Originally posted on The Situationist:
In my Business Organizations course this semester, we have been spending some time thinking about the collection and use of consumer data by corporations. We have looked at the types of information that companies gather, how they employ statisticians to “weaponize” this information, and whether (and in what ways) the government might effectively (and constitutionally) regulate in this area.
Our discussion has been particularly well timed, given recent articles exposing corporate practices and proposals floated by the Obama administration to address certain types of consumer data mining practices.
One thing that surprised me in speaking with students was how unworried many of them were about corporations carefully monitoring and cataloging their behavior and characteristics. As one student remarked, “If all of this means that Target knows when I’m in my second trimester and sends me free coupons for lotions, I think that’s great!”