As a student majored in Computer Science, I think this article of Times Magazine well introduced the idea of data mining. Data mining is one of the hottest topic in today’s internet industry. With the data mining idea, users’ footprints over internet are collected and analyzed by different companies. In the other word, there is an “estimated” you on the internet. The other “you” is similar to your age, has similar income as you, and even shares similar interests with you. If you use internet every day and do all the shopping and surfing online, then the other “you” could share more information with you than you expected, including your phone number, SSN, even your home address and where your kids go to school. At the same the, the other “you” has been sold to different companies as cheap as 5 cents. The algorithm technology companies now have is so sophisticated and comprehensive that once you click on a shopping website, you pretty much handed one of your name cards to the company. However, what freak people out is not the point that companies are collecting the private information. They are also selling them.
After knowing how much you make, what your size is and even what color you prefer, a online clothing shopping website could easily target you to specific items, which fits your size and preference exactly. There are people think this is the advantage of technology, and it make life easier. However, there are more people consider this is a threat towards their privacy. When you see the buying suggestions from Amazon, which is exactly what you want. Will you buy it? Or feel insulted by Amazon?
On the other side, if you are the business administrator, would you buy those information? You know you can find your target customers, and you no longer need to pay unnecessary advertisement fee for people who never read them. All you need to do is to pay the “data mining” companies as cheap as 30 cents a person, you might profit more efficient than you can ever imagined. Will you buy the data? Or feel this is not an ethical business model at all?