Posts Under: Data Analytics

Assessing the Value of Data Analytics in Criminal Justice and Beyond

This week, SIIA published an issue brief assessing the use of data analytics in the criminal justice system.  Not surprisingly, data analytics has helped to reduce crime and improve the criminal justice system, particularly through its application in predictive policing and criminal risk assessment.  The report also explores critical questions and concerns raised about the effectiveness and unintended outcomes of the various tools in use today. This report is timely, as it coincides with a critical decision handed down by the Wisconsin Supreme Court about the use of evidence-based risk assessment tools at sentencing.  The Court supported the use of predictive tools, such as the COMPAS tool at the center of the trial, but it ruled that “risk scores may not be considered as the determinative factor in deciding whether the offender can be supervised safely and effectively in the community.” [emphasis added] Essentially, the court’s decision confirme ...

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Medical Debt and Credit Scores: The Private Sector Responds

In the financial market, lenders such as banks and credit card companies use credit scores to assess the potential risk of issuing a loan to an individual, in an attempt to mitigate losses. In essence, a credit score determines the credit worthiness of an individual. As a result, an individual’s credit score can significantly impact his/her ability to obtain a loan.

To derive credit scores, credit scoring systems like FICO use complex and advanced algorithms that are evaluated and developed regularly. In fact, over 90% of all consumer lending decisions use the FICO score. Tweaking and double-checking the algorithms are essential as economic conditions change a consumer’s ability to repay loans and laws change the way in which consumer’s repay loans. These FICO scores range from 300-850; borrowers with lower FICO scores have to finance loans at higher interest rates. To control the risk that borrowers might not repay their loans, lenders divide borrowers into tiers based on this score. So, it is imperative to calculate credit scores accurately for both the lender and borrower in a financial transaction.

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A Public Policy Roadmap for the Internet of Things

We are at a key inflection point in the history of information technology (IT), representing the evolution of IT from a specialized tool into a pervasive influence on nearly every aspect of everyday life.  As the Internet further develops away from a computer-to-computer communication network, it is becoming a ubiquitous network linking electronic devices and everyday objects.  This development, often referred to as the “Internet of Things” (IoT), describes ubiquitous interconnectivity, where people don’t just interact with a wide range of objects and devices, but devices and objects also interact directly with each other. Today, SIIA released a new report, Empowering the Internet of Things:  Benefits, Solutions and Recommendations for Policymakers, providing an in-depth look at the technological, social, and economic benefits and challenges facing the IoT.  It examines how data processing applied to the information flows from the IoT will make ...

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Data Analytics Improves Decisionmaking

A recent article in the New York Times raises the question: do algorithms discriminate?  The question is legitimate, but the emphasis is wrong.  Instead of thinking of data analytics as a problem, we need to welcome the new opportunities for improved decisionmaking that they enable.  And we need to cooperate to identify and address any disparate impacts data-driven decisionmaking might have.

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The White House Releases a Sensible Report on Big Data and Differential Pricing

Earlier this week, the Executive Office of the President released a report on big data and differential pricing that is a sensible guide to a tricky topic. The main conclusions were that the use of big data for differential pricing doesn’t really raise any new policy issues.  It is not widespread, the practice has many consumer benefits, there is no evidence of real harm associated with the practice and hypothetical harms are covered under existing laws or are likely to be mitigated by consumer behavior such as seeking the best price.

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SIIA Comments on the Use of Data Analytics to Promote Social and Economic Opportunity

Today SIIA filed comments in the Federal Trade Commission’s Workshop on “Big Data: A Tool for Inclusion or Exclusion?” The workshop was held on September 15 and usefully framed important developments in the use of data analytics for providing services to low income and underserved consumers and provided a forum for discussion of the possibility of unfair or discriminatory use of data analytics.

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Data Analytics in Education Promotes Social and Economic Opportunity

The recent FTC workshop “Big Data: A Tool for Inclusion or Exclusion?” posed important questions on whether and how analytics could be used to restrict life chances for people rather than create economic and social opportunity.  The answer lies in the hands of the user of the technology, not in the technology itself.  The critical question is how people use, implement or otherwise act on the discoveries – the indicators, insights and evidence – that data analytics can uncover or reveal.

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