Here we go again and like I keep saying, this is an epidemic that is cutting at the roots of our economy at some point.  It’s not only in the Healthcare business but it lurks around the financial industry too as it’s such “easy money” and when their data has errors, well they have a never ending pool of free labor, you, to fix their errors after they have made their millions or billions selling your data.  Recentlyimage the Financial Times addressed this as well so now I don’t feel so alone and the article was syndicated on a few other place too like Yahoo. 

How big of a business is this?  Big enough for all to unite and figure some new math models and algorithms to make even more money.  This is not an attack but simply stating some facts and it’s up to you as it always to make your decisions today.  Here’s a post I did a while back where SAP wants to unite with Verizon and pretty much do the same thing, run some additional queries to create more “value” or create more buyers you could say, and split the profits on the extra revenue with Verizon, take a look, it’s all around you.  I wrote this post back in June. 

So Much Money and Profit in the Data Selling, Epidemic, SAP Now Coming in as a Middleman Broker to Interpret Data & Share Profits With Wireless Carriers- Banks/Companies Making Billions

So now we have the hardware folks wanting cut perhaps and adding the software.  I really don’t know what the revenue cuts are here but as the old saying goes, “follow the money” today’s world you can’t go wrong with that concept for sure.

It really is too bad that it seems that the apps and devices either can’t stand alone and make a profit or there’s little bit of greed here too.  If you have watched the news of late, you are seeing that the money in cell phone handsets is decreasing rapidly so income has to come from somewhere, the data.  The marketing has been great and the tools are fine for consumers but there’s that back end action that takes place too. 

Back in June RunKeeper integrated with MyFitnessPal, and people were amazed that competitors would do this but when they can make money, anything is possible.  Insurance companies want some of this action too and they contribute funding, here’s Aetna and their “private label” plan called CarePass that has a ton of these folks in there, again they want data.  Insurers are probably both the biggest consumers and sellers in the data world today.  Data as such is queried to create new “behavioral analytics” and whether or not they are marketed properly and have value is still up in the air as you get the combination of combining credible data with non credible with quants usually using some non linear models looking for connections amongst billions pieces of data.  Inequality by segmentation does exist today and here’s a great video from Cathy O’Neill who talks about this in her lectures called “Methods of Math Destruction”…good stuff.  Stay tuned for the Q and A for some bonus information on Larry Summers, she used to do his models at DE Shaw. 

On the topic of addictive behaviors I thought the timing was pretty good with HHS looking yet one more “app cure” for consumers that they probably won’t use along with the fact that HHS folks don’t touch this stuff themselves with this inpatient addiction treatment.  Apps and and the internet “are” the addiction so an app to help with that?  It’s kind of an oxymoron if you ask me and a bit of Algo Duping present here. 

Hospital in Pennsylvania Opens First Inpatient Treatment for Internet Addiction–Was I Correct Back in 2010 When I Stated “Data Addiction Was The Next Upcoming 12 Step Program”

There is value out there and I just try and show both sides of it as the value for making profits is definitely there for the data sellers too.  Moving along a little farther with this we end up seeing articles like this with people “my data is out there on the web and I don’t know how it got there”…well here you go for some of the answers.

Data Floating Around the Web and You Don’t Know How It Got There? Time to License and Excise Tax Data Sellers–Identify “Flawed Data” Epidemic At The Root of the Problem

Sadly it kind of comes back to the fact that in the process of trying regulate any of this that the government is no threat to the process as they are still trying to produce low tech solutions to address high tech problems.  If want to venture beyond healthcare a little, this is exactly what you find with Glass-Steagall too.  It’s a band aid partial solution for an epidemic of data selling.  As a side note when it comes to data knowledge I couldn’t help but address the fact that Congress needs help in this area of education and John McCain is the perfect poster child.

Glass-Steagall Revival Presents a “Low Tech” Partial Solution for an Industry that Needs “High Tech” Regulation-Consumers Get 5 More Years of Bank Modeling For Inequality With Segmentation - No Real Regulation In Sight

In the finance area and when I look at companies like The Lending Club too I have to look at the impact on data selling there too.  Everyone’s doing it and when you look at their privacy policy, well it’s long, lengthy and confusing and why would they not do it when the banks are making billions doing it.

Look at the health insurers buying your Visa and MasterCard records here to see if you are buying a size larger clothes?  Blue Cross said that, not me as their reason for buying the data and experience tells me there’s a lot more analytic going on there more than just to get an idea if you are getting fat.  A data base of such detailed information is not going to be wasted with just one type of query…come on.  I said a while back that banks and insurance companies are just software companies any more with a conversation I had with an incognito banker, he’s on the inside track and knows:) 

Insurance Companies Are Buying Up Consumer Spending Data-Time is Here to License and Tax the Data Sellers-As Insurers Sell Tons of Data, Gets Flawed Data When Data Buyers Uses Out of Context Too

While all of this is going on in the healthcare side about the best we get is “hurry up Health IT” so see what I mean about government and their knowledge being no contest to the math models and algorithms created by private industry and the banks today. 

