BIG BROTHER IS THERE
Big Brother really exists and is located in Conway, Arkansas.
Here, day and night more than 23 000 computers grind information of millions of people drawn by any source in the web. These servers are not operated by CIA or Google, but from a little-known and discreet company called Acxiom, that knows everything about millions consumers and Internet users in America and in the world.
Acxiom (Acxiom Corporation) is a marketing technology and services company with offices in the United States, Europe, Asia and South America. It offers various marketing and information management services, including multichannel marketing, addressable advertising and database management. Acxiom collects, analyses, and parses customer and business information for clients, helping them to target advertising campaigns, score leads, and more.
Likely, on Acxiom’s servers are stored age, race, sex, weight, height, education, sexual preferences, political opinions, buying habits, dreams, health, and who knows what else, of nearly all Americans and of many Europeans.
The New York Times says that, according to experts, Acxiom has collected over the years, the largest body of data ever on consumers. His computers process more than 50 billion data per year and it is said that in 2011 about 500 million people had been “indexed” on these servers, for each of which had been found 1500 information. These information are then reviewed, classified and catalogued by the software, to make them available for a fee to companies that request it. Obviously, Acxiom’s customers include banks, manufacturers, e-commerce companies and department stores who want to know more about people’s tastes. A very profitable business, given that in 2011 the Acxiom had a turnover of 1.1 billion U.S. dollars with a profit of 77 million. According to the company’s leaders, everything is perfectly legal since they provide only to collect information available in public records, on the internet or on social networks. In the United States there is a growing fear for “database marketing”, especially if conducted on a large scale that can have unforeseen and disturbing developments. It is expected, in fact, that this company does not want only to collect and sell such data, but has also developed a software, that based on the data collected, will influence consumers actions. (See the picture)
Not to mention the ethical implications when a commercial company starts to “handle” sensitive information such as health status, political or sexual preferences. I guess that as minimum the consumer should know, with certainty, what use is made of his/her data and which companies are buying them.
source: Panorama June, 27, 2012