31.05.2018 || Research, draft outline and next steps

Too Much Information – Dave Gorman

Gorman, D. (2014). Too much information. Ebury Press.

In this book, the author takes a closer look into the ‘noise’ that we are constantly surrounded by, in the way of television adverts, social media and newspaper headlines. I was hoping to gain some more insight into the nature of online advertising, and therefore draw some links between the way consumer data is used and the potential impact of this.

However, Gorman does not discuss this at all. He discusses online advertising in the way of bloggers and ‘influencers’ marketing products on social media briefly, but this does not relate to my hypothesis as he does not address targeted ads except to say that he often finds that they are inaccurate. So, although the book did not really aid my research in any way, I did find it to my a mildly entertaining read and it definitely did bring to light how digital the world has become. This book was published in 2014, and today there is even more data being thrown at us online and just as much being generated by us, emphasising how big data has become a tool that can be harnessed by online firms in all sorts of clever ways.


I feel as if I have completed sufficient research to now put together a draft. In line with my schedule, I have put together an outline of key points that I hope to discuss in my essay, based on all of my research so far, which I’ve copied below. After discussing this with my supervisor, I will make any necessary changes to it before commencing on the next step which will be to write up the first full draft. In my schedule, I planned to get this done by 23rd June.


Initial draft Use outline of project to put together an essay, developing each point and adding in my own evaluation. Edit and refine. 23rd June Time-management Work on project for approximately 2 hours each weekend up until this pointExams around this time – therefore there is some flexibility around this date so that I can complete my draft within the following week


I identified that with end-of-year exams around this time, it might be difficult for me to make time to write up this draft. Because I do not want to rush this draft, I will extend this deadline to the beginning of July, which will hopefully give me some time to review the draft with my supervisor before the summer holidays.


EPQ Draft Structure/ Outline

To what extent does the use of big data analytics for consumer targeting in modern-day society increase inequality?






  • Value of data in modern society ‘data is the new oil’
    • Inequality heightened by select number of firms with immense power in the market
  • Can generate insights about you
    • To the extent of things you don’t know about yourself eg. Walmart ads
    • Can prevent you from access to opportunities without you understanding why eg. Jobs
      • Can disadvantage people job-wise if criminal record associated name etc.
      • Algorithms used in Polish jobcentres cut off certain people from accessing help https://www.hebahpervaiz.co.uk/2018/01/20/12-04-2018-research-and-evaluation-4/
    • Predict race, religion https://www.hebahpervaiz.co.uk/2018/01/23/15-04-2018-research-and-source-evaluation-facebook-6/ even if information not explicitly collected
  • Creates information asymmetry between consumers and big tech firms
    • Can limit people ‘climbing up the socioeconomic ladder’, especially the poor who are less aware of privacy settings [A Matrix of Vulnerabilities]



  • Only see views based on our own likes/ dislikes
    • Exposure solely to views that reinforce your own
    • Potential reinforcement of dangerous, fringe views
    • Creates secluded bubble
    • Information asymmetry
      • Discuss Eli Pariser’s idea of serendipity
      • Discuss origin of the Internet -> intention to unite & enable equal access to information
    • Causes ‘digital isolation’
      • Through personalised ads – but are they such a bad thing
      • Bring in results from survey
        • Establish they are not necessarily a bad thing except when used to push a political agenda?
        • Regulating Facebook merely nips at the edge of a bigger problem
          • https://www.ft.com/content/02522a94-4496-11e8-803a-295c97e6fd0


  • Use of big data within justice system to target potential criminals and prevent crime
    • Cathy O Neil: potential danger of feedback loop which causes divide without human intervention
  • Used to inform UK custodial decisions: https://www.hebahpervaiz.co.uk/2018/01/20/12-04-2018-research-and-evaluation-4/
  • Widen gap -> poor people more likely to be affected https://www.hebahpervaiz.co.uk/2018/01/20/12-04-2018-research-and-evaluation-4/



  • Algorithmic/ psychographic profiling
    • Used to exploit customers eg. Price discrimination, payday loans
    • Or more recently, swing elections (supposedly)
  • Or is it just a shift in the structure of the advertising market?
    • Not new – been used for a while – https://www.theverge.com/2018/3/25/17161726/facebook-cambridge-analytica-data-online-marketers [Accessed 13 Apr. 2018].
    • https://mashable.com/2018/03/27/science-behind–psychographics-cambridge-analytica-facebook/#wLsNmirw0iq3


No. Doesn’t cause inequality.

22.03.2018 || Research and Source Evaluation 3


Conclude – Point of Internet. Eli Pariser serendipity

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