every imaginable question you cannot legally ask all wrapped up into one disgusting product.
In any case, I would absolutely refuse to rent from a landlord who wanted access to my private information, even at a statistical level, especially if it passed through a third party. Credit report, references and application is all you get. But of course, I have the wealth and flexibility to shop around landlords and move if needed; many many people do not.
Definitely. Specifically, the part about how “the service notifies your landlord of possible ‘life events,’ like marriages or pregnancies” bumps into the 1988 amendment to the Fair Housing Act that prohibits discrimination based on “familial status.”
“All we can do is give them the information,” Thornhill said. “It’s up to landlords to do the right thing.”
As the article mentions, they hope to get by on the technicality that they’re not discriminating on any protected classes. And it will be pretty hard to prove that a landlord is discriminating if they don’t explicitly ask for the information but just happen to make decisions that happen to correspond to the information…
Yeah if you use this service as a landlord you will get sued, and you will lose. You can’t outsource discrimination with hand-waving. If it looks like it’s super illegal, as a business you should run under the assumption that it is.
A timeless argument that’s always wrong.
Except they’re also not even giving landlords accurate data, they’ve created some junk algorithms to determine credit worthiness based on how frequently you talk about shopping on social media. That’s intentionally misleading and they must know that their algorithm is meaningless and correlates to how likely someone is to pay their rent on time just as much as the number of times someone hears a bird chirping outside.
I like that she got married ten times in March. I wonder what database schema they’re using. :)
Creepy startup called Facebook? They already do this kind of data-mining on your profile for their own benefit. The distinction between first party usage and third party usage is a matter of degrees I suppose.
Facebook’s usage is also a bit creepy, but I think is not as worrying as this case, as long as Facebook doesn’t sell the data (which I believe for now they don’t?), or expand into other markets other than ad-selling. So far they seem to use it exclusively for ad targeting. Which often does feel creepy, but is imo not nearly as bad as selling personal information to prospective landlords or employers would be.
Well they also offer it to other companies such as this one, intentionally or not. So directly or indirectly this company’s behaviour is Facebooks fault.