Back to my favorite topic: OVERSHARING

Yes I’m back on that again.

Believe you me this info is for YOUR own good. Personally, I don’t care if you want to blast your drunken night/divorce/financial status/health condition all across the internet landscape. HOWEVER you should know that this very same information could be used against you in ways you may never see coming. Worse yet, “liking” certain things or being friends with someone posting certain types of information could work against you as well. #scary

Here’s a story for you:

“When an Atlanta man returned from his honeymoon, he found that his credit limit had been lowered to $3,800 from $10,800. The switch was not based on anything he had done but on aggregate data. A letter from the company told him, “Other customers who have used their card at establishments where you recently shopped have a poor repayment history with American Express.”

Isn’t that TOTALLY INSANE?!?

Today’s Vocabulary Lesson:

(A.) DATA AGGREGATION – which is exactly what it sounds like. An aggregate of all the data you’ve inputted onto a site (activities, likes, job info) and/or information you’ve mentioned in an email or via IM.

Official definition:  “Factual information, especially information organized for analysis or used to reason or make decisions.”

The less harmful and sometimes slightly annoying way this info is used is to target specific products in your direction. I think we’ve all noticed that scenario.

For example:

(1) Gmail/Google:  If you have a gmail account tell me you have noticed how seemingly out of the blue certain ads will show up in the ticker at the top of the email box OR in the right hand column. And by “certain ads” I mean let’s say you emailed someone about health insurance or bankruptcy and viola – ads with information about those two topics suddenly start appearing.

(2) Facebook:  Since I tend to be alllll over the place on facebook discussing current events and pop culture AND since I rarely post about truly personal matters, I tend to get a random assortment of ads, i.e., nothing extremely specific. Except there seems to be an understanding that I am female and thus I do get those damn Kim Kardashian shoe ads and hair care products. #goway!

And now to the highly ridiculous and potentially incredibly harmful way this info can be used.

(B.) WEBLINING – the term used to describe “the practice of denying people opportunities based on their digital selves.”

Possible implications:  “You might be refused health insurance based on a Google search you did about a medical condition. You might be shown a credit card with a lower credit limit, not because of your credit history, but because of your race, sex or ZIP code or the types of Web sites you visit.”

Seriously and thoroughly PROBLEMATIC!

I pulled the majority of this info from a New York Times article which I highly recommend you read:   “Facebook Is Using You” 

The author’s solution? Enact “a do-not-track law, similar to the do-not-call one.” I can get down with that type of legislation. Also, TRANSPARENCY – laws requiring “data aggregators” to reveal what they know about you. Yeah, that sounds like a good idea as well. Excuse me while I go call my Congressional rep…

'Back to my favorite topic: OVERSHARING' have 2 comments

  1. February 9, 2012 @ 5:04 pm Peppur

    And, from the NY Times article:

    Data aggregation has social implications as well. When young people in poor neighborhoods are bombarded with advertisements for trade schools, will they be more likely than others their age to forgo college? And when women are shown articles about celebrities rather than stock market trends, will they be less likely to develop financial savvy? Advertisers are drawing new redlines, limiting people to the roles society expects them to play.


    • February 9, 2012 @ 6:04 pm CNM

      Yep, it has extremely far reaching implications. Now is the time to start pushing for legislation.


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