Warning - You Have Been DataMined!
It affects hundreds of millions of us each day while we are blissfully unaware. Today's high-tech world is drowning in data but is starved for knowledge. Data mining is the search for significant patterns and trends. It's also been called the poor stepchild to statistcial analysis. To give you an example you go to your local supermarket to buy food and you use your store card for discounts and fast checkout. It give the store a record of how often you shop, what foods you like and at what prices in this case it's a win-win situation.
This continues thoughout your day as you bank go to the mall, gas station, and so on. However information is increasingly collected without your knowledge or consent. "Black Boxes" the size of cigarette packs have been installed in 40 million vehicles to monitor speed, seat belt use, and more. Only 5 states at the present time require that the buyer be made aware of this fact. The trade-off is somone has a record of when and where you drive,what you eat, what over the counter medications you buy,whether you smoke or not,where you fly and with whom, what you like to read and watch and spend money on.
Any one item is not invasive but when birth certificates, credit histories, real estate deeds, military records, and insurance claims are pulled together it paints a very intimate picture. Add to the mix that the average person is seen by surveillence cameras 75X a day. In the past decade an explosion of technology has taken place and the insatiable appetite of marketers for information about consumers has made data collection less voulutary and more worrisome. Data mining is big business. Companies vacuum up data from public and private records, aggragate it analyze it and sell it to buyers ranging from private companies to the CIA. If an error exists there is no knowledge on your part thus it can't be fixed. Data thefts are on the rise included are banks, credit card companies, and the biggest of the data brokers Choicepoint. When their records were breach they left millions of people vunerable to identity theft. In closing technology is here to stay and we love convience but we must be aware and remain vigilant. Also it's time for Congress to step up and do their job to create a basic bill of rights for all information.
This will provide us with much needed protection.
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