Friday, January 16, 2015

Black Box Society by Frank Pasquale: A chilling vision of how Big Data has invaded our lives. (Slate)

Excerpt from a stark big data reality check
"Some of these categories are dicey enough that you wouldn’t want to be a part of them. Pasquale writes that some third-party data-broker microtargeting lists include “probably bipolar,” “daughter killed in car crash,” “rape victim,” and “gullible elderly.” There are no restrictions on marketers assembling and distributing such lists, nor any oversight, leading to what Pasquale terms “runaway data.” With such lists circulating among marketers, credit bureaus, hiring firms, and health care companies, these categories—which cross the line into racial or gender classification as well—easily slip from marketing tools into reputation indicators.

This customer information is considered highly valuable and lucrative, and Facebook has partnered with brokers like Turn (700 million user profiles) to get its hands on it (as I chronicled in my feature “You Are What You Click”). Once the genie is out of the lamp through comprehensive and multifaceted monitoring of your Web habits, your purchases, searches, and social media activities go on sale and resale to the highest bidders, with everyone profiting except you—unless you consider invasive personalized ads a benefit."
Black Box Society by Frank Pasquale: A chilling vision of how Big Data has invaded our lives.
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