Does data miners know TOO much of our information or is data mining helpful to today’s society?

Have you ever paid attention to the ads on the side of your Facebook page? Have you noticed random tweets or foods from companies you love to shop with? Even companies you’ve never heard of before? Does this creep you out? Have you ever thought about how these ads ending up in your view?

Altough data mining is a new term, the process or practice of data mining is not. Data mining is described as the process of large stores automatically searching to discover patterns and trends of Internet user. Data miners collect this data using information from Facebook pages, Twitter pages, online purchases, even Internet searches. Even now when you go shopping at the mall, stores like Victoria Secret asks for your email in an effort to collect data. Have you ever asked an associate what did they need your email for when purchasing at a store? I have! Her response was something to the reference of them tracking the purchases I’ve made in stores so that when or if a sale for those products come up, I’ll receive an email about the sale. So say that I go into Victoria Secret and buy a bra and some make up, within the next few weeks I’ll be bombarded with emails from Victoria Secret on every bra that comes out.

Some advantages of data mining is that companies already know what you’re looking for while shopping on certain sites, which makes online shopping a lot easier and quicker. It also helps with marketing, helping companies build campaigns from the results of profitable products. Some disadvantages are privacy issues. How do we know that out information isn’t being misused or can’t get hacked? Also, data can be misused or even be inaccurate,

So, are data miners collecting to much of our information? Is this harmful to us? In Joel Stein’s article, Russell Glass states the newness of this industry is what scares people. Ryan Calo, a standard law school professor, argues that data mining does no actual damage. Many believe that the real problem with data mining is when data is wrong. Justin Brookman, director of the Center for Democracy and Technology says that “It’s one thing to see bad ads because of bad information about you. It’s another thing if you’re not getting a credit card or a job because of bad information.”

I personally agree with Ryan Calo, I don’t think there is any “real damage or harm” caused by data mining. But I do believe there should be some type of options to people that don’t want information collected every time they log onto their computer or touch a button on their phone. It’s almost as scary as being followed and a stalker knowing your every move. Everybody is not comfortable with sharing information.

Turkle refers to data mining as a panopticon; a circular prison invented by the 18th century philosopher, Jeremy Bentham, where you can’t tell if you’re being observed, so you assume that you always are. Lee Tien, senior staff attorney for Electrical Frontier Foundation, says that back in the day we were “private by default, public by  effort.” Nowadays it’s the other way around.

The Internet is becoming more and more open. Many miners believe that Facebook has the most valuable trove of data ever assembled. Data mining companies “scope” all of your personal data that’s not set to private and sells it to any outside party that’s interested.

So what happens when those data sets are used for life transactions? Do you think that the Federal Trade Commission should put more effort into “protecting consumers?” What information should be available for public use and what shouldn’t?

http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2058205-6,00.html

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31 thoughts on “Does data miners know TOO much of our information or is data mining helpful to today’s society?

  1. spgregor January 22, 2015 / 12:37 pm

    I personally feel that consumers should have more protection from data mining. While the initial thought of data mining seems innocent enough, it can quickly be used the wrong way. If the data being collected was really only used to track our preferences when shopping and to show us similar items or sales that may interest us then I wouldn’t be so concerned over it. However, as with most things it seems to have been taken a step further and is being used in ways not initially intended. Do insurance companies have the right to pull the data out of black boxes in cars to see what occurred to try to get out of covering an accident even though the police report shows their insured driver was not at fault? It has been done. What is even scarier is the possibility of the data miners sharing inaccurate information with possible employers, etc. With the rate of identity theft increasing I would imagine the rate of inaccurate data would be also. Correcting inaccurate information is not a quick, easy process and how do you correct it with a prospective employee? Sharing our shopping preferences is one thing, sharing our more personal information is an entirely different situation.

