21.04.2018 || Research and Source Evaluation 7

Crystal Ball Coupons

Waite, J. (2017). Crystal Ball Coupons. cs4fn, (24).

This was a short but entertaining article that highlights just how powerful data analytics algorithms have become. In Minneapolis, a teenager was sent coupons for baby clothes despite not being pregnant. Her father complained about this but she was later found out to indeed be expecting a child.

This was picked up by the algorithms through analysing her shopping patterns. The writer points out that these algorithms are not a bad thing, especially as they can detect fraud, theft and money laundering and their ability to spot patterns also makes them ideal for identifying flu trends. However this is the issue of ‘noise’ within the data which can be misleading and lead to inaccurate conclusions, which is essentially the basis of my project.


Keeping A Lid on Your Data

Curzon, P. (2017). Keeping A Lid on Your Data. cs4fn, (24).

Another article within the latest edition of the cs4fn magazine, Paul Curzon discusses how there is an imbalance of power within the use of technology. In the modern-day world, it is difficult to lead a life devoid of the Internet – in fact, it has become pretty much essential to have at least an email address for most day-to-day things. However, this involves having to use platforms online, and that involves having to agree to the terms of the companies that provide those platforms. Curzon highlights how this gives firms access to our data, that we provide freely. I do think this is partly because there is no alternative, rather than because we are all willing to, however.

The article goes on to discuss how access to your data can be used to draw deductions which may prevent you from getting medical insurance, and generally firms knowing more about you than you may about yourself (as shown by the pregnant girl!)

There is a new project that is currently being worked on – called Databox – which prevents your data from being transferred straight to the cloud. This means trusted apps can be added to your personal Databox, giving you more control over who has access to your data.


Leave a Reply