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The Effects of Ethical Data Mining (Essay Sample)


The cons and effects of data mining


The challenges of ethical data mining.
Data Mining was introduced in the 1990s, but it is an evolution sector with an extensive history. Conventional techniques used to identify patterns in data were Bayes theorem in the 1700s, and the evolution of regression (1800s). The growth and evolution of computer science have bolstered the industry and facets such as collection, storage, and manipulation, which have grown in size and clinched complex levels. Web mining involves the actual act and other related techniques that are used to extract and discover information from various internet sources, platforms, and documents (Larose). When web mining is used in a business context to access personal data, it helps the companies gain marketing intelligence by building detailed customer profiles. However, web mining does pose a huge threat to some ethical values such as individuality and privacy. The scientific breakthrough has made it difficult for a person to autonomously control the dissemination and unveiling of personal data and information. Undoubtedly, data mining raises concerns over the privacy of all web users, which gives companies an edge since they analyze customer's profiles and information without their knowledge.
Data mining serviceability includes association analysis, data classification, outlier analysis, data discrimination, clustering, data characterization, and data evolution analysis. The first thought that comes into people's minds regarding data mining revolves around scandalous activities related to data privacy. Consumers are slowly unraveling the tactics being used by companies behind the scenes. The ethics issue surrounding data mining that larger organizations do has become a highly volatile and contentious matter (Pyle). The controversy surrounding data mining appeared in the limelight when it was revealed that Cambridge Analytica had made a pact with Facebook to help them access the data of over 50 million US citizens when the country was preparing to usher in 2016 US election. Ever since the case was made public, Facebook has attracted a lot of constant criticism for its data mining activities. The company had its image tainted with some users joining the #DeleteFacebook campaign, while some commentators suggested that Facebook lacked an "ethical roadmap."
The aftermath of what transpired in 2016 developed bad precedence for the Silicon Valley tech companies where data mining was drugged into the mud. Currently, the scientific breakthrough has become a cash cow for tech companies that sell user privacy information. Even after reinforcing the policies by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), data mining practices still haunt suspecting consumers. Another example involves Epic Games, the gaming company behind the creation of Fortine, which came under severe scrutiny. A Reddit thread criticized the company's actions citing that the company was mining user data from the Steam user accounts. Dan Vogel, Epic Games' Vice President of Engineering, attempted to address the criticism saying that "we only import your steam friends with your explicit permission." However, the response seems to have angered its target audience, who said they didn't grant permission to the company to use their data. The company came to understand that though they had legal permission to access the user data, they still needed to acquire active approval from the users. The company joined the list of the many companies that came under fire for ignoring the data mining ethics (Keary).

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