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  2. Brandon Coulter January 22, 2015 / 7:22 pm

    Consumers and individuals who frequently use the Internet are faced with accepting different Terms and Conditions on an almost daily basis. Within these Terms and Conditions are the descriptions of how your information is being used and what the true intent of its usage is. The problem is this: no one reads that crap. The “fine” print as I will put it has been skipped over in literature for centuries, with the Internet’s guidelines being the newest abuse of policy reading. I am not here to scrutinize those of you who do not read these rules of use, as I am among you as well. For those of you who are truly concerned with exactly what you are getting yourself into, however, I will say that you can click “No” after reading through the extensive and boring guidelines. Once we accept those Terms and Conditions, however, it is too late. Our information is immediately stored and shared to peak our interests across the web. Yes, they have our information. No, I truly don’t care when an ad pops up for something that is being suggested to me based on my interests. It isn’t as terrifying as individuals lead it to be. I will agree that a stricter set of guidelines should be placed to easily allow individuals to op out of being tracked through their information. For those of us that are stuck using the Internet still on a daily basis to assist us in every aspect of our lives to the point of us being completely useless and altogether hopeless without it, I think that we can deal with a few ad pop-ups every now and again.

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  3. Carly Hernandez January 22, 2015 / 10:45 pm

    By now I think that more and more customers are realizing that the information they give out, either on the internet or shopping, is being used in a way that certainly invades their privacy. For example, I made have separate email accounts for different things. One is for school, one is for work and one is for when I have to sign up for things in-store or online. I thought by using an email that doesn’t contain my name or any personal information that I wouldn’t get any ads in the mail. The fact is, I still got coupons in the mail and somehow these “data miners” found out a lot more about me then I realized.

    I don’t think that we can delegate anymore what information the public can and cannot see. When I first realized that the sites I was visiting and the things I was buying were showing up as ads on my Facebook page I was definitely concerned. How did they know what I was buying and what sites I was visiting? I felt like it was an invasion of privacy and I truly realized then that nothing is private anymore. I don’t necessarily feel like it is generally harmful but I do feel that there should be more rules and regulations put into action for our protection. I think that the Federal Trade Commission is doing their job but I definitely think that there should be improvements. No matter how hard we try there is always going to be a way that someone or something will be able to access our information and sell our records.

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  4. asibo January 23, 2015 / 6:55 pm

    When reading Joel Stein’s article “Data Mining: How Companies Now Know Everything About You,” I was pleasantly surprised at how little companies seem to know about the internet users whose data they buy or log. I was at least surprised and somewhat comforted by how inaccurate this information seems to be, as this data is often is used to fit people into boxes that are apparently indicated by what would be stereotypical buying and behavior patterns online. As Stein indicates, he was simultaneously believed to be “an 18-to-19 year-old woman” and “a 35-to-44-year-old married male with a graduate degree living in L.A.” Personally, as someone who has bought a fair amount of jewelry and Hello Kitty memorabilia online for my girlfriend, companies probably assume I’m a female in her early twenties, instead of a male in his early twenties. The fact that I’ve been followed by a “Tanzanite Trillion Diamond Ring” advertisement while online seems to support that fact. While it might be a little disconcerting that I’m being tailed by ad, “it’s not a barbeque-pit master stalking me, which would indeed by creepy; it’s an algorithm designed it give me more useful, specific ads” (Stein). Since companies are so dependent upon search history and online behavior, it can be fairly easy to deceive by simply conducting a few atypical Google searches and Amazon queries in order to throw off algorithms from knowing who you really are.

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  5. eakoonter January 24, 2015 / 12:38 am

    I always thought data mining was interesting. When I was younger, I never really paid attention to the ads on websites. Then one day, I stopped and looked at the side of the page and thought it was coincidence that I visited Target.com and a Target ad popped up. Two years ago, when I got engaged, Facebook advertisements were all about marriages and wedding planning. Now, after being married, they’re all about pregnancies. It’s quite ridiculous. I do feel that the Federal Trade Commission should be doing a better job and not allowing data mining to be so personal, but at the same time it is good marketing.

