General Question

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10 Answers

spywacko's avatar

The mining? Yes.

The usage of said data is the problem.

phoenyx's avatar

It depends on what data is being mined. Is there a particular example you had in mind?

xyzzy's avatar

@spywacko. I’d say the collection of the data is the problem. Once the data is collected, it’s too great of a temptation to not use it. But if the data is never collected in the first place, it cannot be abused.

ketoneus's avatar

Is it okay for your supermarket to track your movements in the store using a video camera? And then arrange the store based on these observations in order to maximize revenue?

The internets aren’t free, people. Something has to pay for all these servers and developers.

phoenyx's avatar

Data mining is just a set of techniques for analyzing large data sets. The data could be weather, genetics, games, etc. It isn’t necessarily even about people or their behaviors.

emt333's avatar

but when it is about people’s behavior and is for profit (e.g targeting consumers or voters) is it ethical?

tekn0lust's avatar

When it’s used for increased profit no it’s not ethical. But very few corporations have ethics in their overall plan.

spywacko's avatar

@xyzzy That’s almost absurd. There are plenty of examples that can be given that states “If X never existed, Y would never happen.”

Take data mining to the medical field. Google, Microsoft, and a few other people are helping the patient and the physician move their records into a digital format. This creates a very good data repository that can be used in an emergency. For example: A person is traveling to a foreign country, gets injured where they cannot function (or simply can’t remember all of their medical history). A doctor would be able to access their digital file quickly from another country to help the situation.

On the reverse of all of this is the temptation to harvest the data for illegal uses (identity theft). This drawback should not be enough to keep the project from going forward. Rather than abandon the cause, more security should be put into place.

In no way am I saying that there won’t be an abuse of mined data. I am fully aware of this and put myself at risk of it everyday. You do, however, have the ability to control what data is made available. It is a choice.

tekn0lust's avatar

I know for a fact that Grocery and Drug stores are mining all the data collected from those discount cards they issue. They track when items are bought when people will pay more for something, etc. Granted they don’t know down to the single person, but they know on a whole and that is very important data to them.

marinelife's avatar

Stringent privacy laws should have been put in place years ago. The horse has already left the barn now, folks. People have become complacent about the lack of privacy. I believe we will one day be very sorry about this.

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