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Who is collecting your data and what's it being used for?

(9 Posts)
MaizieD Thu 26-Jan-17 10:24:23

This is either very, very scary stuff or paranoia at its most paranoid!

Take your pick...

Data collection and how it was used in the US elections (and probably our referendum as well)

How dangerous is Big Data?
Anyone who has not spent the last five years living on another planet will be familiar with the term Big Data. Big Data means that everything we do, both on and offline, leaves digital traces. Every purchase we make with our cards, every search we type into Google, every movement we make when our mobile phone is in our pocket, every “like” is stored. Especially every “like”. For a long time, it was not entirely clear what use this data could have – except, perhaps, that we might find adverts for blood pressure on our monitors just after we’ve Googled “reduce blood pressure”. It was also unclear whether Big Data would endanger or benefit humanity. On 9 November the answer became clear. The company behind Trump’s online campaign, as well as behind the Brexit campaign, was a Big Data company: Cambridge Analytica, whose CEO is Alexander Nix.

MaizieD Thu 26-Jan-17 15:20:36

Fascinating that no-one is interested in this...

durhamjen Thu 26-Jan-17 15:32:53

Probably because it is a very long and detailed article.

I was reading an article about Universal Credit today. It seems that the DWP can't manage to collect data on those who have to be moved onto UC in just one area, Croydon. It takes twelve weeks to move onto universal credit, by which time some people have been made homeless.
So Trump might know all about us, but our own government doesn't.

MaizieD Thu 26-Jan-17 15:41:29

I thought I was crediting Gnetters with the ability to read long and detailed articles. I'm sure that not all of them can only deal with soundbites...

daphnedill Thu 26-Jan-17 15:48:46

I don't think I would want the DWP to rely on the kind of algorithms which Google and Facebook use, because they're not very reliable. There would almost certainly be even more mistakes with calculating benefits than there already are.

Fortunately, I haven't had any dealings with benefits agencies for a few years, but my experience was that the administration is chaotic. In the past, all admin was dealt with by a single office - the one where you signed on. These days, each separate bit seems to be processed by separate offices in different geographic locations. It seems that the different computers don't 'talk' to each other very efficiently.

I don't know anything about the admin systems for Universal Credit, but I understand that the merging of so many different benefits is causing problems. The letters people receive are also automated. When I was receiving benefits, I once received three letters on the same day telling me three different things. Finding an actual human to discuss the letters was a nightmare and the person I spoke to wasn't from my local JobCentre. It seems these systems work in real time and generate letters, but don't have the 'common sense' to realise that another piece of data is just about to be factored into the calculation. A human would hang on until all data has been processed, but a comuter doesn't.

It's not that the data isn't there, but the computer systems the DWP uses aren't up to the job.

daphnedill Thu 26-Jan-17 15:49:49

I read it Maizie. Do I get a gold star? wink

daphnedill Thu 26-Jan-17 15:52:49

The first time I became aware of Big Data was a couple of years ago. I had been doing a bit of research on the treatment of women in the Middle East and, all of a sudden, started receiving ads for Muslim dating sites! Google obviously got its algorithm a bit wrong. shock

MaizieD Thu 26-Jan-17 16:04:50

Will these do, dd [sunshine} sunshine

What is unsettling, I think, is that this a a private company and all the data they have harvested is available to anyone prepared to pay for it.

It's developments like this that make me want to oppose things like ID cards on which all sorts of data could be stored without our knowledge or consent. The article talks of sorting people into different 'types'. What if you were a 'type' that your government wanted to be rid of?

MaizieD Thu 26-Jan-17 16:05:29

Boobed sad

sunshine sunshine