Disturbing new site scrapes your private Facebook and informs landlords, employers – CNET
Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that’s taken over our lives.
Euphemism is beautiful.
It holds within it darkness and creepiness and emits only softness and lightness.
For example, these words: “Unlocking big data to bring you insightful referencing.”
This is the promise of a new site called Score Assured.
Now let me tell you what this promise means.
Score Assured takes control of all your social media, scrapes it for keywords such as “loan,” “pregnant” and, who knows, “libertarian,” analyzes them and then offers a picture of the supposed real you to your potential landlord or employer.
Here’s the sheer joy of it. Your potential, say, landlord sends you a request for full access to your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or even Tinder account.
Once you say yes, Score Assured’s machines waft in and scan every word you’ve ever uttered in private online.
Then it filters all these words through neuro-linguistic programming and other fine software and gives a report to your landlord.
This report suggests that you’ll either be a fine tenant, a not-so-fine tenant or, who knows, that you’re into doing strange things with Samurai swords.
You might wonder if Score Assured feels slightly tawdry delving into your personals. Might it not feel like being a burglar going through someone’s underwear drawer? Might it also be against Facebook’s terms of service?
Neither Score Assured nor Facebook immediately responded to a request for comment.
You may not, however, be reassured by a comment made to The Washington Post by Score Assured’s UK-based co-founder, Steve Thornhill: “If you’re living a normal life, then, frankly, you have nothing to worry about.”
Why do these words remind me of then Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who opined about privacy in 2009, “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place”?
The onus is, indeed, on you to make sure that everything you do won’t be one day found by someone and interpreted in some — perhaps entirely false — way.
There’s no reason to believe that Score Assured’s “analysis” will offer in any way an accurate portrayal of who you are or your financial wherewithal.
States across the country are already preparing or enacting legislation to ensure that potential employers have no right to ask for your password to Facebook or other social media. In Washington, for example, it’s illegal for an employer to ask for your password.
Score Assured offers landlords and employers (the employer service isn’t live yet) the chance to ask for such passwords slightly more indirectly.
Psychologically, the company is preying on a weakness humans have been displaying for some time now: the willingness to give up their privacy to get something they think they really want.
Your choice, then, should you get one of these Score Assured requests, is to say no. Oh, and also to write to the potential landlord or employer and tell them what sad little creeps they are.
But what will you do?
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