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Data Mining – To The Extreme!

March 5, 2013

With Privacy continuing to be the problem of this generation, we wonder how technology can change the way people function from day to day. Through data mining, information is at the hands of people that you have never, and will never, meet in your life. How does that make you feel? This post will refer to how your information is being spread without your knowledge.

In our day in age, online shopping is the new way to get your errands done without having to leave the comfort of your home. It is convenient to the point where all you need to do is put your credit card information into the system and then click submit. There are even great return policies on many items which make buying items online even more of an incentive. I mean, unless they use what you look up to start to stalk you…

Stalking through the internet you ask? Yeah, there is such a thing and Target has successfully mastered the art of it through their constant emails and catalogs. In the specific article above in which we went over in class, a High School girl who had yet told her parents she was pregnant was beginning to receive ads from Target about coupons on baby supplies. The Dad, not knowing of “in house situations” that have been going on, wringed out Target employees via the phone about their snooping on his daughters life and for “falsifying” the coupons to his daughter. What he didn’t know was that this data was provided by his very own daughter who was in fact pregnant and due in the future months. Bummer…

But what does that say about Target? Data Mining has been company’s best friends. It is information that is developed through non-personal contact by individuals through the internet. The system that they have devised makes it so people have no idea they are being followed “stalked” through their online shopping carts, but also do not give consent to this information being lent to companies. I guess we now will have to sign terms of agreement to shop on certain websites now.

Information is not just limited to what people want to purchase online. In the past 2012 London Olympics, information on the athletes was found and collected to display to the world. Information from the amount of money each past Olympics made to the amount of calories Michael Phelps eats from day to day, sometimes you wonder where this information comes from, but for that answer you can simply put: the internet.

There are even threats that are beginning to create in our society from these actions which could lead to huge problems. GOOGLE has had to put limits and sign agreements based on their ability to use cloud storage to gain information through data mining. This information has to be limited since GOOGLE having so much data stored in its databases, could control more than just the search engine world, but the internet in general.

The only hope we have is if data mining can be used to help prevent killings such as the Colorado Shooting.The NSA has created an algorithm that can “potentially” help prevent these situations from happening in its entirety by tracking people’s actions online and throwing up a red flag in the algorithm’s data center. Even though this is a complete invasion of one’s life, it also could save thousands of lives around the world.

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One Comment
  1. I agree that data mining is a company’s best friend, especially in Target’s case. To think that Target or any company can pick up on personal things about people, and then in turn try to target them with advertisements, personalized coupon booklets, etc amazes me. Crazy to think that Target even goes as far as being sneaky when sending coupons, such as subtly spreading out baby ads and mixing in wineglasses and lawnmowers so consumers don’t think Target is stalking them. “Pretend you know less than you do so as not to creep the person out” is clearly the statement Target lives by.

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