Surveillance Tech: A New Weapon for Gentrification

Discrimination has always been a threat as landlords consider new tenants, but now there's new technology to potentially exacerbate the problem.
August 28, 2016, 11am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Marc Nozell

"The gentrification wars have a dangerous new weapon: invasive surveillance technology," according to an article by Dia Kayyali.

Among the evidence cited by Kayyali: "a disturbing tenant-screening software service called Tenant Assured," which "scans the LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook accounts of prospective tenants to create a 'comprehensive' personality profile and risk score."

The software tracks prospective tenants’ use of keywords like “poor” or “loan,” as well as activities such as frequent check-ins at bars. Using such information, the company boasts that it can highlight the top five personality traits of a potential tenant as well as any risks, offering features such as a “new to country alert.”

Kayyali goes on to list several other forms of surveillance is creeping into the real estate market in potentially discriminatory ways, including other algorithms that screen potential tenants and hidden cameras, deployed to spy on tenants.

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Published on Tuesday, August 23, 2016 in Quartz
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