#algorithmicEvil - Consumer Advice from US Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee

This excellent Ars Technica article summarizes a report from the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation that explores the practices and policies of consumer data collection companies.

It's conclusions: Consumers ...

should expect that data brokers will draw on this data without their permission to construct detailed profiles on them reflecting judgments about their characteristics and predicted behaviors
Of course, this is not new. However, the convergence of these practices with massive, hyper-personal data collection, social mediation and the widespread adoption of  personalization technology (for web content presentation) is game changing. In a largely unregulated, advertising-driven internet, the combination presents the opportunity for relentless targeting of individuals through manipulated, contrived content masked as news and opinions from trusted sources.
 
The segmentation excerpt from the report is particularly sobering. Again, not new, but seeing it clearly shows the potential for targeting to exploit financially vulnerable individuals:
 
 
This used to be a practice of loan sharks and criminal enterprises, but now seems to be acceptable practice for respectable businesses. Aside from the potential harm to individuals, the character of the internet is at risk as it is transformed from a medium for exploring, learning and connecting with individuals .. to one for manipulation and commercial exploitation of individuals and communities.
 
I hope the Senate acts on this report to propose and enact sensible consumer protection regulations.

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