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Why data mining is bad
Old 05-16-2006, 03:27 PM   #1
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Why data mining is bad

Got a call from my insurance company today. They're upgrading me to their top tier "product" as I havent ever filed a claim and they're willing to give me max coverage for a reduced price.

Anyhow, in the call the agent says she needs to verify the whereabouts and circumstances of three people who are or were members of my household.

About 10 years ago I bought a house with my girlfriend, we split up about 7 months later and I bought her out of the house. We did a "quit claim" that was filed against the property title. That was that. So I thought.

The three people were her ex-husband from the 1980's...her current husband that she married about 5 years ago, and her sister. None of which who ever lived with me/us in any property that I owned.

But there they were, all nicely linked in.

And according to my insurer, since they have been linked, even though the link is erroneous...they cant be removed. I had to write a letter explaining who they are and why nothing about them has anything to do with me, and really never did. Thats now included in my file.

So I looked at my wifes credit report data real quick. Interesting...her ex-husbands current addresses, and the addresses of his new wife are listed as former addresses of my wife, even though she's never lived in any of those places.

This is why data mining and aggregation are bad. Not because of the privacy issues.

Because its frickin wrong a lot of the time.

What if my insurance rates have been set for the last ten years in accordance with an assumed relationship with these people, one of which I've never even met?

Fortunately they're all nice squeaky clean white collar types and not dirtbags.
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Re: Why data mining is bad
Old 05-16-2006, 03:43 PM   #2
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Re: Why data mining is bad

Well, when it comes to government, I think the opposite case could also be made: that it's a good thing these systems tend to be so craptastic, so that when the big bad oppressor types get into office and start trying to lock up their enemies, all they get out of it is garbage info.

Of course, that still sucks for the wrongly identified victims, like you...
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Re: Why data mining is bad
Old 05-16-2006, 03:52 PM   #3
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Re: Why data mining is bad

Getting garbage out wouldnt stop them from making an arrest or slapping on a wiretap, methinks.
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Re: Why data mining is bad
Old 05-16-2006, 03:54 PM   #4
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Re: Why data mining is bad

I'm just happy that eBay doesn't share their data with the IRS.
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Re: Why data mining is bad
Old 05-16-2006, 03:56 PM   #5
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Re: Why data mining is bad

As far as you know.
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Re: Why data mining is bad
Old 05-16-2006, 04:08 PM   #6
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Re: Why data mining is bad

Another example of private sector stupid data mining tricks:

I get a form letter in the mail yesterday from credit card company C. "You are one of our best customers and we value you. Please call us and tell us which one of these things would make you happier with us", and then there was a list of lower APR, reduced fees, etc. Now this is a credit card that I got expressly to take out a 0% no fee balance transfer and invest the money. Um, guys, I am taking advantage of your largesse and you want to shower me with more goodies because I am one of your "most valued" customers? OK...
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Re: Why data mining is bad
Old 05-16-2006, 04:10 PM   #7
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Re: Why data mining is bad

I got the same thing from CITI recently, and I used them for a 0% BT.
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Re: Why data mining is bad
Old 05-16-2006, 04:11 PM   #8
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Re: Why data mining is bad

I have a HELOC that i've never used. I cant count how many times I've been called by a machine and left a message of how great my mortgage payment record is and how low a rate they can offer me to refinance with them.

"We can guarantee a lower rate than you're paying now on your mortgage..."

"I dont think you caaaaaaaaaaannnn..."

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Re: Why data mining is bad
Old 05-16-2006, 04:15 PM   #9
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Re: Why data mining is bad

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cute Fuzzy Bunny
Getting garbage out wouldnt stop them from making an arrest or slapping on a wiretap, methinks.
No, and it's still wrong, but there is an arguable benefit (I'm really not sure how valid the benefit is, and I'm not sure I'd argue it): take, for instance, the Chinese government... they want to crack down on dissidents (and Christians and whatever other weird fetishes they have), so they come up with an ID card or some kind of data mining system.... It might be a good thing that their technology will no doubt suck, since that will seriously hinder their attempts to crack down on dissidents. You're right that they'd probably haul off the random misidentified guy to re-education camp anyway, which is why it's maybe not a benefit at all, but at least they're thwarted from being a**holes, and also a group of freedom-fighters would stand a better chance at surviving and overthrowing the fascists.

I know, it's very tenuous...
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Re: Why data mining is bad
Old 05-16-2006, 06:13 PM   #10
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Re: Why data mining is bad

Just wait until RFID tags really saturate the marketplace. Once they find out you buy a 30 pack of beer and a pound of bacon every day, just watch your health/life insurance rates go up!

