CDZ Data Mining: If you don't want your data mined, don't distribute it

Discussion in 'Clean Debate Zone' started by usmbguest5318, Mar 20, 2018.

  1. usmbguest5318
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    usmbguest5318 Gold Member

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    The Forest
    The Facebook-Cambridge Analytica controversy of late highlights what should be obvious to everyone: if you don't want your data, i.e., information about yourself and your preferences, habits, etc., to be evaluated so that various individuals and organizations can, in turn, craft and deliver messages that are likely going to by you received favorably, don't give them your data. Duh!!!

    It's really not that hard to do that.
    • Don't subscribe to things...magazines, websites, services, etc.
    • Pay for goods and services using cash, checks or EFT/wire transfers.
    • Don't join organizations that may sell/share your data to or with others....Sam's Club, Costco, political parties, 501(c) organizations, etc.
    Does conducting oneself so that only the barest minimum of one's data be possessed by only a handful of firms mean that one may have to forgo some of the Digital Age's, the 21st century's, convenience? Yes, it does. But, hey, one more highly prizes convenience or privacy, but not both.

    Indeed, even if we were to have laws stipulating that one's data not be retained, the reality is that we cannot in a cost-effective way enforce such a stipulation. One cannot rationally demand "smaller government" and at the same time advocate for a law that can only be enforced by having swarms of auditors constantly checking firms' records to make sure they are complying with such a statue.

    Quite simply, if one, in this day and age, thinks it's all that hard to obtain one's data from a variety of sources, "pull it together," and apply psychological, economic and/or sociological theory (science sense) to that data so as to form a coherent and preponderantly accurate picture of what one's "hot buttons" are, one must be incredibly naive.


    Hell, data mining that is one of the types of projects (or components of larger projects) I've run for several clients. [1] In one instance, the client purchased data from several large retailers, VISA and Mastercard, a telecommunication firm, a few membership organizations and one mass-appeal website and cross referenced the data with my client's customer base.

    We usually ended up with hundreds of thousands of "unmatched" records, but also with millions of "matched" ones. We didn't even bother to "clean up"/"connect" the "unmatched" records. We just used the millions that were "good," grouped the individuals into "behavioral/preference cohorts" [2] and then applied behavioral economics' and psychology's theories of motivation to those cohorts to craft marketing messages that offered the greatest odds of favorably appealing to (1) most customers in all cohorts and (2) the customers in the "high dollar" cohort.


    So, upon hearing scant details about the current Facebook (FB)-Cambridge Analytica (CA) (FB-CA) hoopla, I immediately suspected that CA is a firm that provides strategic data solutions for political ends rather than, as I did, purely economic ends. There's nothing shocking about that. Politics and marketing are, strategically and tactically, the same things:
    • Marketing is developing and implementing strategies and tactics to sell goods and services.
    • Politics is developing and implementing strategies and tactics to sell public policy ideas.
    Both rely heavily on social science's -- mainly economics (for marketing) or political science (for politics), plus psychology, communication science, and sociology -- theories.

    Since firms like CA do much the same thing my firm does, though they do it political campaigns instead of Fortune 500 companies, I don't see there being something about which to be appalled. As I noted, one'd have to be incredibly naive not know data mining of that sort happens and that it yields material and the desired outcomes.

    People can sit in their caves, as it were, and say/think things like "it's just a theory," but social scientists know that description, discounting social science theory, is pure poppycock. They're certainly not going to waste their time trying to convince folks it's not "just a theory." They do the same thing I do; they say, "Okay, you just keep thinking that...." What else is there for them to do? They're not going to try to drag folks who have no better sense than to "kick and scream" about things they don't understand and who too won't bother to understand.


