ENTRIES TAGGED "data divide"

Strata Week: The data divide is growing

Is data collection entering discriminatory territory? Also, big data's role in crime fighting and its debut in the NBA.

Data mining opens new doors for discrimination, marginalization

In a post at Scientific American, Michael Fertik took a look at how Internet data collection practices are beginning to create an unequal — even discriminatory — online environment. Fertik writes:

“For most of the Internet’s short history, the primary goal of this data collection was classic product marketing: for example, advertisers might want to show me Nikes and my wife Manolo Blahniks. But increasingly, data collection is leapfrogging well beyond strict advertising and enabling insurance, medical and other companies to benefit from analyzing your personal, highly detailed ‘Big Data’ record without your knowledge. Based on this analysis, these companies then make decisions about you — including whether you are even worth marketing to at all.”

The consequences of such detailed data mining run deep. Fertik notes that advances in online data mining are enabling companies to “skirt the spirit of the law” and make discriminatory choices in who receives credit or loan offers, for example, by simply not displaying online offers to less credit-attractive users. “If you live on the wrong side of the digital tracks,” he says, “you won’t even see a credit offer from leading lending institutions, and you won’t realize that loans are available to help you with your current personal or professional priorities.”

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