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    • efekete January 26, 2015 / 3:45 am

      @eakoonter That is interesting. I never paid much attention to side banner advertisements till recently too. I find it especially entertaining on pandora, when they base your music choices on what kind of advertisements you want to hear. I get a lot of ads for weight lifting supplements, I have no idea why. I guess they just recognize based on what I listen too that most likely I am a twenty something year old male, and therefore is concerned about getting huge muscles. Another weird thing I’ve noticed too is if you watch the 6:30pm news on ABC the commercials are all for either erectile dysfunction, arthritis, or incontinence. I guess the main demographic for the evening news are senior citizens. Makes me second guess my viewing choices.

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  6. adrianhormsby January 24, 2015 / 3:31 am

    Definitely yes, the FTC should put more effort into protecting consumer privacy. As was pointed out in the readings, the law and regulation of data mining practices is so far behind what is happening on the ground that they’ll never catch up. Even if laws were in place it would take such an effort to enforce it at the level of the private citizen as to render it effectively useless. Reality is data mining is now a huge corporation with the ways and especially the means to jump all the hurdles. We as consumers are truly the David’s trying to fight Goliath on this issue. Whole marketing courses in business schools are devoted to the science of gathering consumer information and targeting them with a tailored product. Their holy grail is to gather data that is so granular that they can pick off their consumers like a sniper. Never before have marketers had such a wealth of personal data that can be traced back to our specific preferences, needs and subsequent spending habits. It’s absolutely scary when you think of that way. I personally think none of our information should be public. For those of you who did the spoken.com exercise, it’s horrifying to know that your personal information including your private address (highlighted on a map), home phone, names of family members and even date of birth are all available for the low now discounted price of just $3.99. Perhaps like the state tax on gasoline used for repairing crumbling roads, the Federal Government could take a portion of the $3.99 that spokeo gets on yours and my personal information and invest it directly into the FTC to give us just a semblance of some privacy. Wouldn’t that be novel.

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  7. Ms.McCollum January 24, 2015 / 4:32 am

    I would agree that there isn’t necessarily harm with data mining and that there should be an option to opt out. It’s actually sad that it should exist because it shouldn’t be a worry in the first place. I described myself as a Worried by the Wayside privacy management individual. I know that it data mining is an issue, but there isn’t anything I can do about that unless I go off the grid. Even then my former information is still out there. It definitely scares people that their every move is being tracked; it really is a form of privacy invasion.

    On one hand, if these companies have a goal to only sell a product then where’s the harm? Yes, it is extremely annoying to have adds pop-up all of the time or to see tweets by companies I don’t even follow but I just keep scrolling. There are always going to be people who can hack into our systems and steal really valuable information, but we cannot be fearful every day that it will happen. Which is why I don’t think the Federal Trade Commission should put more effort into “protecting consumers.” If they implemented more strict guideline businesses would have a field day of complaints.

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  8. mvzang January 24, 2015 / 8:20 am

    Of course there are going to be many points of view on the topic of data-mining, and while I’m one to lean against certain types of data-mining, the reality is there are too many companies taking too much information. If it was as simple as tracking what types of hunting gear, electronics, or even types of clothing a user likes, I could see that as a useful tool in ones arsenal. But as we all know, the more information a company has on its user, the higher amount of money they can charge and to what end. If there is no way of stopping these companies maybe someday they’ll create a stronger version of cookies called flash-cookies to extract more information. Or maybe they’ll create data harvesting tools known as web-bugs or pixels, oh wait? They already have.
    On the topic of major life purchases and data-mining we need to be very careful about how much information we allow to be used. As we all know there is a lot of personal information contained within these documents such as full names, dates of birth, social security numbers, and even relatives information. With just these simple pieces of information in the wrong hands, one could have loans opened, vehicles purchased, and even credit cards opened in their names. Identity theft is one of the most committed and costly crimes today. With that being said, yes people’s intimate information needs to be protected at all costs. It can be a very traumatic experience trying to correct your life after someone has stolen your identity.

