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MasterCard As Well As Other Financial Institutions Using Big Data To Get Into Your “Online Pants” As Many Consumers

Posted Dec 22 2013 3:22pm

We all know what that old saying means when someone is trying to get “in to your pants” and now it’s not just people, it’s technology wanting to get into your pants every time you turn around. image   So let’s talk about what happens you leave you fly open as the old story goes you don’t know it’s open until someone tells you.  I’m not talking about the use of big data for retailers to define their markets as that is helpful to see where interest lies and that was the basis of mining data to begin with and there is a plus side if done right that the consumer gets targeted information and not junk they don’t want, but in my inbox of late, it’s not happening very well today as some of the matching and analytics being done when it goes beyond targeting general demographics is getting flawed out there.  If I write about something I don’t like, the key word is searched and I get email soliciting me for exactly what I don’t want. 

I’ll give you an example here with how this has worked in a somewhat ridiculous way for me.  My last name is “Duck” and you can’t go through life and be thin skinned and I’m not of course and I like to have fun with it when I can and to break the monotony I do some “off the wall duck posts” just because it’s about ducks and to add little entertainment here.  Well there was one that ended up on Reddit about a study about the duck phallus.  I thought it was a bit entertaining and thus blogged it as it said if you don’t use it, the duck loses it, real scientific study but at the same time a bit entertaining.  Here’s the post from a couple years ago if you want to read it.  All these marketers keep trying to get in my pants and I don’t possess one of those organs so the simple “male-female” data column to segment is not being used properly for one example to target. 

If You Don’t Use It You Lose It–Ducks Engineer Their Own Phallus Relative To Their Social Surroundings

Well guess what, due to that blog post I get bombed with erectile dysfunction emails about products, studies, and you name it because sex always sells, or is supposed to anyway <grin>.  Ok so here’s the query masters looking at keywords like “phallus” in the content and guess how they all found me.  This is where the problems lie today with some of this…they tell you that data mining will help you reach your audience, well I’m not a good audience for this topic with every frigging product someone develops and wants to market  and again just added it for some different content on my blog.  For those of you that are fans you might want to read the rabbit story I covered a while back as well where they have grown them for rabbits and perhaps this blog post added to  the phallus marketing data mining as well. 

Google got me too with not having a “machine compliant” name and their algorithms said I was a real “duck” and out of the blue suspended my account which I had to appeal, so all I did there was “use my real name” as their policy called for and their algorithms were flawed as they had not learned enough about the word duck being a surname in their dictionary, so because of that I was suspended for doing what they asked and they thought I was avoiding their “data collection” machine, so be aware of that if you are having babies and if you want them to grow up and use Google as they will need “machine compliant” names <grin>.

 

So moving on here I’m very aware of how SQL queries work and wrote tons of them myself and also spend over 25 years in sales and marketing so I try to see both sides of this.  That’s why you might say the content here on this blog is different, more than one point of view and yes it makes my brain hurt at times too.  So when I see these big data efforts out there I put two points of view together and this is what is written here.  So in the case of MasterCard here we have this big news about how they are going to use big data and sure with creating indexing on their 30 years worth of data will help in many ways but it will also help them sell more data about us, not born under the cabbage leaf yesterday if you will.  Here’s the new lab you may have read about in the news. 

MasterCard Recruiting Software Engineers For New e-Commerce Technology Lab, Maybe More Slicing and Dicing of Our Data To Sell to Insurance Companies for One? Be Wary of Corporate “Algo Dupers” Out There Feeding on “Non Skeptical Consumers”…

So I was now reading the article below again about MasterCard and their use image of big data and what they are doing.  Again they not alone as you will find these types of efforts all over the electronic financial world.  So I’m reading along here and I learned something, that MasterCard has invested in a start up company MuSigma and there’s no dollar amount listed, so let’s swing over there and see what they do.  Well they sell software platforms and don’t identify who their “big” customers are outside of telling you that Microsoft is one of their partners .  Now you can’t really tell from this if in fact Microsoft is using their decision making analytics or if they are a provider of some of the solutions the company sells.  All the other “Fortune 500” clients are “no names” to include a “large publicly head US insurance company” a “Top 10 commercial banking institution”, and the “world’s largest pharmaceutical company” and I put that into Google and came up with the name “Pfizer”…which may or may not be their client depending on who’s ranking who out there.  Anyway you can look at the page from their site and create your own perceptions of who they are

Notice the site says “do the math”…and talk about the “math” as well here quite a bit in many posts and even to the point to where this PLOS One study seems to have a lot of merit anymore with showing a study on how the financial world always wins as “the fear of math” seems to be giving most of us some real physical pain.  Again the study has real MRI images and so forth that took a look at the stated phenomena.

