Property web site takes snooping a step further
It's simple these days to find vast amounts of free real estate information online, including photos of houses for sale, value estimates and recent sales data - information that until recently was hard for most consumers to find...
Government databases of property records for years have been sold to private companies who use them for marketing purposes, among other things, said Lee Tien, senior staff attorney for San Francisco's Electronic Frontier Foundation, which addresses such questions as whether the government should be archiving as much information as it does.
"Public records have always been a double-edged sword for privacy, but it didn't hit us in the face most of the time," the way it does in the Internet age, he said. Some consumers will be upset about PropertyShark's display of data, he said, "then we'll have a public dialogue about it, which is the way it has to be."