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  9. mvzang January 24, 2015 / 8:50 am

    Thanks Blcarr for analyzing the articles, well done. There is so much to be said. I agree with you there are a lot of perks to all the tracking we are capable of doing with GPS systems in phones and cars, and I believe safety is paramount. Cell providers have been able to help track down everyone from robbery suspects who have just committed a crime to the elderly who are senile and lost. It has been a tool on the belt of local law enforcement for a number of years, but on the other hand it’s also been used by larger government entities to, for lack of better terms “spy” on their people. It’s easy to look at all the catastrophic events that were thwarted by the technology like the example you mention in your blog, but it’s another thing to look at everyone! Very few people in this country are the ones committing crimes, so why watch all?

    There has to be a safeguard in place for the people. We have a right not to be watched by “big brother” while carrying out our daily lives. In the article Everything You Need to Know About PRISM, mentions that there have been obvious overstepping of boundaries when collecting data and no one able to prevent it. There isn’t anyone able to keep the NSA in check because any investigation into what they’re looking at could jeopardize their investigation. Sounds like they’re just giving us the run-around and that scares me the most. If there aren’t any checks and balances on the NSA, what will stop them from going too far?

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  10. kevinpayton1 January 25, 2015 / 12:05 am

    Data mining to me seems to be more of a marketing tool rather than a security issue, but if the info is used for other purposes or made public it does become a issue of too much information. It appears that the information collected from viewers is used to target potential customers for sales rather than for devious purposes. Its problem is rooted in the manner in which the information is collected; without the persons consent. Some buying habits or frequented web pages of internet users could be damaging to their career or social life. The problem is that the info collected goes to the highest bidder. I don’t recall the exact year or time that all of a sudden Dicks Sporting Goods needs to know my zip code when I check out but I don’t think it is any of their business. Data mining is almost like filling out survey and not knowing you are. I noticed now also, how amazon thinks it knows what kind of music I like even though I have never purchased any music from them. Also with these beacons and cookies being installed on our computers, I question why is there not a program being marketed to be able to block these unwanted data collectors?

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  11. nebior January 25, 2015 / 12:52 am

    I feel that data mining can be a very useful marketing tool and I do not mind when companies use techniques to find out more about me. When advertisements on websites pertain to me I feel like I am having a more customized browsing experience. I do not mind these companies knowing things about me because sometimes the promotions you receive in emails are actually pretty good deals that actually have to do with something you would buy from one of their companies. If I see video game advertisements or get a catalog in my email from GameStop because I am always on video game websites then that is great. The emails I get and ads I see actually have something to do with me for a change.

    I know many people are worried about data mining, even if they do not know that is what it is called, but I would show those people Joel Stein’s Data Mining: How Companies Know Everything About You. This article really showed me how inaccurate that gathered information might be. I found some of the information gathered about Joel to be rather funny because if its inaccuracy. I think that this article could be very comforting to someone that is worried about their online data being collected and sold.

    –Ben Walker

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  12. cseejay January 25, 2015 / 3:24 pm

    I doubt that there will ever be an “opt out” button for collecting your data but I do know of applications that extension that can be used to prevent websites from tracking you. It’s as simple of searching the settings of whatever browser you use and downloading the blocker. I’ve personally never used one myself because even though I’m being tracked on certain sites I use ad blocker, so I never see ads regardless (it’s awesome incase you’re wondering). Ultimately, when it comes to the list in Internet security issue raised within the last few years, I think data mining should be at the bottom of the list or not even listed (yet). I think there are other more important things regarding privacy that I think once dealt with, its effects will trickle down and the mining issue will sort its self out. I agree with other post that, corporations tracking you when you visit or make a purchase comes with the territory and it’s one of those things I think people just deal with because it doesn’t seem to be too harmful (yet), and until it’s proven to be I don’t think people will pay much attention to mining.

