Values and abuses of big data at banks

Mass collection of customer information could cause problems

Alexander Campbell

UK novelist Charles Stross recently expressed alarm and unease that Amazon was advertising his latest book with a note reading "Customers who bought this item also bought: RADIOACTIVE URANIUM ORE SAMPLE". But occasional failures like this aside, Amazon's recommendation engine, based on analysis of hundreds of millions of sales records, is a key part of its success, and an example of one of the biggest technology stories of the last two decades (along with the slow rise of machine translation