“Algo Duping” – Plos One Journal Publication Explains Why The Fear of Math Plays a Big Role As One Underlying Reason We All Get Duped And Those Who Don’t Fear Math Take All the Money, Gradually, Using “Mathematical Formulas & Algorithms”

Ok so MuSigma is in the analytics and data science business.  There’s a lot of good that data scientists can create and this field is still so very new and again there’s the data mining side that wants to be in your pants as well as selling data makes money.  A while back I had to agree with some banks from down under with what they had to say as they study what type of analytics to purchase in depth and based on what they were seeing and evaluating out there, the conclusion was reached that about half of what banks and companies were going to be investing in would be a waste of money perhaps they had already wasted some of their money as nothing like hands on experience can speak any louder.  This was from February, link below, of this year.  So again while all of this is taking place, can these folks please make it a point to stay out of my Internet pants <grin>.  My body hurts from being shoves in and out of data cells, ok and being forced to join up with other data right now:)

Half of Analytics Investments By Companies and Banks Will Be a Waste–What Do We Analyze with Big Data and Does It Have Value–Some Algo Fairies Would Do Better at Disneyland…

Ok so I’m going to leave the MuSigma page and follow a link over to the MasterCard site to read up and get a little more educated on what’s going on here.  So let’s see what they have to say over at the MasterCard blog, I like to read and be informed by all means, so I end up over here at the “Engagement Bureau”…how image do you like that marketing terminology.  Most of the time I’m writing about mHealth and all the folks over there that can’t figure out how to get patients to engage, which ties in with this as well as we don’t trust data sellers.  Here’s a big info graphic on your “Online Persona”.. what in the heck is this all about and why should I care is the first question that comes to mind. 

I read further it says a study reveals there five online personas and a study that tells me how consumers look at them..ok I’m going to bounce back to the real world, I don’t think I can recall one consumer telling me how important their online persona is ok?  Have any of you reading here done any research to find out about what yours is?  If you have, please leave a comment and tell me what it means to you so I can learn up too.  Just my opinion and maybe I’m off base but most of the folks I run into are more concerned about family, making sure there enough money to pay the bills, mortgage and so on..am I off target or is it really a persona that holds consumer interests?  Here’s the page and see if this makes sense to you.

Do 64% of consumers believe their data has value, might be true as we all know everyone is selling it, and do 55% appreciate tailored offers?  Well you read my story above and the flaws to me are killing this concept as a lot of the automated query masters kind of suck.  Do you want to know or care which of 5 personas fit you?  I’m getting this straight out of their “media” section.  You can also read about the “cashless pioneers”…   We if do do want to keep the data miners out of your pants, cash is still one of the best methodologies, that is without using a “savings card” where data gets collected.  There are some other players in your pants that you don’t even know they are already living there like E-Scoring who through legal technicalities doesn’t classify itself as a credit agency and yet they mine and provide data about you to all kinds of entities.

E-Scoring Credit Algorithms Invisible To Consumers Used to Market and Evaluate, Does Not Fall Under Federal Law And Such Are Used by Insurance Companies - How Will This Work With Exchanges –Attack of the Killer Algorithms Chapter 42

Too bad we are looking at the potential of some digital centric laws to help protect consumers in areas like this.  I’ve yet to see our consumer financial protection czar, Richard Corday do much and again you have low tech lawyer working outside his normal area of law in trying to build a data base to see how this works, another low well meaning low tech guy trying to help consumers in world where he has little math model and algorithmic understanding. 

Richard Cordray, Fail With Understanding Flawed Models and Algorithms -Big Case of“Algo Duping”With Big Data-Save Time, Hire Quants Who Know How Consumer Financial Models Are Built and Function…Geez

My big fears here too with efforts like restoring Glass-Steagall and the Volcker rule…just not digitally centric at all with no named IT infrastructure polices and thus we are probably getting just more low tech band aids as we have to rely on the level of digital intelligence that our lawmakers possess and this just gives the high folks more way and time to model new ways to get into our “Online Pants”or ways to sell us pants with defective zippers to leave the fly open.  Sure we all like the convenience of digital payments but do we have to walk around with our fly open to benefit? 