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  13. mwiedmeyer January 25, 2015 / 5:43 pm

    I think data miners do know too much. I’m a very private person, and the fact that strangers on the internet know more about me than a lot of my friends do. Now, them knowing too much about me isn’t necessarily harmful to me, but the real problem lies in when it does become harmful. It’s too easy for the wrong person to get ahold of my location, phone number, email, and full name, as we saw on the Spokeo website.
    Just yesterday, I had someone I’ve never spoken to before contact me through the messenger on a game app on my iPhone and start hitting on me. I explained to him that I have a boyfriend and I wasn’t really looking to make friends. He then asked me where I live, which scared the heck out of me. I changed my username, which used to be the same as my username on here, mwiedmeyer, and got rid of my profile picture, but by searching my username online he could have found my Twitter and easily found my location, and that terrified me. There’s too much of my information online, and it makes me very uncomfortable.

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  14. bjuhasz10 January 25, 2015 / 5:49 pm

    While I have argued in previous posts why government surveillance can be beneficial to the safety and well being of our country, I don’t think data mining provides much benefit for users in terms of safety. For this reason, I believe that we should be able to choose whether to be data mined or not. As mentioned above, I don’t think there will ever be an “opt out” button for data collection, but I think more resources should be made available to prevent data miners from accessing information. I also think data mining should be made more apparent, i.e. when someone data mines you, you should be notified.

    Similar to government surveillance, problems don’t really arise from data mining initially. The problems start when your private information falls into the wrong hands, when it is hacked, or when it is sold. Luckily, for most of us, this information only consists of things like shopping habits, links we have clicked, websites visited, etc. However, when data miners get access to things like credit cards, social security, home addresses, phone numbers, or emails, what seems like harmless data mining can quickly turn into a huge problem for an individual.

    While it is nice to save a few seconds on Amazon because they already know my previous shopping habits, I am fearful of the potential problems caused by data mining. Ultimately I believe the impending problems that can arise from data mining (like having your important data stolen) massively outweigh the limited benefits (like having ads that relate to your interests).

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  15. jaemillz411 January 25, 2015 / 8:09 pm

    I have always noticed that the advertisements on the websites I visited were weirdly relevant to my likes or previous searches. I found it helpful, but I thought it was just by chance. Now that I know it was not, I feel like it is an invasion of privacy. I understand that there are pros and cons to data mining, but I cannot shake the eerie feeling. I never knew that all the websites I visited were logged and saved for later. The fact that my online activity is tracked and analyzed for patterns is convenient and scary because I do not know where they would stop with my data. How far is too far? Sure, it cuts down on my search with my shopping, but like Sony was hacked, our information can be stolen without of knowledge or permission. It would be different if we willingly provided the information. It is about the acknowledgement that these corporations are manipulating people’s livelihood for the sake of sells. There are no restrictions and that is the overarching problem. We are a part of the circular prison and there is no escape. You would have to not use the Internet and nowadays that is virtually impossible. The only information that should be used is the information that is given with our consent.

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  16. mstor763 January 25, 2015 / 11:11 pm

    So what happens when those data sets are used for life transactions? Do you think that the Federal Trade Commission should put more effort into “protecting consumers?” What information should be available for public use and what shouldn’t?

    Data mining seems to be more of a advertising tool than anything to me (at least at this point) I do think the trade commission should do something to protect consumers but also (and maybe its not them) should help protect seeing things some should not see. For instance, what happens when mom and dad look up some items that their child shouldn’t see. How do you fix that from happening, and boy do those instances do happen. What about the half naked females that show up due to the older brother looking up some late night material? There needs to be some type of regulation in that manner.

    Public information should be available as much as the person that the information is about allows it to be. Facebook, for instance, shows in their EULA an also when you modify certain things that the public can see it. Maybe there needs to be a “are you sure” button. but i am beginning to feel that people are just so rushed in what they are doing, they do not stop and read what is in front of them (im guilty of this as well)

    In regards to hacks that happen, well that is part of life. I am bringing up the Sony hack as someone else has. Yes people’s information was taken but that was not the purpose of the hack. The group that hacked Sony was trying to inform the public of the lack of protection Sony had for people’s private information. Not saying what the hacking group did was right, but this data mining is not the only issue at hand and we need to stop focusing on what is stuck under our nose, we need to open our eyes and look around.

