April 26, 2007

Does Data Mining = Privacy Concerns?

Data mining has many people concerned about privacy considerations. However, data mining as a technique should not be the concern. Instead, the data used for data mining should be held to the highest legal and ethical standards. Nonprofits are governed by legislation preventing use of sensitive information such as private credit data. Prospect researchers generally follow strict ethical guidelines about using data only where relevant to the relationship.

The majority of information in a nonprofit database is transactional giving data, relationship history, organizational activities, and contact information. By using this internal data, most organizations can very powerfully identify closer constituents and those most likely to respond positively to engagement activities. Additionally, it is possible to identify constituents preferring not to receive our communications.

Although the use of data mining in fundraising is less of a privacy concern from my perspective, it is important to stay current on the debates. Here is an article discussing this privacy debate.

The future of computing will feature devices that monitor you, anticipate your actions and chronicle your life. The problem: Privacy concerns.

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