Data Mining and Human Rights

Data mining is defined as using sophisticated data search capabilities and statistical algorithms to discover patterns and correlations in data sets to discover new meaning in data. While appropriate use of data mining can help improve life it can also be abused and misused for intentional nefarious purposes. Yet a hidden danger is purported "experts" with narrow vision mining data with good intent not understanding unintended negative consequences. For example, the policy experiment of lockdowns to control Covid19 was conceived without proper cost-benefit analysis - causing significant collateral damage to society, including broader healthcare considerations. Another example is mining "big data" about groups of people and making purportedly "scientific" predictions about specific individuals may cause serious damage to people and society.

Personal data mining is ripe for abuse at many levels - there appears to be a dangerous trend of fusion between big government and big business attempting to concentrate power to control life at the system level at the expense of human freedom. Accessing and mining personal data, including health data, and using it to make system level decisions about human life has the potential to abuse human rights and civil liberties resulting in disaster.

The predictive accuracy from such "big data" mining at this time is dubious (it may work in specific circumstances for limited periods of time). Moreover, the strength of any real predictive signals is likely to be weak without more relevant smart data about specific individuals. Make no mistake, concentrating power into overly centralized decision-making systems using surveillance and data makes it easy for a ruling class to erode human rights and civil liberties. 

Big government and business is now collecting and purchasing personal data information from data brokers about individuals and using opaque predictive analytical processes to influence and control. Historical experience and strong evidence suggests centralized governing systems make huge system level mistakes without timely self-correcting mechanisms.

The world requires more decentralized governing systems and stronger data privacy laws to prevent massive system level mistakes and to protect human rights and civil liberties.