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

As digital marketing goes today there’s a strong push to get all to identify with brands and that’s ok except for when the push is too strong and we seem to get a little brain washed with forgetting to identify with humans and the more you identify with brands and the more brands you identify with it seems the less identifying with humans is taking place today with the virtual worlds we see online.  So be careful and keep an eye on your fly and take notice when it is open as there’s lot algorithms out there waiting to get inside.  Yeah, just what we need today, more algorithms getting in on the “fly”<grin>, so keep one word in your thoughts today and that is “context”, it is everything when it comes to your perceptions and those of others and it is what “really” leads to decision making processes and influencing and controlling the processes of others.  Here’s yet one more example of health insurers looking for some open “flys”…by purchasing your Visa and MasterCard records as they are made available…and it’s not just to see if you are buying clothes a size larger as Blue Cross said as the reason for this methodology as your charge records could be you buying clothes for anyone, not just yourself and they don’t have to be in your “fly” to carry the word to educate consumers on obesity, as it’s really about data for sale as one data set gets queried, and re-queried and old again and again. 

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

About a year ago I stated that big data used out of context stands to be the biggest discriminatory practice against consumers and from what I read with the data selling epidemic and the over use and abuse of segmentation models, there’s nothing stopping it and it is technology being used to profit and potentially abuse those who do not have access or understand how all of this works when you add on some one sided marketing,  like as I mentioned the above, need to who WTF your “persona” is…as you don’t’ need a bank or a credit card to really tell you that as other humans still do a much better job of that. 

Big Data/Analytics If Used Out of Context and Without True Values Stand To Be A Huge Discriminatory Practice Against Consumers–More Honest Data Scientists Needed to Formulate Accuracy/Value To Keep Algo Duping For Profit Out of the Game

Video clip from Emanuel Derman who used to help create black box code at Goldman chimes in, he’s now a professor at Columbia…Watch the full Quant Documentary in the footer…you’ll learn what math models are all about..

Be a skeptic when you need to be and don’t’ jump too fast sometimes and be aware of what’s happening around you even though you can’t see it running on servers 24/7 making life impacting decisions around every algorithmic turn today.  If you want to dive in deeper and see how some of this is manifested in the media you read today, then check out the link below and you can go to the Algo Duping page when you have time to take in some videos that also help explain how the technology and getting a hold of your data for profit works.  All the bills and proposed laws I have seen proposed are again nothing but low tech band aids as they offer no “index” to create the group that needs to be “segmented” and and regulated and the needs to buy a license to sell and distribute data would do just that, and then the proposed laws and bills could eventually have some “teeth” and some real consumer protection methodologies to provide more transparency and privacy could be realized. 

Quantitated Justification For Believing Things That Are Not True And Using Mathematical Processes To Fool Ourselves-The Journalistic Bot Functionality Debuts As Media Can’t Resist the Formulas…

I like data that makes me smarter but right now with all that is taking place out there today with math methodologies just just suck in consumer data to profit with little concern for ethics, all of this is really is having the opposite affect with me as increasing bank and corporate profits is not where my concern is today as I work to try and survive with the rest of the 99% population.  Again with putting both a technology and marketing spin to all of this, as I spent many years selling for a Fortune 500 company too and thus so was exposed to the corporate machines, having a secondary focus really helps to see it for what it is as well as the technology mechanics that put it all in place.   BD 


It may be obvious that the massive credit card company MasterCard is heavily involved in big data. They have over 1.9 billion credit cards world wide that do over 65 billion transactions per year. They have over 32 million online and offline merchants that accept credit cards from MasterCard and 22.000 issuers and their credit cards are accepted in 210 countries. They use 700.000 rules to automatically clean, aggregate and augment their over 10 Petabytes of data. Apart from preventing fraudulent behavior and identifying and preventing fraudulent transactions before they occur, MasterCard applies big data in another innovative way. It knows what everyone buys, and they are using big data techniques to offer reports, insights, customer information and forecasts to their merchants.

The data that MasterCard obtains is, however, still not yet ready to use. With each transaction they receive data regarding the amount of the transaction, the merchant name, the time, date and the credit card number. They then strip the account number and make the data anonymous, according to Gary Kearns, group executive for the company’s information services business in an article on ZDNet . However, the problem is that the data obtained is messy, as the name of the merchant on a point-of-sale machine is a free-text field, resulting in many different names for the same merchants, retail chains or businesses. In the past years MasterCard has worked on creating the rules, algorithms and engines to clean such data and make it usable.

As a result MasterCard invested in the big data startup Mu Sigma , for an undisclosed amount. Mu Sigma is an analytics service provider and one of the most-funded big data startups currently. Together they will offer joint products using MasterCard’s databases and Mu Sigma’s analytics technology.

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