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  17. bubbastinx January 26, 2015 / 12:04 am

    Data mining by companies, I don’t think is a bad thing. I do, however, have a problem when its treated like the Federal Budget. If many of you don’t know how the legislation moves through Congress here is a very vague but lucid example. The Bill is passed through each part of the house. The Bill can’t get hung up if different members don’t like it, or there aren’t enough freebie’s (pork) in it for their district. So the sponsors of the Bill revise the bill filling it with pork, and now it gets passed, and on to the President to sign into law. That’s the short and sweet of it, but most don’t know that under seemingly innocent act that there are all types of crazy and benign stuff that gets packed into these Bills that yield rights to citizens, but most of the time dilutes the rights of citizens, and bolsters the rights and powers of corporations and lobby groups, which isn’t always a bad thing. There just isn’t any transparency to see what’s getting pushed through, and how harmful the legislation is, but since most Americans are dopes. They get upset when they find out they’ve been hosed. Inversely, In dealing with corporations and shopping, I don’t really mind a personalized shopping experience. I don’t entertain a lot of brands to begin with, and I’d like to think that I’m somewhat conscious on who the parent brands are. So, I guess that I would be cool with most things if there were more transparency on what was being collected.

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  18. blcarr January 26, 2015 / 12:19 am

    There are too many companies with too much of our information. Every time I order a product online, I get recommended items on my screen by other companies. I can be on the school website and would receive sneakers, clothing and electronics. For example, as a child growing up watching basketball on NBC, I would see Michael Jordan debut different kicks on the court and would be amazed. Me and my friends would skip school on Wednesdays to purchase his sneakers. Back then the price was around $125.50. Fast forward to 2015 and the price of Air Jordans are a whopping $200.00. Nike tracked the phenomenon of Jordans and capitalized on it. The more information organizations/companies have about users, the more money they can charge. Some might enjoy the fact that everything is one touch away. Im on the side of “giving someone to much information is not cool but very dangerous.”

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  19. hessaj January 26, 2015 / 1:36 am

    This is too true about companies collecting our information. I get many emails daily from places I shop from, everyday I get a email from GameStop asking if I want to trade in games I’ve bought. There are companies that do this too much, and I feel like, even if it’s a little, is what drives away from a company if we ever do. It feels like they NEED my business instead of feeling like a valued customer.

    The recommendations are flooding as well. Amazon gives me recommendations every day. Nothing is ever new, at one point, they recommended the same few products to me three or four days in a row. It can get bothersome, but it’s business. But to be a better business through data mining, it shouldn’t be bombardment of junk mail, e-mail or actual mail. Space it out a bit. You know that feeling of seeing/doing something for the first time in a while? I feel like something in sort of sense could work, like “oh man I got an e-mail from Amazon, it’s been a while, oh cool I’ve never seen this product before!” Or something like that, not too long in between, it’s a business after all.

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  20. sneff16 January 26, 2015 / 2:05 am

    I don’t believe that data mining should be legal. It is too intrusive. I often find that when I am searching for something say on Amazon, for example, it will often pop up in an advertisement on a completely different website. I don’t like that type of advertising and I won’t click on it simply because it has used my search history to advertise to me.

    I think that there should be more privacy when it comes to the internet. If I want to find a product, I will search for it myself, I don’t need an advertisement on a random website suggesting it to me. I think it is creepy. I think that it should be more of a clear option on whether or not you want to share information about your search history with data mining companies.

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  21. seananthony3 January 26, 2015 / 2:21 am

    I am okay with the idea of Data Mining as long as information like my credit card doesn’t get out (jokes on you hackers, I don’t even have one! Ha HA!). However, I definitely value privacy differently than a lot of other people. My name is Sean, my favorite number is 3 and I like chocolate chip cookies. Knowing this information, I would like to see advertising companies put more ads on the side of my facebook browsing that say “3 boxes of delicious triple chocolate chunk cookies for $3.33! Use the keyword “Sean!””

