Privacy and Confidentiality Issues in Data Mining

Privacy and Confidentiality Issues in Data Mining

Yücel Saygin
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-951-9.ch180
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Data regarding people and their activities have been collected over the years, which has become more pervasive with widespread usage of the Internet. Collected data usually are stored in data warehouses, and powerful data mining tools are used to turn it into competitive advantage. Besides businesses, government agencies are among the most ambitious data collectors, especially in regard to the increase of safety threats coming from global terrorist organizations. For example, CAPPS (Computer Assisted Passenger Prescreening System) collects flight reservation information as well as commercial information about passengers. This data, in turn, can be utilized by government security agencies. Although CAPPS represents US national data collection efforts, it also has an effect on other countries. The following sign at the KLM ticket desk in Amsterdam International Airport illustrates the international level of data collection efforts: “Please note that KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and other airlines are required by new security laws in the US and several other countries to give security customs and immigration authorities access to passenger data. Accordingly, any information we hold about you and your travel arrangements may be disclosed to the concerning authorities of these countries in your itinerary.” This is a very striking example of how the confidential data belonging to citizens of one country could be handed over to authorities of some other country via newly enforced security laws. In fact, some of the largest airline companies in the US, including American, United, and Northwest, turned over millions of passenger records to the FBI, according to the New York Times (Schwartz & Maynard, 2004).

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