Data mining can be helpful

Krys Shahin, Staff Writer

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The “gatekeepers” of social media and television know how to get the public to consume their products and use their services in order to make a profit. Some may think this is a privacy breach but it’s not. Here’s why data mining is good for consumers and why we should stop fighting it.

Research shows the data-aggregating industry is not a threat to privacy or individual liberties because the user agrees to the terms of service, targeted advertising works and is suitable for consumers and can bring people and governments together in ways that was not possible years ago.

Data is collected and sold in many ways but this is normally done in legal, safe and subtle ways so it does not hinder a person’s use of app or site.

Data mining, or data-aggregating, allows companies, people and governments to gather information around them in an easier and much more efficient way.  

Data mining is, “a process which is useful for the discovery of informative and analyzing the understanding about the aspects of different elements,” said Chitra Reddy, a job recruiter for multiple companies.

Data mining is the gathering and analyzing of data that is online about any topic. To put it another way, companies could have employees walking door to door in order to gather this information but that is slow and ineffective if people wish not to participate in informing companies about certain things.

“The job of data scientist didn’t exist five or 10 years ago,” said Duncan Ross, the director of data science at Teradata.

Companies that specialize in data-aggregating simply collect data that consumers give them. Every like, share, click and comment gives the company information that they gather and group together. This helps to find the most suitable advertisements for that specific consumer and those who seem to enjoy similar things to them.

There are many ways companies can retrieve this type of data, even without the person’s explicit permission.

“Your state Department of Motor Vehicles, for instance, may sell personal information— like your name, address, and the type of vehicles you own—to data companies,” said Lois Beckett, a ProPublica journalist who covers the intersection of data, technology and politics.

Nearly every single person uses the DMV at one point in their lives so one could think it is a trusted government institution that would not compromise its customers.

But really the DMV is selling “personal” data and it may be concerning to some but it is actually not a threat simply because these are things anyone would sign or write on hundreds, if not thousands, of forms every year or tell people about within the first five minutes of meeting them.

Two-point-five exabytes – that’s 2.5 billion gigabytes (GB) – of data was generated every day a few years ago,” said Matthew Wall, a business reporter for BBC News.

In reality this is far too much data for anyone to possibly go through. Even with machines doing the work for those who needed the data, it is unlikely that much data can be accessed or analyzed, therefore it is unlikely your specific data will actually be analyzed in depth like some seem to believe.

Connection with the world matters because this directly affects trade, governments and many other things.

“Everyone in society benefits from digital data,” said former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, “as governments can better measure the success of their programs, and media and other nongovernmental organizations can use data to support their work and check facts.”

Data mining is shown to enhance tech users experience, create new jobs, advance technology and be something the government uses heavily.

Too much data is collected every second in everyday for it to be a threat to the average citizen in the world which then makes it safe and not a worry we should be concerned about.

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