This from a 3 part series on how Google collects user data and utilizes it as a product to sell to companies wishing to market products.
The question is, and remains – how is that data utilized by companies? Turns out the data can not only be utilized to segregate consumers by income – but by race.
The implication here after the sub-prime mortgage scandals targeting blacks and other minorities for higher priced, and predatory loans, is that the basic tools for racial discrimination are present in the data collected by Google. Tools which will be utilized by the folks who brought you higher interest rates for black folks on everything from cars to houses – to further economic and job discrimination.
This is an excerpt from the article – follow the link and read the entire article to understand how it works.
Reempowering Racial Discrimination: This targeted price discrimination based on behavioral tracking, unfortunately, directly enhances the most traditional kinds of racial discrimination. Study after study has shown that employers, financial lenders, car salesmen and other merchants continue to charge black and Hispanic customers more for the same service when they can identify them.
For example, a study by the Urban Institute using paired “testers” — one white person and one person of color with similar economic profiles — found that non-white homebuyers received less favorable financial terms from mortgage lending institutions. Job seekers face similar discrimination with one study, where nearly identical resumes were sent to 1300 help-wanted ads, found that resumes with a “white-sounding” name were 50 percent more likely to get a call for an interview than one with a black-sounding name.
The Internet was supposed to let people escape such easy discrimination, but behavioral tracking makes such identification trivial. Add together someone’s taste in music and a few more characteristics and you have an almost perfect proxy for race. As Rebecca Goldin, a George Mason University professor, argued in a 2009 article, it’s clearly illegal to discriminate based on race, but if companies offer loan rates based on their shopping habits, it raises the question of “would it be legal or ethical to use the kind of music one buys to determine his or her loan rate?”
Given that we know straight up racial discrimination happens all the time in these commercial transactions, what the Internet supplies is a multivariate datamining opportunity to discriminate in ever more precise ways that may largely escape legal scrutiny.