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Big data blues: The dangers of data mining

by Dashboard Insight, Dashboard InsightThursday, November 07, 2013

Cindy Waxer, a Toronto based journalist, writes for Computerworld on the ethical dilemma big data can present and how consumer backlash when over used or used improperly can hurt the brand.

Big data might be big business, but overzealous data mining can seriously destroy your brand. Will new ethical codes be enough to allay consumers' fears?

More than simply bits and bytes, big data is now a multibillion-dollar business opportunity. Savvy organizations, from retailers to manufacturers, are fast discovering the power of turning consumers' ZIP codes and buying histories into bottom-line-enhancing insights.

In fact, the McKinsey Global Institute, the research arm of McKinsey & Co., estimates that big data can increase profits in the retail sector by a staggering 60%. And a recent Boston Consulting Group study reveals that personal data can help companies achieve greater business efficiencies and customize new products.

But while harnessing the power of data analytics is clearly a competitive advantage, overzealous data mining can easily backfire. As companies become experts at slicing and dicing data to reveal details as personal as mortgage defaults and heart attack risks, the threat of egregious privacy violations grows.

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Source: Computerworld

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