Tuesday, February 20, 2007

What the...?

Photographers from a Canadian company are going house to house, shooting pictures of the roughly 300,000 houses in metropolitan Tucson.

It's part of an effort to photograph and appraise every house in the country, creating a database that can be sold to banks and insurance companies.

While the city attorney says the activity is perfectly legal, it has officials and some residents concerned about privacy rights.

And real estate agents, to whom the company hopes to market the information and pictures, question the value of the database.

Representatives of Zaio Corp. — the letters stand for "zone appraisal and imaging operations" — say the information will help loans get processed faster, ultimately benefiting consumers.
"In America, it takes seven days to get a residential appraisal and seven weeks to get a commercial appraisal," said Thomas Inserra, Zaio's chief executive officer. "Our company is the first in the world to apply state-of-the-art production technology to appraisals. Our goal is to produce an appraisal before they are actually needed."

Jo Ann Larsen, who confronted a photographer outside her Southeast Side home, said: "I know it's legal, but I don't think they should be able to put it on a Web site and make money off it without your permission. I get enough junk on a daily basis without this. I don't want any easier access into my life by anybody."

Zaio was formed in 2004 and already has completed appraisals in Spokane, Wash., and in Mesa. Inserra said the company is starting work in 170 cities this month, including Tucson.


...homeowners who want their dwellings' data removed [should] to go to Zaio's Web site, where they must provide an e-mail address to complete the process.

I hardly ever read the Spokesman, but where we ever informed about this? This makes me very nervous for some reason, and I am going to Zaio right now to get my name off their list. The link to that page is here.

Read the Arizona Daily Star article here.

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