With very little overview of why the amount of data is being stored in the first place, where it’s being stored, and how long it’s being stored, Dominello said a complete rethink of data collection for any purpose, including real estate, is needed.
“When you consider the extraordinary cost of cybercrime in the country, running into tens of millions of dollars, it becomes clear that there are significant problems when it comes to sharing personal information,” he said.
“There definitely needs to be a rethink of what information we absolutely need to share, how long that information should be shared, and when that information should be destroyed.
“It is clear that much of the architecture we have today was built in the last century, in a world that the digital age did not envision.
“I would support a holistic review of data sharing. Given how many people are renting out their homes, it makes sense that this is an area of high impact and deserves special attention.”
Leo Patterson, chief executive of the NSW tenants’ union, said they would support a general inquiry into the property industry’s technology and privacy practices as so many issues go unchecked.
“Part of the problem was that things kept popping up that we didn’t know about until tenants brought them to our attention. In fact, we would miss the practices we are concerned about,” Patterson said.
“A lot of people didn’t pay attention to that in the regulatory arena. A lot of strange things happen on the edges. In general, one should certainly look at the responsibilities of real estate agencies, but also of the third-party platforms that provide services to agencies.”
But the lease application process was the union’s biggest concern because tenants routinely provide so much sensitive information, Patterson said.
Joel Dignam, Executive Director of Better Renting, also supported the government’s obligation to review the necessary data collected for rental applications and how it is stored.
Dignam proposed a single mandatory rental application form to limit what agents can charge tenants, similar to what the South Australian Liberals have proposed.
He also said that a central rental application portal, similar to bonds, is another potential way to reform the space.
“If the government is more involved to ensure the process is done in a safer way and that individual landlords are taken out, that’s certainly a positive change,” he said.