The ever-finer rating and ranking of consumers

I talked about this phenomenon in Average is Over, here are some recent developments:

In two nonfiction books, scheduled to be published in January, technology experts examine similar consumer-ranking techniques already in widespread use. Even before the appearance of these books, a report called “The Scoring of America” by the World Privacy Forum showed how analytics companies now offer categorization services like “churn scores,” which aim to predict which customers are likely to forsake their mobile phone carrier or cable TV provider for another company; “job security scores,” which factor a person’s risk of unemployment into calculations of his or her ability to pay back a loan; “charitable donor scores,” which foundations use to identify the households likeliest to make large donations; and “frailty scores,” which are typically used to predict the risk of medical complications and death in elderly patients who have surgery.

That is from Natasha Singer, interesting throughout.  And I just received a review copy of the relevant Bruce Schneier book Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Capture Your Data and Control Your World.


Comments for this post are closed