British startup Score Assured is offering landlords and employers an opportunity to gather 'evidence' of peoples' personalities and habits by collecting and analysing applicants' social media activity across multiple platforms:
After your would-be landlord sends you a request through the service, you're required to grant it full access to your Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and/or Instagram profiles. From there, Tenant Assured scrapes your site activity, including entire conversation threads and private messages; runs it through natural language processing and other analytic software; and finally, spits out a report that catalogues everything from your personality to your "financial stress level."
"If you're living a normal life," [Score Assured co-founder Steve Thornhill…] reassures me, "then, frankly, you have nothing to worry about."
In fact, Thornhill sees his product as empowering both landlords and tenants: the former, to make more informed decisions about whom they rent to and spot lies on applications; the latter, to present a fuller, more accurate picture of themselves than might be available in a credit report or background check.
"Empowering" and "normal" used to be such innocuous words…
With a little luck Facebook and the other social media platforms will decide that this sort of deep dive into users' data is an abuse of their terms of service and will pull Score Assured's access to their API.
In a slightly darker timeline, the lesson Facebook will learn from this is that, what with people having multiple identities being a sign of a lack of integrity, it'd be best for us all if potential employers / tenants used Facebook's shiny new reference confirmation service (priced very reasonably) instead of relying on dodgy middlemen to figure out what applicants aren't telling them.
[Via The Null Device]
I'm glad Rui Carmo mentioned this, because I'd not been aware that AgileBits are dropping support for using 1PasswordAnywhere from Dropbox: 1
In the coming days, 1PasswordAnywhere (the 1Password.html file within your Agile Keychain folder) will stop working for 1Password data stored in Dropbox. We know that this feature was important to some of our customers, so we want to lay out your options and help you figure out a way forward.
It's all very well for AgileBits to argue that most users will have access to a phone or a tablet that supports the 1Password app, but having to look up a potentially quite complicated password on your tablet or phone and then type it in on the desktop's web browser to get access to a site is destined to be a real pain.
This isn't a big enough deal to make me consider dropping 1Password - not least because most of my desktop computing is done on my Mac Mini and that has a nice OS X client for 1Password installed - but if I was, say, at work 2 it was always nice to have the option of secure access to my password data on any modernish PC/browser setup you came across.
Khoi Vinh has posted a transcript of a thought-provoking discussion he had with Google UI engineer and student of computer user interfaces in film and TV Kirill Grouchnikov about, among other things, how fictitious user interfaces both reflect and influence real-world technology:
[Khoi Vinh]: It's a fair point that there's always been bad writing. I guess the difference though is that in the analog age, very, very few people ever actually had to defuse a bomb. Whereas today, everyone uses phones, laptops and who knows what kind of screens on a daily basis. So a screen as a plot device is much more familiar, yet it seems like the way a lot of movies overcome that quotidian nature is by trying to make them seem more fantastical, rather than trying to make them seem more believable.[…]
[Kirill Grouchnikov]: [Screens…] themselves are just a skin-deep manifestation of the information that surrounds us. They might look fancy and over-the-top, as you say, but that's a pixel-level veneer to make them look good for the overall visual impact of a production. I think that most of what those screens or plotline devices are trying to do is to hint at the technological capabilities available to people or organizations who are operating those screens. That's where it goes to what I was saying earlier: the incredible advances in technology in so many areas, as well as the availability of those advances to the mass consumer market.
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