I gotta go change the tin foil in my hat now....
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Re: Why data mining is bad
Old 05-16-2006, 06:42 PM   #11
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Re: Why data mining is bad

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cute Fuzzy Bunny
What if my insurance rates have been set for the last ten years in accordance with an assumed relationship with these people, one of which I've never even met?
Fortunately they're all nice squeaky clean white collar types and not dirtbags.
Ruh-roh... once the insurance company realizes that these people aren't carrying your no-earned-income deadbeat carcass anymore, your rates will probably double. Good thing your spouse still has a high credit score!

When we bought our house it was in a somewhat distressed condition... "supervised" by the brother-in-law trustee of the deceased parents whose adult son was living on the property along with other extended family members. (Ever bought a house and had your new neighborhood throw you a "Glad You're Here!!" party?) Four years later two plainclothes Honolulu's finest showed up on our doorstep looking for him (he violated his parole) and his ex-housemate (whose car had just been found in Idaho with a load of cocaine).

Can't wait until all their info shows up in our credit report...
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Re: Why data mining is bad
Old 05-16-2006, 08:18 PM   #12
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Re: Why data mining is bad

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bimmerbill
Just wait until RFID tags really saturate the marketplace. Once they find out you buy a 30 pack of beer and a pound of bacon every day, just watch your health/life insurance rates go up!
Hey! It sounds like you've already got your RFID tags in my local supermarket...
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Re: Why data mining is bad
Old 05-16-2006, 10:58 PM   #13
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Re: Why data mining is bad

Who needs RFID? when they already have those shopping cards to track your bacon and beer buying habits. I was reading on data mining that they have used the information to conclude that folks are more likely to buy beer and diapers together. and to place those items together. My guess is that none of the info. is really very useful and it is just a bunch of computer geeks making money off of this stuff.
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Re: Why data mining is bad
Old 05-17-2006, 07:13 AM   #14
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Re: Why data mining is bad

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maddy the Turbo Beagle
I was reading on data mining that they have used the information to conclude that folks are more likely to buy beer and diapers together.
That'd be people like me (assuming I ever actually *bought* beer <shudder>). Kids will drive you to drink, sometimes. Then again, so will spouses, employers, the mailman, fluffy clouds, sunshine, etc.
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Re: Why data mining is bad
Old 05-17-2006, 08:09 AM   #15
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Re: Why data mining is bad

I always said that Home Depot should have a booze aisle...for when you're down to that 5th or 6th trip to get the right sack of plumbing connections for that project you're working on and you're contemplating developing a time machine so you could go back and bludgeon the people who couldnt just use some common pipe sizes and connections and just had to have their own.

Funny, my kid's never driven me to drink though.
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Re: Why data mining is bad
Old 05-17-2006, 08:22 AM   #16
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Re: Why data mining is bad

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cute Fuzzy Bunny
Funny, my kid's never driven me to drink though.
That's just cause Gabe's not old enough to drive...

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Re: Why data mining is bad
Old 05-17-2006, 08:24 AM   #17
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Re: Why data mining is bad

I was going to add "but time may change that", but figured I'd leave it for someone else
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Re: Why data mining is bad
Old 05-17-2006, 08:25 AM   #18
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Re: Why data mining is bad

I have a formula for estimating the time it will take to do a home improvement project:

(Estimate of time reqd x 2)^2, then express in the next highest time unit.

Example: The sink drain trap is leaking. Estimate: 5 minutes to tighten up the coupling.

(5 x 2)^2 = 100, and the unit is hours . So, one three day weekend plus change. This estimate will include the 6 trips to HD ("where's my pipe wrench?" "I bought 5 rolls of teflon tape last month--has anybody seen one?", etc), the replacement of the rotted cabinet floor you put your hand through, the replacement of other corroded pipes/fittings that crumbled when the wrench touched them, replacing the chintzy cold water supply valve that broke when you turned it off (to prevent someone from flooding the place while te drain was open) cleaning up the mess when someone ran the sink despite the tape over the faucet, etc, etc.

Sometimes you might finish before 100 hours, but the formula includes some accounting for the occassional trip to the emergency room for stitches, tetanus shots, etc.

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Re: Why data mining is bad
Old 05-17-2006, 09:29 AM   #19
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Re: Why data mining is bad

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maddy the Turbo Beagle
I was reading on data mining that they have used the information to conclude that folks are more likely to buy beer and diapers together. and to place those items together.
Sounds kinda kinky... :P
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Re: Why data mining is bad
Old 05-17-2006, 09:38 AM   #20
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Re: Why data mining is bad

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cute Fuzzy Bunny
I was going to add "but time may change that", but figured I'd leave it for someone else
Actually, in all serious, I'd say that it is because you aren't working and then coming home to do modern dad duties. You have the luxury of devoting most of your time and energy to Gabe. I would say both of you are very lucky.
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