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Motoko Rich in the New York Times House & Home Section has an article about “a growing problem” for renters — computerized databases of people who have been taken to court by their landlords and successfully defended themselves. These databases, Rich writes, effectively punish renters for exercising their constitutional rights. One of the biggest offenders is the California-based U. D. Registry, but there is also a national company called Registry SafeRent.

It’s a serious problem, and it’s good to see The Times covering it. But its also an old problem: back in 1988, I wrote my Masters’ Thesis on the same topic. And David Burnham wrote about the problem in his 1984 book The Rise of the Computer State. The UD Registry has been around since the early 1970s.

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