Data Mining

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What Should We Think About Big Data That Aims to Help People?

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 2:36pm
A data analytics company collects a variety of information about individuals in New York City, including demographic data, court records, employment status, education level, age, and any history of interaction with the foster care system or use of homeless shelters (acquired from New York’s Department of Homeless Services). Using a process its CEO compares to a “highly targeted marketing campaign trying to sell something,” the company then analyzes that data to come up with a list of the 30 to 50 people to be targeted for special attention.
FTC Needs to Make Sure Companies Aren’t Using Big Data to Discriminate

FTC Needs to Make Sure Companies Aren’t Using Big Data to Discriminate

By Rachel Goodman, Staff Attorney, ACLU Racial Justice Program at 2:45pm

The ACLU filed comments today with the FTC urging it and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to investigate whether big data is being used in online marketing in ways that are racially discriminatory. If companies are in fact engaging in this…

When Smart Gets Scary: Invasion of the Data Snatchers

When Smart Gets Scary: Invasion of the Data Snatchers

By Matthew Harwood, Media Strategist, ACLU at 4:54pm

Smartphones and smart refrigerators and smartwatches, oh my.

I know, I know, it doesn't sound scary, but more and more, the things we own are being hooked up to the Internet and quietly collecting data on us, which is then packaged and sold…

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Big Data and Big Money

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 8:42am

Out for a run the other day along a stretch on a busy road, I saw a "for sale" sign on a house. That got me to wondering about the downsides of living on a busy road, and further wondering: do people who live on busy roads stay in their houses for…

Federal Trade Commission Needs to Move Beyond Reports When It Comes to Data Brokers

Federal Trade Commission Needs to Move Beyond Reports When It Comes to Data Brokers

By Chris Calabrese, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 3:10pm

“In the nearly two decades since the Commission first began to examine data brokers, little progress has been made to improve transparency and choice.”      - Conclusion, Federal Trade Commission Report, A Call for Transparency…

Crop of image by luc legay via Flickr

An Important Review of Big Data

By Chris Calabrese, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:41am

Yesterday John Podesta, the president’s senior adviser, released a highly anticipated report addressing how the administration should tackle the challenges of big data in coming years. So how’d he do? Pretty well, actually. The report recognizes…

Crop of image by Arlo Bates via Flickr

When Big Data Becomes a Civil Rights Problem

By Chris Calabrese, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 11:06am

My colleague Jay Stanley just wrote about an invasive new police tactic employed by the Chicago Police Department. Using software created by an engineer at the Illinois Institute of Technology, the city developed a “’heat list’ — an index of…

Modification by Jay Stanley of photo by Nestor Lacle via Flickr

Chicago Police “Heat List” Renews Old Fears About Government Flagging and Tagging

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 10:40am

The Verge had a story last week (expanding on an August report from the Chicago Tribune that I’d missed) that the Chicago police have created a list of the “400 most dangerous people in Chicago.” The Trib reported on one fellow, who had no criminal…

Big Data, George Orwell, and Tanks

Big Data, George Orwell, and Tanks

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 11:33am

I recently came across an interesting passage by George Orwell. It made me think about Big Data.

It is a commonplace that the history of civilization is largely the history of weapons. In particular, the connection between the discovery…

Graphs by MIT Students Show the Enormously Intrusive Nature of Metadata

Graphs by MIT Students Show the Enormously Intrusive Nature of Metadata

By Kade Crockford, Director, ACLU of Massachusetts Technology for Liberty Project at 11:47am

You've probably heard politicians or pundits say that “metadata doesn't matter.” They argue that police and intelligence agencies shouldn't need probable cause warrants to collect information about our communications. Metadata isn’t all that…

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