    The Trees
    At at more detailed level, the FB-CA matter has some areas in which some individuals are justifiably pissed.
    • FB is justifiably irked that CA, without authorization, availed themselves, and perhaps for their clients' benefit, of FB's user data. FB defined to CA the limits of use that CA could exercise using FB's data, and CA ignored those instructions. That essentially is breach of contract and trust. FB isn't to blame because CA breached the terms of their agreement with FB.
    • All Americans will be rightly irked if CA used the data to craft and/or deploy, on behalf of any U.S. political campaign, messages delivered to U.S. voters. Americans are right to take umbrage over that because CA is not an American firm.

      Sure, it's a British firm, and Britain is an ally, but election law is clear: foreign organizations and individuals may not coordinate political messages/messaging with U.S. political campaigns. Such firms can provide some services -- for example, they can provide data and data analysis, and they can perform market research -- but suggesting, designing, and deploying/publishing actual campaign messages must be done by Americans.

      If a foreign organization wants to publish its own messages as its own -- i.e., clearly stating that the message was conceived, created and disseminated by "XYZ Foreign Concern" -- it may (?) be permitted to do that. Doing so, if it's allowed at all, would have to happen independently of any candidate's campaign.
    Outside of that, however, there's not much, IMO, about which to be plucked. I certainly don't think millions of people need to be altruistically irked for FB; FB can handle breaches of its trust on it's own.

    Similarly, I see no sound basis for individuals being irked with FB. FB is not a governmental organization. FB's obligation is first and foremost to its owners, its stockholders. Nobody is forced to use FB; I've managed to live my whole life without using FB, and I'm none the worse off for not using FB. [2] I dare say the same be so for the overwhelming majority of private citizens.


    Notes:
    1. I am still amazed that people, even these days, myopically think of such projects as technology projects. I don't; I never did. I sold, managed and delivered them as process and strategy implementations, not as technology implementations.
    2. FWIW, I don't tweet, SnapChat or Instagram either. I have the physical/postal addresses, email addresses and phone numbers of the folks to whom I care to express my thoughts, and they have mine. We had those things before there was a FB and other social media platforms (SMPs), and FB and other SMPs didn't cause those things to stop functioning as they did before there was FB and other SMPs.
     
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  2. Missourian
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    Missourian Platinum Member

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    Duck duck go, that's all I'm sayin.
     
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  3. Tijn Von Ingersleben
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    Tijn Von Ingersleben Gold Member

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    Private Internet Access (VPN) and tor browser. A tunnel within a tunnel within a tunnel. It's actually fairly simple.
     
  4. Disir
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    Disir Gold Member

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  5. Toronado3800
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    Toronado3800 VIP Member

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    I am not a computer genius.

    Still though, browsers like Mozilla and your anti-virus work decently well to protect your data.

    Apps are there to monetize your data. There is no reason a newspaper website can't be made to work just fine in a 1998 quality browser much less a new one YOU CAN PLAY GAMES through.

    So the newspaper/website uses an app to collect your data and make a few bucks off it.

    Them permissions you give the flashlight app on your phones mean something.

    Is anything really bad going to come of this? Not practically, then again we hang onto our right to bear arms "so we can overthrow the government" or whatever. Join with me in anger Libertarians!
     
  6. usmbguest5318
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    usmbguest5318 Gold Member

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    I believe you have in mind a different type of data than the sort I'm referring to and the sort CA-FB have. The type of data FB-CA have and that I'm referring to is information about one's mindset. Things like but not limited to:
    • Sociopolitical leanings, not registered party or specific stances, leanings.
    • General economic/financial position --> This can be inferred from the types of things one buys and the types of activities in which one participates
    Firms take their own customer identification records and match them (as much as possible) with customer records from other entities. They then apply the many social science correlates between behavior and mindset to select craft the themes, words, color choices, format, images, etc. that comprise their messaging, which, for the most part, means advertising.

    The goal of data mining is to develop an solid understanding, a picture of sorts, about the firm's actual and potential customers' values and then use that understanding to craft messaging that will attract them -- literally as buyers or figuratively as people having favorable impressions of the brand or specific product. (Mind you, the largest companies develop multiple messages to appeal to different segments of the "eligible" population.) The question firms ask when developing marketing messages are the detailed ones whereof the combined answers to them collectively lead to the "big" question, which is "what themes will appeal most favorably to the greatest quantity of our actual and potential customers?"

