The feud about `data mining`and unauthorized and unsupervised use of Pending (not public) Realty Listing info

Executive Summary
Ms Pigg is aiding and abetting persons who want to violate the rules, regulations etc they voluntarily signed to become part of the Realtor(tm) community, TorStar is assisting those registrants who are seeking to violate of the “trust” that our community has established with owners of properties offered for the sale and the editors who allowed half-a-story to run (TREB is caught between feuding clans of members, and so chose not to air our dirty laundry) under a bold and stupid-when-you-know-the-facts headline is either advancing a personal-agenda item, advancing a friend’s business or under instructions to sell newspapers regardless of integrity (we can apologise later – Run it!)

Dear Editors Toronto Star
cc TREB
cc CREA

‎When someone entrusts you with a piece of data about themselves, they do so under certain conditions, call it the “terms of engagement”.
If you violate those terms you not only destroy your own integrity, but you have betray the trust that the data owner relied upon when they gave you permission to use the data about themselves.
The situation your reporter partially-describes is about recently sold data (“pending”)  – properties under a binding contract to sell/buy but not-yet closed (money and deed exchanged) and registered on the public, Ontario Land Titles system.
The debate within the registered-and-regulated-under-Provincial-Statute, Realtor ™ community is whether the “terms of engagement”  (the Listing Agreement) concerning “permissions”, “supervision over data integrity” and “recourse in the event of abuse” are violated when:
a) a registered, regulated, insured and Code of Ethics-bound TREB member personally, creates and then presents/ sends, a prospective client a package of properties that are 1) Active For Sale, 2) Completed&Public Historic Sold, AND 3) “pending” recently Sold but not registered and public;
or
b) when a member of the public, identified only by an email address, logs onto a Realtor(tm)-operated Website and creates for themselves that same package of 1) Active, 2) Completed Sold and 3) “pending” sold properties.
The concept of listing a property on a Multiple Listing Service -“MLS(tm)”- with a Realtor(tm) implicitly and explicitly involves the owner giving permission for the property info AND many personal details (Name of all parties on Title, mortgage lender and amounts, pictures of the interior, list of personal property also-included/excluded from offering- ALL of this linked to a municipal address …where these “goodies” can be found) to be distributed to members in good standing of the Realtor(tm) association.
Implicitly the owner expects their data to be used under the supervision of a registered and insured person and the privacy/sanctity of the personal info contained within the property-offering to not be used for any other purpose than “trading in Real Estate”.
Explicitly the Listing agreement states this too PLUS the TREB MLS(tm) Bylaws, Rules, Regulations and Online Service Agreement between the Toronto-based Realtor(tm) association and its members stipulates authorized use of the data entrusted to the Listing Broker, complied and distributed by TREB and available to all members in good standing.
In addition, the property owner knows that every Realtor(tm) in Ontario has Errors and Omissions insurance – if a registrant violates their duty of care and/or fiduciary responsibilities the courts offer a remedy and the E & EO insurance is available to pay the claim.
In my opinion, in the #a case above, the permissions, supervisions and recourse “terms of engagement” are not violated.
Concerning #b above, a scantly-identified email address-holder logging in to a website and looking at 1) Active Solds and 2) Completed Historic Solds is not at issue, since the Actives are available everywhere, and the Historic Sold are public. THE ONLY issue is whether the property owner’s terms of engagement explicitly or even implicitly allow a non-registered, non-regulated, not-insured, not-bound-to-Code-of-Ethics, email address-holder to “data mine” the details of the owner’s pending Agreement of Purchase and Sale WITHOUT the supervision of a legally-liable Realtor(tm) – supervision and recourse. (NB the Buyer is involved too, but less so, and only indirectly because their names etc are not identified on the pending sold)
It is my view that the so-characterized  “tech-savvy generation of realtors(sic) who believe that all MLS(sic) data — and especially sales histories of homes — should be readily accessible online” are not pioneers or specially-adaptive or innovative ground-breakers —they are simply rule-breakers who have bamboozled your dewy-eyed reporter and the Competition Bureau (but not including the former Commissioner – the Anti-Trust and Competition specialist who made her career engaging the ‘babes in arms’ volunteer-Directors of the Canadian Real Estate Association and has now returned to her former firm – who she deployed every time to act FOR the Competition Bureau against CREA with a little help from law-school colleague now-registered Realtor(tm) Lawrence Dale).
So, please re-read the Ms Pigg’s Feb 6th advertorial/ op-ed piece again with a fuller appreciation of the situation
You now appreciate why “others are scambling to comply” and why the TREB info manager and CEO laid down the law to members who wish to refuse to comply, and wish to dare to defy the rules everyone else obeys and abides by. These self-promoters have all kinds of time to introduce themselves and their companies to a wider audience when they bald-facedly expound half-truths that advance their position to anyone who will listen – NO publicity is bad publicity.
The audacity of anyone (ie not only Realtors(tm)) holding themselves out as ‘crusaders for the consumer’ while actually just tooting their own horn drives me crazy.
In this case, Ms Pigg is aiding and abetting persons who want to violate the rules, regs etc they voluntarily signed to become part of the Realtor(tm) community, TorStar is assisting those registrants who are seeking to violate of the “trust” that our community has established with owners of properties offered for the sale and the editors who allowed half-a-story to run (TREB is caught between feuding clans of members, and so chose not to air our dirty laundry) under a bold and stupid-when-you-know-the-facts headline is either advancing a personal-agenda item, advancing a friend’s business or under instructions to sell newspapers regardless of integrity (we can apologise later – Run it!)
Feel free to contact me the next time you want a balanced story on GTA real estate.
Yours truly,
rce

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