    What I’m trying to get at… it’s a useful tool, definitely. It’s useful to the consumer because we can find products more easily that may be beneficial for our lives (or detrimental, depending on your hobbies), and it’s beneficial for the producer for them to move more units. As long as the line stays here, we are okay, I think.

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  22. stefaniedak January 26, 2015 / 3:03 am

    Yes, there is technically no specific harm or damage caused (excluding our right to privacy) by using our information for target advertising. We are living in a technological advanced era and businesses are going to use that to their advantage in every possible way that they can. In my mind, what Victoria’s Secret and many other shops do, isn’t harmful. In actuality, I don’t mind them tracking my purchases because for one, they ask me beforehand and two, they offer me incredible discounts that I appreciate! To me, things like that are harmless and I am given the option to have my purchases tracked or not. However, when people sign up for a Facebook or Twitter account, they aren’t signing up to be “tracked.” Nonetheless, this information can easily be sold or compromised by third parties. You make a solid point in that we need to have more of an option of whether or not we want to allow our data be collected. People can argue that we already have those options – through the fine print of terms and conditions offered to use as Brandon pointed out – however, in reality we are forced to click “yes,” aren’t we? If we don’t accept those terms and conditions that state that our information will be shared with multiple third parties – then we cannot download that program or create a Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr etc. We cannot enjoy any part of the internet with obliging to these conditions. So, although data miners know too much, how do we stop this invasion and still enjoy aspects of the internet?

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  23. lewenzel93 January 26, 2015 / 3:07 am

    If I’m browsing dresses to wear to a wedding, and an ad on the side of my facebook pops up for Modcloth, I don’t see how it could do anything besides benefit me. In the topic of corporate data mining, what do I need protected? I’m a consumer and business is business. I accept that. Yes, businesses are trying to get my money and make a profit at the end of the day, but if they want to put in the time to get to know me better and recognize what I like and my shopping patterns, how can I argue with that? The way I think of it is, say I go into a department store like Kohls. And instead of browsing all the racks of clothes, there’s a special little section just for me with things someone who “knows” me has picked out. I’d be all for it because I wouldn’t have to waste any time. Honestly, it allows me to save time, probably save money, and I get that perfect dress for my friend’s wedding. I am sold.

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  24. smkiraco January 26, 2015 / 3:15 am

    Data sets have already been used in life transactions. Although they have been getting much more broad recently. Life insurance and credit cards have been doing this for a while now. The question is where should the line be drawn. There have been some examples of colleges and businesses using information among social media to hire, fire, and confront students.

    I definitely think the Federal Trade Commission should do more effort to protect consumers. More so along the lines of higher standards of security against cyber crimes so personal information cannot be stolen. In addition, I think that privacy laws as well as copyright and trademark laws should be updated as they are outdated as well as many other laws.

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  25. thegradytrain January 26, 2015 / 3:48 am

    Most of the time I go around Facebook with AdBlock because often times the ads I felt were not relavent to me so I thought it was best to “turn them off”. The weird stuff comes when I see integration with my online habits and Amazon purchases. I remember watching a YouTube series and then going onto Amazon to do whatever and saw in the recommendations an item related to the series I was watching. I thought it was quite bizarre since at the time I thought Amazon only tracked your browsing on only Amazon but I was wrong. After that, specific targetted ads don’t really surprise me that much anymore.

    One interesting thing I found was the use of the term “data mining” used against the consumer. When I hear the term, I usually think of data on software being turned inside and have things leaked to consumers that would have been much harder to find. This kind of data mining works out much better for the consumer if you know how to read into certain data mined articles.

    In the end, I find it quite bizarre and almost uncanny when the internet can describe me by my habits. When I was reading the article by Stein, I was intrigued that some companies knew a good amount of information as well the inferences that were made. I would like what some of those professional services know about, I feel like the results would be a little inaccurate and shockingly accurate at the same time.

