Infographic: The Big Squeeze

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It’s hard, even impossible, to resist the siren of the algorithm. The lure of big tech and its promise to improve apartment operations only intensifies.

In turn, big tech is in the business of big data. There are few industries churning data as rich as multifamily. Apartment businesses house over half the nation’s residents. The extent and potential of this market is extremely attractive, even the next big horizon for tech firms. What are the risks to apartment business and its residents as public opinion, legislation and the effect of technology on our brains and society shift?

In a recent Wall Street Journal article, “Your Apps are Watching You,” 80 apps were tested by the authors, and all but one used third-party trackers for marketing, ads or analytics. They found an average four trackers on each app.

“Some apps send personal data without ever informing users in their privacy policies,” while others send info to Facebook, Google and mobile marketers.

Market un-share

At what point does a company become a monopoly? What is the threshold for recategorizing a self-declared communications platform into a national utility? When do we relent that those holding the control to a sizable percentage of the country’s social communications are not able to self-regulate? What do we risk by not acting?

Never in history have so few controlled so much, from minds to using principles of behavioral science to suede mass behavior.

Imagine the outcry had the phone company unilaterally disconnected service to certain customers based on a secret code of internal politics. And frame it as moral superiority.

After four decades of watching the digital world explode, the courts and legislature may, at once, feel the need to apply constitutional and standing law to mega tech operations. One thing is certain. Our self-made tech titans will not go quietly into the night. Power is too hard to come by.

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