This is the content of an email from Jeremy Baggott.  Worth reading.



VENTURA, Calif. (May 17, 2024) – Fearing the Chinese government could access sensitive user data through the video app TikTok, House lawmakers passed a bill last month that would ban the app if it isn’t sold to new owners. But a greater peril looms.

Mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are reportedly “bench-testing” an arrangement with a foreign AI firm in which the offshore firm will data-mine millions of images showing the personal spaces of U.S. homeowners and tenants.

If your home was appraised for a refinance or new mortgage in recent years, the lender likely sent a “property data collector” to take photos of your kitchen, living room, and each of your bedrooms and bathrooms. (Pressured by the Biden administration, government-backed enterprises Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are instructing lenders they no longer need to use state-licensed appraisers for the task.) The images of your home’s interior spaces, along with identifying information, were then likely uploaded to a server run by a vendor.

Now, according to a source, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have potentially caused millions of these images to be made available to an artificial-intelligence company headquartered in Barcelona, Spain, known as The images are then harvested for information with the help of artificial intelligence.

An automated inventory of a property’s contents, cross-referenced with the property’s address, would represent the holy grail for any advertiser, creditor, academic researcher, crime boss, investigator, sexual predator, gerrymanderer or hostile government. It represents the marriage of artificial intelligence, a visual-recognition technology known as “computer vision” and big data in the form of hundreds of millions of interior images for most of the nation’s 82 million single-family homes and 21 million apartment units. Does your home or apartment building have a mortgage? If so, its interior spaces, including all your visible possessions, have almost certainly been captured and uploaded.

The offshore firm is said to be testing, with Freddie and Fannie’s support, a portal that could be repurposed to allow unknown parties, including insiders at any of the partnering companies, to access a tagged catalog of items found in the home. While there’s no indication is tagging anything other than fireplaces, appliances and countertops, the source speculates an organization could simply purchase access to this data, so long as the party were willing to pay for it and integrate with the tool’s application programing interface or “API.” Or the data could be stolen by hackers.

A screening tool could be adapted to generate a list of American homes containing any conceivable combination of identifiable objects, limited only by the requester’s imagination. For example, it could compile a list of all American homes within a geographic area that contain a bassinet, shower grab bars, Black-Lives Matter imagery, a wheelchair, an image of the Dalai Lama, a Jewish menorah, a Frederic Remington bronze, a supplemental oxygen tank, a Muslim prayer rug, a framed military officer’s sword, a self-help book on combatting depression, a Ukrainian flag, a crucifix or a gun safe.

A key technology behind the tool is known as computer vision. It is a field of computer science that focuses on enabling computers to identify and understand objects and people in images and videos. The tool, which is owned by the Spanish company, was developed independently of Fannie and Freddie – though reportedly with the twins’ approval, encouragement and participation. It is said to be able to scan a single image and extract over 100 data points, ostensibly related only to the home’s quality, condition, repairs, flooring types and appliance models.

Fannie and Freddie together buy or guarantee 70% of America’s mortgage market but effectively define all requirements for a mortgage’s resale on the secondary market. The source believes Freddie and Fannie may have already provided, or instructed vendors to supply, millions of interior photos to help the offshore vendor train its machine-learning model. There are many open questions.

There is corroborating evidence of the activities for anyone to see. In June 2023, Fannie Mae announced the use of “image recognition technology” as a check on appraisals. Inman Intel reported in August last year that’s valuation product suite was “geared at modernizing the appraisal process and utilizing new Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac programs.”

It is believed Fannie has already instructed, or will soon instruct, its six official property data collection firms to begin a massive transfer of data to the Spanish company.  (In March 2023, Fannie announced it had named six exclusive vendors for something it calls “Value Acceptance and Property Data.”)

Kevin Hawkins of WAV Group reported last year that Fannie Mae had analyzed more than a million appraisals using image-recognition technology. This would almost certainly have been done through the offshore company. He wrote at that time that was already offering mortgage originators and appraisal management companies a [Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac]-compliant “image validation solution” with its computer vision technology. The site Crunchbase has also reported on Fannie Mae’s adoption of’s technology.

Always worrisome has been the fact that employees of government-sponsored Freddie and Fannie are not subject to Title V conflict-of-interest constraints as federal employees are. Employees of Freddie and Fannie also operate outside the U.S. Freedom of Information Act. The public is largely in the dark over much of the twins’ dealings.

“Interior photos show the location of valuables, safes, guns, security systems, security cameras, power main, children’s rooms, entrances and exits,” said Mary Cummins, a Los Angeles-based real estate appraiser and expert witness.  “Appraisers blur out people, photos of people and similar items. Property inspectors do not.

“You could end up having someone in another country looking at photos of your baby in a crib,” said Cummins. “The layout of the home is included in the [report]. Sometimes there is even a 3D photo layout which shows the exact location of the baby’s room and valuables in relation to entrances and exits. This data could end up in the wrong hands directly or through security breaches and pose a threat to the people living in the home.”
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Jeremy Bagott is a real estate appraiser and former newspaperman. His most recent book, “The Ichthyologist’s Guide to the Subprime Meltdown,” is a concise almanac that distills the cataclysmic financial crisis of 2007-2008 to its essence. This pithy guide to the upheaval includes essays, chronologies, roundups and key lists, weaving together the stories of the politics-infused Freddie and Fannie; the doomed Wall Street investment banks Lehman and Bear Stearns; the dereliction of duty by the Big Three credit-rating services; the mayhem caused by the shadowy nonbank lenders; and the massive government bailouts. It provides a rapid-fire succession of “ah-hah” moments as it lays out the meltdown, convulsion by convulsion.
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Contact: Jeremy Bagott, MAI, AI-GRS
Tel: 805-794-0555

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