    Individuals provide the information firms use to answer that question by making purchases, using a credit/charge card, patronizing certain retailers, living in certain areas, answering surveys, liking certain posts on FB or Twitter, responding to certain posts on FB/Twitter, etc. Far and away the most effective way to keep one's data of the sort that data miners use from being usable is to have a small digital "footprint" and not pay for things using credit or debit cards; however, one must give up convenience to do so.
     
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  7. Dan Stubbs
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    Dan Stubbs FORGET ---- HELL Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    My trick is never use your name. Use a false IP address or location.
     
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  8. usmbguest5318
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    usmbguest5318 Gold Member

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    If that's working for you, great.
     
  9. 007
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    007 Charter Member Supporting Member

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    Or just do like I do, I have a twitter and facebook account, but I fill out only what is absolutely required to start the account, and it's all LIES. On facebook, my birthday is APRIL FOOLS DAY, and nothing else... why fill in all that crap with who you are and all about yourself for the entire world to see? You that vain or just an idiot?
     
  10. usmbguest5318
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    usmbguest5318 Gold Member

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    What an insipid remark. One's reticence to share information such as the name of one's hotel, particularly a person such as Zuckerberg, need not have a damn thing to do with one's right to privacy.

    Folks have their panties in a bunch about Facebook/Zuckerberg, but the fact of the matter is that Facebook (FB) users voluntarily provided the information they have.
    • Every FB user has to agree to the terms of use prior to establishing an account on FB. Some folks have said, "But most users don't actually read those terms."

      Well, um, whose fault is that? It damn sure isn't FB's or Zuckerberg's.
    • Nobody was forced to join FB, much less use and provide it in a way that allows data analysts to apply psychographic techniquest to one's use of FB.

      Who forced people to "put all their business" on FB and "run their mouths" on FB whenever they feel like it about whatever they feel like they want to blabber about? Not FB or Zuckerberg.
    • People are talking on news programs as though data mining and psychographics are something new. They are not. They just are things about which people have insisted on remaining in a state of denial about those tools and methods being actionable.
      Well, whose fault is it that FB users allowed themselves to be so ignorant? It's not FB's or Zuckerberg's.
      • Data mining has been around for as long as there has been data, and computer-supported applications of it have been around since about 1989/1990/. (Source) In other words, modern applications and implementations of data mining have been happening for over 20 years and now folks are suddenly shocked that their data has been mined by FB.

        Whose fault is it that those people have ignored "the writing on the wall" about "big data" for over 20 years? It's not FB's or Zuckerberg's.
      • Psychographics, or what business students (graduate and undergraduate) were taught is market segmentation and market analysis is not new. It's been around at least since the start of the 20th century.

        Whose fault is it that people have been oblivious to the basics of customer analysis for over a century, or for at least as long as there's been the Internet wherein can be found ample descriptions of market segmentation and how it's used? It's not FB's or Zuckerberg's.

        Whose fault is it that folks have for decades ignored (and thus failed to apply critical thinking skills) psychoanalytical principles/findings and failed to notice the consumer behavioral applications of them that have taken place over the past century and that are readily available on the Internet? It's not FB's or Zuckerberg's.
    In consideration of the above, it's clear to me that all this griping about FB and Zuckerberg is nothing other folks (1) crying over "milk" individuals, not FB/Zuckerberg, spilt, as it were, (2) bemoaning the fact that they have been too damn indolent to "read the writing on the wall" that's been right in front of them, (3) crying foul because nobody dropped into their laps the information/knowledge they were too f*cking lazy to obtain for themselves, and (4) looking for someone to blame rather than looking in the goddamned mirror to the find the culprit. Pathetic!
     

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