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Data Mining searches being abused

According to the Washington Post, the National Student Loan database (a relational database, believed to be on IBM DB2) is being abused by searches that violate Federal law, and data mining activities which may violate privacy laws:

"Students' Social Security numbers, e-mail addresses, phone numbers, birth dates and sensitive financial information such as loan balances are in the database, which contains 60 million student records and is covered by federal privacy laws.

"We are just in shock that student data could be compromised like this," said Nancy Hoover, director of financial aid at Denison University in Ohio."

The potential abuse with data mining is quite real:

"She said the data mining had gotten out of control, and they were trying to tone it down,"  . . "They'd seen the mining for a few years, but now they felt it had grown exponentially." . .

As companies began to aggressively look for low-risk borrowers to target for consolidation plans, they turned to the database for prospective customers, the official said."

Data Mining is the capstone of data queries, a method for defining cohorts of related data items and tracking them over time. The basic goal of data mining is to identify hidden correlations, and the data mining expert must identify populations (e.g. Eskimo’s with alcoholism) and then track this population across various external factors (e.g. treatments and drugs).

These Decision Support System (DSS) interfaces require the ability for the end-user to refine their decision rules and change the salient parameters of their domain (i.e. the confidence interval for the predictions).
 

See my other notes on data mining here:

 

 



 

 
 
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