While data mining is a technology that has a large number of advantages, there are also some disadvantages that need to be addressed. The biggest problem that is connected to data mining is privacy.
Privacy is an issue that is hotly debated today, and it is likely that it will continue to be debated in the future. In the information age, it sometimes seems as if everyone wants to know everything about you. The rapid transfer of personal information has led to the rise of identity theft. Because of privacy concerns, it is likely that data mining will become a well known topic of discussion within the next 10 years.
If you have ever wandered what it would be like to live in a world where all your movements and purchases were tracked, this world may be right around the corner. It is technologies such as data mining which will make it possible. While this tool will give companies the data they need to market their products and services to customers, it will also give them access to a large amount of personal information. What stops these institutions from selling their data to others? The government has talked about using data mining in order to track the movements of people in order to fight against terrorism. But how much is too much?
Data mining is a technology that can easily be abused. Whenever you go to a bank to fill out a loan application, the information you put on it will probably be placed in a database. When you conduct an interview over the phone or on the internet, the information that you submit is also placed in a database. Many proponents of data mining assume that the information held by an organization will exist in one location. In reality, this information can fall into the hands of anyone, and once a single copy of it surfaces on the internet, it can be replicated numerous times. Many of the consumers who buy products or services are not aware of data mining technology.
They may not know that their shopping habits, names, addresses, and other information is being stored in a database. While data mining might be a term that is well understood in certain circles, it has not yet entered the vocabulary of the general population. If you are the owner of a business, do your customers know that you are putting their information in a database? Do you bother to tell them? If you are adding them to a database without their knowledge, how do you think they would feel if they found out? While data mining has a number of advantages, there are some ethical issues that raised.
Customers should be given the right to choose whether or not they want to have their information placed in a database. It is likely that a large number of them won't because of privacy concerns. Large corporations that are fiercely competitive may avoid giving their customers an options because they don't want to lower their chances of being able to have an edge on their competition. Because of this, they are faced with the ethical problem of whether or not they should give customers the option of allowing their information to be placed in a database.
This is a problem that is not easy to solve. Do you run the risk of losing your competitive edge by allowing your customers to decide whether or not they will allow you to place their information in a database, or will you add their information to your database without their knowledge? While most companies will normally want to collect basic information on their customers such as names and addresses, data mining is much more effective when you have detailed information such as age, income, gender, marital status, and other information.
The companies that choose to clandestinely add the information of their customers to a database could suffer a powerful backlash.
This backlash could lead to the company losing profits, along with many of their customers. If your company decides to use data mining, it is best to give your customer an "opt-out" choice. For those that choose to "opt-in," you should make it clear that you will only use their information for internal purposes. Customers will respect a company that is open and honest with them.
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