Theoretically by hiding and downplaying the revenue derived from data selling and with the efficient use of quant to model and create some algorithms that would do such with marketing only one side of it, this is yet one more opportunity to play around with risk with adding this income to the bottom line as far a better income or in the case of healthcare it could be modeled to show that thing are reducing risk..again it all depends on how it is modeled and marketed out there and we see a ton of marketing.  If you want to see how some of this works, scroll on down to the footer and watch the first video as Professor Siefe does a good job explaining how it works and he also wrote a great book called “Proofiness, the Dark Arts of Mathematical Deception”…just the title of that book could be an alert to let you know this exists:)

So with all of this we circle back around to the FTC and what they are not doing about it and that would be add a path to regulate.  If you have read this far then you should understand that you need IT infrastructure to regulate anything today and we don’t have it here nor do we have any transparency here and you can pretty much be assured there are lobbyists protecting this interest, it’s a lot of money that goes to corporate profits, easy money when modeled for profit and marketed in such a way that generates usage.  Addiction can make big profits with that type of consumer action.  It’s been done for years now.

Not everyone sells data though in this arena and the Tri-Coder is one as well as Sensoria who both relied on crowd funding to move forward.  Sensoria has a sensor that work with the accelerators so you get the best of both worlds without your date being sold.  It’s actually kind of cute with their slogan saying “we sell socks, (with sensors) not your data).  I also understand that their patented sensor will work in all types of other fabrics and clothes and there’s work in progress there.  The folks at Tri-Coder are working not to sell data to further strengthen the doctor-patient relationship as well so both get a tool that is helpful and yet doesn’t doesn’t demand you sell your data soul.  I’m sure there’s a few more out there I have not seen yet.  Sensoria received an unsolicited review from Guy Kawasaki about their product so tech folks are paying attention too. 

Scanadu Tricoder Scout–One mHealth Device Not Selling Data For Profit Goes To Crowdfunding, Will the FDA Consider Privacy in Their Mobile Device Approval System

I have had my informal campaign here to excise tax and license the data sellers and I write to the FTC about this too.  With a license, we can identify who the data sellers are as it would require all to identify the kind of data they sell and who they sell to and what consumer wouldn’t want to know this, healthcare or the financial business.  A federal website could be set up and the FTC has had some “casual” conversations incorporating some of this.  Funds raised from excise taxing these folks could be used to supplement funding the FDA and NIH who are all over the news crying for more money and these are “consumer” agencies so keep that in mind.

As the epidemic spreads companies and banks are exploring all kinds of routes and here’s an interesting new one with Humana and Eli Lilly partnering up…and the Humana subsidiary page at least says they are in the data selling business.  Almost gives a new meaning to “drug money”:)

Pharma and Health Insurance Companies Pairing Up, Humana’s Analytics Subsidiary and Lilly To Figure Out How to Save (Make) Money and Provide Better Patient Care–Selling Research Data That Competes With FDA Sentinel Initiative

Anyway stay tuned for even more marketing announcements on how some of these companies will integrate and they may in the process provide you with some addictive data you want and that’s the plan as the consumer sell of this feeds the “quantified self” movement well, which is not all bad but there’s some cross overs to the “over quantified self” in all of it as with anything you have those who take it to the extreme. When you compare the data sellers apps and devices to those that don’t, the privacy statements of those that don’t sell data are pretty simple…a few lines basically saying “we don’t sell your data” versus looking through 1-10 pages of a complex privacy statement.

I try to offer education here as best I can rather than promote “bliss” or create OMG or Soap opera type articles so they are not as exciting as what else you might read out there and some of this stuff is scary too, scare me enough to write about it:)  There’s also this Plos One study, which I wrote about kind of tongue and cheek but the more I see today with Algo Duping, it really does confirm what a lot of mathematicians say, consumers don’t like math and this study one step further and says is gives you real physical something to it..maybe:)  We know one thing is that Wall Street feels no pain and got over it a long time ago, dollar show it:)

Look at this game called Data Dealer, created by someone in the know to exploit and educate all on what’s going behind closed server doors.  The folks that did this are technologists conveying a message ; like I’m doing here, you can clearly see that in how they created the video.  Well done and to the point.

So this the the call of action for the FTC  and Congress to get out of low tech solutions and maybe get some knowledgeable Quants on board that can enlighten them and the rest of the government entities (besides the NSA as they have themselves already covered:) and get with the program of less bliss, more education and better consumer efforts that will use some high tech solutions here instead of partial band aid low tech solutions that private industry just models the heck out of to find loopholes and keep the data selling game alive.  You get some real action looking for high tech solutions and you won’t have John McCain siting around bored playing poker as often.  

FTC Tries to Bring Strong Case for Consumer Protections With Use of Data–But Nothing About Creating IT Infrastructure Path to Allow Regulation–Gov Can’t or Won’t Model?

Anyway with this current announcement (and no picking on Samsun directly as the cast of characters here with data selling is so large) this is what to expect, more of this and more of your data and data profiles out there and private industry socking more money away with bigger profits…software builds on software and in this case it’s money building on intangible algorithms with more money.  BD


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