Information Mining Essay, Uncategorized 0 comments on Encroachment in Information Mining Technologies – Part III

Encroachment in Information Mining Technologies – Part III

We must find a way to process the information that is constantly thrown at us. However, it is important to maintain the elements of our own information that don’t need to be shared. Greater amounts of information for progress don’t excuse those using the information from taking our identity or humanity. We shouldn’t wait for a crisis to try to enact these changes. It is the duty of the consumer to demand change from the producer. The producer’s best interest is to continue the business practices that have allowed them to succeed thus far. Therefore, a consumer revolution of sorts must occur to ensure that information is appropriately used. As Barbour notes, “Recognition of the inadequacy of old patterns plus the vision of positive alternatives could produce major changes,” without the need for a disaster like AOL’s search leak (Zeller Jr.) to repeat itself. Therefore a delicate balance must be found between use and intent, with an eye out for preservation.

Even if the information is tacitly shared, the question of who owns the information must still be asked. Do I have a right to pull my records out of the databases of an online retailer with whom I no longer plan to do business? Is this true of other business contacts that we have in the physical world? I think the issue of ownership scares the general public more than the other issues because of the permanence involved. If I have privacy concerns, then I simply stop browsing the Internet. However, if anyone has ever saved a page with my information on it, I cannot force him or her to get rid of it. Furthermore, through simple technology based techniques, companies are now able to store information about one’s search, browsing, and shopping habits. This means that they can not only tailor their advertising towards products that you would more likely be interested in, but also hold information that the user feels should be kept secret. I have to carefully weigh the need to do business on the Internet versus my right to privacy. If businesses cannot guarantee my anonymity, then I am forced to take my privacy into my own hands. The lack of any kind of regulation in this area means that the companies only report to themselves. This responsibility is one that is bound to create a very grey area in terms of right and wrong. Maintaining the integrity of data while making a profit is simple for any company, but when economic tides turn, and the data is a valuable asset, what is to bar the company from freely using a user’s information to earn a profit?

Information Mining Essay, Uncategorized 0 comments on Encroachment in Information Mining Technologies – Part II

Encroachment in Information Mining Technologies – Part II

Should collecting information about people without their knowledge be allowed? At the heart of this question, is whether or not our privacy is maintained if others are collecting information about us. This is the most serious implication here because the others are derivatives of this question. Ultimately, one should understand that, “everything we do on the Internet should be treated like an elevator: people are going to be listening,” (Tips for Protecting Privacy Online) but the issue of privacy isn’t concerned with what we’re willing to share that is exposed, but what we aren’t willing to share that is exposed (Zeller Jr). The danger is that the fragile relationship between the individual and the anonymous will crumble. It is this desired anonymity of the web that makes it such an attractive sphere of commerce and relationship. What happens when we lose this security of anonymity? The price that we paid, “depersonaliz[ing] our culture and los[ing] the compassion and pity … perceived in [Roussea’s] Noble Savage” (Sassower, 59) all go for naught. We feel a sense of angst because we’ve given of ourselves and received nothing in return. In fact, it could be perceived that we’ve lost more than we gave. Information must be gathered, but what is the cost of leaving pieces of one’s self behind? If I can still be identified, then my need for, and trust in, the Internet disappears.

In previous worldviews, information was either given to the individual, or was compartmentalized enough to be properly processed. This is no longer the case. Information is in and of itself a paradigm that is becoming more and more difficult to process. Kuhn calls a paradigm, “what members of a scientific community share,” and this can be extended to the Internet by looking at all users as the scientists experimenting on how the web connects us and allows us to interact. Beyond processing, comprehension is also becoming an issue. The next worldview must address information and see how it is affecting the general ability for humans to evolve the understanding between the various paradigms that co-exist. If information could be better understood, then the potential to bridge paradigms would increase, and the potential progress derived from this is quite exciting.

However, the notion that less is more fails here. Why? Because the less of ourselves that we give, the more that we lose. At the same time, giving up too much of ourselves, and then having this information blatantly misused makes less of us as individuals, while returning little in terms of better service, better experience, and better understanding of our identity. Sassower comments that, “Computer technology can replace some of the uses of a library, but it must be treated respectfully … in order to sustain our humanity” (Sassower, 101). Similarly, the Internet can replace much of how we interact or exist, but it must be done in such a way as to preserve our humanity. When we exit our browsers, it is important that we are still human. Giving up too little of ourselves denies us the experience of the Internet, while giving too up too much leaves a shell where a human once stood.