Here’s a shout out to all of you who said “If I’ve got nothing to hide I’ve got nothing to fear” after the Snowden revelations. And this little gem deals only with publicly available information about you. Imagine what it’s like when it gets into the good stuff you think is private.
An Orwellian startup called Tenant Assured will to take a deep dive into your social media, including chats, check-ins, how many times you’ve posted words like pregnant, wasted, busted, no money, broke, moving back in with the parents, weed, or loan, and deliver to potential landlords and employers a “personality score.”
While many people already Google folks they might rent to or hire, this new service aggregates a mountain of information and then evaluates it. At the end, someone gets some numbers that describe you (see sample reports, below,) with little idea how those numbers came to be determined.
How many times did you check-in at a bar? Are you a drunk who’ll screw up at work? How often does your relationship status change? Same sex relationships? Evidence of drug use? Political affiliation?
The report will also assess your “financial stress level” as a breakdown of five personality traits: extraversion, neuroticism, openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness.
The company says it is aware that some of the information it gathers cannot legally be used to decline a loan, lease or job, but nicely covers itself. “All we do is give them the information,” a spokesperson said. “It’s up to landlords to do the right thing.”
The company states its goal as “you won’t hire a dog sitter or book an Airbnb without first viewing a social media dossier,” as compiled by the company.
Welcome to your future. We’ll soon be looking back on the Snowden revelations as quaint.
A sample report:
Peter Van Buren blew the whistle on State Department waste and mismanagement during Iraqi reconstruction in his first book, We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People. His latest book is Ghosts of Tom Joad: A Story of the #99 Percent. Reprinted from the his blog with permission.