Personal Finance

Be on lookout as you navigate data networks

There is an emergence of analytics on the fly
There is an emergence of analytics on the fly where spontaneous decisions are made based on the data. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

In the various talks I have been invited to give to various audiences, I always play a certain clip of an anecdotal account of a man ordering pizza from a restaurant, the sales lady takes the customer on a wild goose chase during placing of the order.

She keeps referring to a system that has all the data of the customer ranging from health data, location, crime, family, car and financial data. Apparently, the customer is unsuccessful in placing an order for the pizza because he has diabetes, has exhausted the credit card limit, the wife left with his debit card and the story goes on.

Today, there is an ever-growing list of use cases in which the issue of data ownership comes into question, and there are several complexities that often make it difficult to reach a conclusive answer.

We might argue about the ethical use of data, especially so when we haven’t as a country put together a data protection act to govern its use. However, with the rise of the digital wave, we need to be continuously conscious of the digital crumbs that we leave while doing things online and the potential impact of that in shaping our interactions both offline and online entities.

Locally, credit score companies have a huge appetite for personal data that they share with their third party clients to inform loaning decisions. There is an emergence of analytics on the fly where spontaneous decisions are made based on the data. The key industries driving this are advertising, e-commerce, transport and finance a micro- lending app TALA is one such application that when you download, it asks for permission to read the activity on your phone including short message service (sms), call detail record (CDR), and online activity.

This data fuels the credit score that determines how much loan you can get. In the era of big data, we are witnessing an increase of the cyber-crime directed towards data heists with the most notorious being Equifax, which lost over 145 million client data records. Data is an asset to behavioural data scientists who model application programme interfaces(APIs) and levering on emerging technology like Machine Learning and able to scale. Applications to lager audiences.

Because of the digital crumbs we leave while online, using Natural Language Processing algorithms, various u=entities are now able to run Social Sentiment analysis without your permission and extract metadata that informs decisions.

For instance embassies and security agencies are using AVATAR tool to cross check your background. Employers are now able to predict when you will leave employment, sports teams are able to track weekend activity online and offline to gauge social health being of the players.

It is time to start paying particular attention to following: Public Wi-Fi that we connect to, pages that we like on face book, Apps that we download, and many other as all this have implications.