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15Jul/120

Retina tracking BI: consent is not required

Business Intelligence quickly moves past analyzing our conscious responses... it is after what you really think - not what you report thinking.  Forget polls and questionnaires - the best data is collected from the subjects not even aware of the process. Take the heat-map generated by Unilever analyzing shoppers eye movements... or compare designs produced in0house with these vetted by consumers subconsciously preferring one shape over another...

No consent required - the very fact that you stepped into the store (or visited an online site)  implies that the retailer is free to track your every movement, or ambush you with colors, music or odors designed to induce specific behavior.  I could easily imagine a system tracking reaction on images of politicians, say, Romney and Obama; I bet it would be a much better indication of voting patterns than old-fashioned door-to-door pollsters - and also would open a giant can of worms on invasion of privacy issues...

Where  do we draw the line in legitimate use of data?

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24Oct/100

Do No Evil? Google’s financial savvy

The GOOGLE corporate "ten commandments" lists a variation on "Do No Evil" as #6 - "You can make money without doing evil"

While I agree with the spirit, the company's practices certainly raise some disturbing ethics questions... In minimizing its corporate taxes the Google, with 2.4% effective tax rate, is well ahead of competition - the laggards such as IBM, Microsoft, Apple and Oracle (who average ~4%). The fact that it is doing so legally, and has plenty of fellow "tax minimizers" is of little consolation to the empty IRS coffers.

The bottom line: Google has built a complicated international structure that sends most of its overseas profits to the tax haven of Bermuda

while carefully building "holier than though" image, may I add...