Company Enables Tax Collectors To Spy on Property Owners

By MassPrivateI

Trust a corporation to turn property tax collectors into property owner surveillance operatives.

Deckard Technologies (DT) promotes Smart City surveillance by creating a program that allows tax collectors to surveil residents’ properties anytime they want.

If you hate corporate doublespeak like I do, then you will love DT’s explanation of how their product works.

Applying advanced data analytics, machine-learning and the talents of our data scientists, we identify, monitor and analyze real estate data and property activity for cities demanding answers with accuracy and precision.

Let’s start with their “advanced analytics that identifies, monitors and analyzes real estate data and property activity.” In a nutshell they use Google Earth or other satellite imagery of peoples homes and compare them to their building plans.

After a tax collector has looked at someone’s property they can fine the owner for any number of reasons, which in turn adds to that city’s bottom line. Turning government tax collectors into a for-profit business venture is infuriating.

Cities and towns use DT to identify Airbnbs

DT claims cities will profit from surveilling citizens’ properties,

Property issues can include unreported permits, illegal construction work, periodic rental bookings, varied nightly rates, different occupants, home-sharing options, seasonal trends, and an uneven patchwork of paperwork of rental permits and tax bills.

“Periodic rental bookings, varied nightly rates, different occupants, home-sharing options, seasonal trends” is more corporate doublespeak for Airbnbs or vacation rentals.

If DT sees people coming and going from an owner’s (suspect’s) property on a regular basis, guess what happens? Do you think the tax collector would notify law enforcement, so they can fine or ticket the owner? Of course they would, and that is the real danger of using DT.

Time after time we see terrible examples of cities using law enforcement by fining and ticketing citizens which is then used to pay for police salaries or pad city budgets.

A new report from the Institute for Justice warns,

When cities use their enforcement powers more to raise revenue than to protect the public, they risk violating people’s rights.

And that is exactly what DT’s product does,

We model and produce highly refined real estate datasets into visual reports and detailed individual property profiles for our customers.

Allowing government employees to get “detailed individual property profiles” of an owner’s property, turns tax collectors into pseudo-probation officers who use numerous investigative techniques, looking for illicit behavior.

One of the most disconcerting things about DT, is that it gives government employees unwarranted access to people’s properties, which can and will be abused.

DT’s motto of, “Transforming Real Estate Data Into Actionable Insights” should really say, “Surveilling Everyone’s Homes Without A Warrant Provides Revenues.”

Using satellites to spy on people’s property so states can profit from it is a terrible idea.

It is so hard for me to put into words how I feel about tax collectors joining the ranks of Big Brother. I mean where does it end?


You can read more at MassPrivateI, where this article first appeared.

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