Nowadays that includes our images and more specifically the selfies that we informally snap and share. Parents of 21st Century digital kids need to know that data mining reaches ever farther into our lives, seeking information from our most spontaneous and casual digital image creating activities.
An October 10, 2014 article in AdWeek, How Marketers Are Mining Your Selfies for Data: Chances are, Without You Knowing, describes how data mining firms collect information on the millions of pictures that are casually uploaded and without privacy settings.
These information collection companies want to glean data about consumer preferences such as what people are wearing, what they are doing, and especially about brands and logos. One of the data mining start-ups claims that it can access and collect information on more than 700 million images per day. The old adage — an image is worth a thousand words — may actually understate the worth of the photos.
The article at AdWeek refers to a much longer Wall Street Journal (WSJ) piece, Smile! Marketing Firms Are Mining Your Selfies, is available to subscribers or at a library. While the article made the rounds of media and marketing sites, it did not get much coverage in many of the digital parenting and kids’ privacy sites.
The image just above, from the Wall Street Journal Online site, depicts what data miners are looking for when they examine our pictures.