Project: Data Analytics and Customer Privacy
Rapid changes in technology and data mining capabilities have created many difficult (and often scandalous) opportunities for the misuse of customer data, from Target’s famous “pregnant customer algorithm” to Amazon’s patent for predictive ordering. Moreover, devices such as the Amazon Echo create additional privacy concerns, as these devices are “always listening” and thus capable of collecting data from unsuspecting individuals. In other words, data technology appears to be creating ethical concerns that are difficult to anticipate ahead of time.
For this project, you will choose two companies in the same industry (e.g., Social Media, on-line retail) and examine/compare their use of customer-relevant data. The final paper should be approximately 10-13 pages in length (before references; formatting should be double-spaced, Times New Roman 12 pt. font). This paper will have five sections:
i. One to two pages: describe the industry and its unique challenges and opportunities with regard to customer data. Is there a history of problems?
ii. Two to three pages: describe the two organizations, their general policy with regard to use of customer data, and any problems that have surfaced for them. How do the organizations differ in issues such as how user agreements are managed, whether data is sold to other parties, etc.?
iii. Two to three pages: what potentially thorny ethical issues must companies in this industry navigate, and what are issues that are likely to emerge in the near future? Do the two companies currently have data management policies and systems that are sufficient to avoid scandal?
iv. One to two pages: do the organizations appear to be collecting the “right data?,” or are they using a “more is better” approach? In other words, does their data collection appear well-designed and intentional, or potentially excessive?
v. Three to four pages: design an alternative (or updated) customer data policy for these two firms. Do differences between the organizations and their customers necessitate different policies, or is there a set of best practices that would apply to both? What does your user agreement look like (if there is one), and how is consent for using data obtained? Be sure to justify how your new policies will both meet the data needs of the organization, while also providing robust safeguards to customers now and in the future.