The term, Big Data, is described in the Consider This box on page 488. The massive amount of data collected about consumers is being used to predict events and to guide marketing campaigns.

The term, Big Data, is described in the Consider This box on page 488. The massive amount of data collected about consumers is being used to predict events and to guide marketing campaigns. Whenever you post a message on social media, perform a search, make a purchase at a large retailer, or use a smartphone or tablet, you may be adding to a database that is storing details of your everyday behavior.

Marketers use the data to determine an individual’s political views, marital status, and other demographics. Facebook’s Data Science Team collects and analyzes the personal data posted and can develop a detailed record of each user’s life and relationships. If, for example, a user is posting messages about a recent breakup with a significant other and listening to melancholy songs, marketers can use the information to send advertisements about similar albums or online social networks. On a larger scale, security agencies can use the data and predictive analytics to identify individuals who might commit a crime and then monitor their behaviors. Some individuals believe Big Data enriches lives by informing consumers of new products and services and also by adjusting prices to a price point that meets a budget. In contrast, privacy experts criticize the practice of collecting data in the interest of initiating direct marketing and changing behaviors. Locate at least two articles discussing Big Data.

Which states have proposed or passed legislation that would require companies to inform consumers about how personal data is collected and analyzed?

Is it ethical for one company to share its database with another business in an entirely different context? For example, should a supermarket be permitted to share its customer purchases database with health insurance companies, which then can use the data to predict medical risks and possibly increase premiums for those customers purchasing unhealthy food?

What steps can you take to minimize invasive Internet tracking?

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