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  26. galaradi January 26, 2015 / 4:18 am

    Data Mining may not be publicly harmful on the outside. But if it is misused, or manipulated, it can take a wrong turn. With all these companies storing our information and sending us ads in the mail, it is an invasion to our information. We either pick between being a part of society or having our information out there for companies to manipulate.

    NSA uses PRISM, which is a surveillance program used to gather information through Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, and Facebook. Google CEO Larry Page stated that, “”any suggestion that Google is disclosing information about our users’ Internet activity on such a scale is completely false.” “Facebook is not and has never been part of any program to give the U.S. or any other government direct access to our servers,” said Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook. While these companies claim to deny these accusations, the public can not be completely sure if these are true. Are these companies lying to protect themselves, or are they telling the truth?

    Like

  27. akuelbs January 26, 2015 / 4:18 am

    I think data mining is a good way to get information out to consumers about new products or sales that are coming out based on past searches. The only real big problem i have with data mining is where is the line drawn with it? and when does this information update? For instance, spotify uses data mining for its free users and their commercials. Before i decided to transfer to the University of Michigan – Dearborn i was looking at many other schools. What i ended up starting to get on spotify was ads about those school. The worst part that i question the usage was when a year passed, and i had transferred here, and i was still getting ads about other schools that i hadn’t looked at in over a year. If we use data mining, it needs to be updated to more recent searches and more relevant ads given to the consumers.
    I personally don’t think the trade commission can really do anything about it. When you go to a store and they ask for an email, you have the right to say “no thank you.” I used to work retail and i would ask if people wanted email alerts about upcoming sales and specials. But nowadays retail stores are throwing it into the middle of a transaction making it seem like you need to give them your email when in reality they have no business needing it. The only thing that trade commission could really do it limit things like this. Consumers just need to be more weary about giving out information without knowing exactly what it is going towards. People just need to not be afraid to say “no” when they have no clue what it is for.

    Like

    • doniecew January 29, 2015 / 6:37 pm

      I definitely agree, people should not be afraid to say “NO.” Say that I sign up for a credit card, when signing up for that credit card, they need an email, mailing address and everything else. So now my email is connected with this credit card, and every purchase that I make is now being tracked by this credit card…. Is this source of data mining acceptable?

      Like

  28. rmpaulk January 26, 2015 / 4:59 am

    I definitely agree that there should be some kind of setting where you decided when your data is monitored. Maybe I am working on a project so the information I am sending wouldn’t be valid to these advertisers or marketing departments. Don’t try and sell me school supplies when I already have them, or it’s my last semester. What if I am looking at porn? Does that mean I should be bombarded with ads for other pornographic sites? What if I begrudgingly look into getting a new puppy. Should I get ads everywhere I go for shelters and pet stores? I feel that if data mining really isn’t harmful then it should appear welcomed and wanted by the people they are mining. I should be able to decide who gets my data and when. I should be sent information on what exactly they are looking at, how much of my data space are they using on my electronics, how much they are making off of my information, and who all has access to it. This is my privacy. I should get a say so. I feel people wouldn’t have a problem with it if it wasn’t so intrusive.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. elrader2015 January 26, 2015 / 8:49 pm

    I really like that you mentioned what Lee Tien said about how in earlier times our lives were “Private by default and public by choice” and how that has been flipped upside down in today’s world. The more advanced technology becomes, the harder it is to keep your life private, even somewhat! It seems the best way to go about trying to have some privacy is to not participate in any social media, but that is a hard thing to do today when it seems everyone has it and this is the best way to keep up with everyone in your life easily. Although it’s nice to make debit card purchases and get coupons based on previous purchase history (however that works) I agree with some of the comments that say we should get a choice to remain private or not. I know that’s not ideal for big business, but I don’t care what works for them, I would rather have the choice. After all, it is our privacy and information!

    Liked by 1 person

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