Estate agent’s hi-tech house tour exposes personal dataon April 13, 2021 at 1:29 pm

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

House listing on Rightmove reveals “treasure trove of private data”.

Viewers could select a room of the house to explore

image copyrightFowlers Estate Agents

An estate agent has apologised after a 3D tour of a house for sale in Devon was published with a substantial amount of personal information visible.

Financial paperwork in the study could be read by zooming in on the image.

It included a shares dividend cheque, an insurance policy document and an invoice for a stairlift. Some family photos had also been left unblurred.

Fowlers estate agent said the private data in the virtual tour had “slipped past” its staff and the home owner.

The house was available on the property platform Rightmove, and appears to have been live since October 2020. Additional stills photographs of the property showed empty rooms.

The firm’s owner Philip Fowler told the BBC that the firm had withdrawn the 3D tour along with all of its others for further review and said the firm “takes our clients’ privacy very seriously”. The owner of the home had given “verbal permission” for the video to be used, he added.

“We will be more diligent in the future,” Mr Fowler said.

He also said that people choosing the 3D tour to help sell their properties were advised to put away sensitive material before the photos were taken.

the study of the house (soft)

image copyrightFowlers Estate Agents

Other identifiable data about the home-owners in the property included the names of their pets on a photograph (pet names are commonly used as passwords), clues about their political views based on their choices of reading material, and their health – an asthma inhaler was visible in one of the bedrooms.

The BBC has alerted the Information Commissioner’s Office.

The video was discovered by Carole Theriault, co-host of the Smashing Security podcast, who said she was “gobsmacked” by the amount of personal information on display.

“There is way too much information on show for anybody watching the 3D virtual tour to see,” she said.

“It’s a treasure trove of private data – a veritable goldmine for identity thieves, phishers, you name it.”

Some family photos had been blurred.

image copyrightFowlers Estate Agent

3D tours have become more popular for house-sellers, especially during the pandemic.

Carissa Veliz, author of Privacy is Power, said the estate agent should have taken more care.

“We are much better at collecting personal data than we are at keeping it safe, but if we can’t keep it safe, we shouldn’t be collecting it in the first place,” she said.

- Advertisement -




How to Convert Your Business Letter Format to PDF

It's fairly easy to convert any business letter format to PDF, though the process can be a little tricky. I'll show you the steps...

Europe floods: Merkel shocked by ‘surreal’ devastationon July 18, 2021 at 2:00 pm

The chancellor vows to fast-track aid after visiting some of the worst-hit areas in western Germany.image copyrightEPAGerman Chancellor Angela Merkel has expressed shock at...

Liverpool 2-0 Crystal Palace: Sadio Mane double seals Champions League qualificationon May 23, 2021 at 6:31 pm

A Sadio Mane double helps Liverpool beat Crystal Palace and seal Champions League qualification at Anfield.By Phil McNultyBBC Sport Chief Football Writer, at AnfieldThe...

Greensill row: Civil servants ordered to declare second jobson April 14, 2021 at 8:37 pm

Concern over officials' links to failed bank Greensill Capital spark a crackdown in Whitehall.image copyrightPA MediaGovernment departments have been ordered to find out by...

Eggborough Power Station’s remaining towers demolishedon October 10, 2021 at 4:24 pm

The 300ft (90m) high structures in Eggborough were demolished as part of redevelopment plans.The last four remaining cooling towers at the former Eggborough Power...