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Data Mining: Ethical and Legal Implications

Data mining is considered and can result in ethical, and privacy, and legal issues.

How would you consider ethical, privacy, and legal issues as part of the project planning?

Please see the case study related to this problem in posting ID # 43547, which can be found and looked at for free at this link: http://brainmass.com/business/business-analysis/43547

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Please refer to file attached (also presented below), as well as the supporting documents. I hope this helps and take care.

How would you consider ethical, privacy, and legal issues as part of the project planning?

I. Privacy (i.e. both ethical and legal implications) Sand potential solutions

Data mining is considered and can result in ethical, and privacy, and legal issues. In other words, when the data collected involves individual people (i.e., staff and customers), there are many questions concerning privacy, legality, and ethics. First, there is privacy issue to consider. Basically, data mining gives information that wouldn't be available otherwise; thus the privacy issue, which has both ethical and legal implications. How can this potential privacy issues be dealt with effectively by becoming part of the project planning process?

1. Potential Solution: The customers and staff could be informed that the information may be later used for marketing purposes and, ideally, get written agreement (i.e., signed consent). This could be written into the original sales contract when a vehicle is purchased, for example. However, another way could be to inform the customer would need to be contacted to respect the privacy of information laws (HIPPA, 1996). However, careful storage of the personal (i.e., financial, etc.) information is also important (see further discussion below).

2. Potential Solution: Another consider is to incorporate an organization to monitor privacy issues on the web (if this is part of the overall planning strategy for collecting information about customers and product trends of other companies). For example, there have been a number of organizations arise to monitor privacy issues on the web (EPIC [www.epic.org], or Institute for Business Technology Ethics [http://www.ethix.org/] or provide a "seal of approval" for web sites (Truste [ www.truste.com ] or BBB On-Line [www.BBBonline.com]) (http://www.jackmwilson.com/eBusiness/eBusinessBook/Law%20and%20Ethics.htm).

3. Potential Solution: A trained analyst (training of existing staff or outsourced) is imperative so that the data is interpreted correctly, and to avoid the misuse of personal information and making incorrect inferences.

Since data mining is the application of algorithmic methods for knowledge discovery in vast amounts of data, it can be used to glean useful information in both scientific and business domains. When we talk of data mining, we generally refer to a system that is more sophisticated than a simple query or statistics over a database. A data-mining algorithm performs a non-trivial computation on data that can be terabytes in size. A typical example, which would be one use of the data mining information by Retro, is inferring customer or product groups from market-basket data.

Other ways of looking at Privacy Problems and Potential Solutions

Problem: Privacy violations that result due to data mining

4. Potential solution: Privacy-preserving data mining through encrypting and safe storage

Problem: Privacy violations that result due to the Inference problem E.g. inference is the process of deducing sensitive information from the legitimate responses received to user queries

5. Potential solution: Privacy Constraint Processing

Problem: Privacy violations due to un-encrypted data mining

6. Potential solution: Encryption at different levels

Problem: Privacy violation due to poor system design

7. Potential solution: Develop methodology for designing privacy-enhanced systems

(For more detail on each of these points and other privacy issues and solutions refer to attachment "Data and Application..." or URL:

Privacy and security of private records also has legal implications, as ...

Solution Summary

This solution explains the ethical and legal implications of dating mining and how to effectively deal with these issues in project planning, as applied to the attached case scenario of Retro. Supplemented with two highly relevant articles.