branding package

Essay by neek123University, Bachelor'sC-, March 2014

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Nneka Williamson

Professor Parmach

Ethics in Business


3- Point Ethical Game Plan: The Use of Big Data and the Ethical Concerns

Customer information is collected by private companies, some of which include Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and Twitter. This information gives companies new insights into all aspects of everyday life. The acquisition of the large quantities of data is known as Big Data. Big Data is commonly used to analyze customer data to make predictions that would benefit advertising campaigns. Although, Big Data raises certain ethical issues as well. One specific case of the use of Big Data is Target's pregnancy targeting. Essentially, Target identified women who were not known to be pregnant and purchased specific items. These specific items, Target concluded, were an indication that the woman might be pregnant. Those tagged women were then subject to targeted ads for baby products.

The ethical concern related to Target's use of Big Data is the matter of privacy.

Target gathered information from its customers without people knowing how the data would be used, or even that is was gathered. A father of a daughter wrote a letter to Target asking why his teen daughter was receiving coupons for baby products. The father later found that his teen daughter was pregnant. Target knew that the daughter was pregnant before the daughter's family was informed. The data gathered by Target was private, and since it was gathered without proper informed consent it is an ethical issue. Another matter of privacy violated is that Target was able to make inferences about people that crosses into the realm of privacy. The information of whether a woman is pregnant or not is information a company should not know.

A business world that is fueled by rapid technology innovation makes it unreasonable to require that companies...