Understanding The Profiles Of The People: Data, Mediation And Power

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Question :


The aim of this assignment is to examine how data shapes meaning. We want you to explore this issue by looking at your own life as a case study and answering the following essay question: What are some of the ways data defines who you are? Do you have any control over this? 

Assessment Description 

We want you to use specific examples of how data defines you (e.g. profiling - e.g. as a terrorist, a certain kind of shopper, a potential paedophile; or even the use of data by Spotify/Pandora to suggest playlists for you). Choose two or three examples, no more. Your examples may be actual (i.e. you may have been defined this way), or possible (you could be defined this way based on what's happened to other people). Now, you need to decide if the examples you've found are problematic. If you think they are you need to explain why and what you could do about it. If you don't think the way data defines you is problematic, you need to explain why also. Here is a suggested way of approaching this essay: 1. Brainstorm some of the ways data plays a role in your life - you will need to flick through the weekly read-ings as well as your tutorial notes. Make notes on paper, or a mind-map. 2. Take a close look at your brainstorm document and identify the more serious ways data plays a role in your life -that is, identify the situations in which the data doesn't just play a role, but seems to define you, making you who you are. If you can't think of any, then go back through the readings (because there are plenty of ways data defines us). 3. Think about these ways data defines you, and ask yourself: what are the problems with this? Is there anything I can do and do I need to do anything? Jot down some answers to these questions. Now, look for some research that discusses the same issues. 4. Using your research and your ideas and examples of data, think of an argument you could make about how data defines you and what (if anything) you can do about it. Imagine you had to convince someone about the role of data in your life, and what you want to do about it. Write it down, in two or three sentences. This argument is the argument you will use for your essay. 5. Now that you have your argument, your perspective, you are ready to write your essay. Your essay needs to logically explain your argument, using your examples and research to back you up. Sometimes it is good to start with a heading that sums up your argument.

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Answer :

Research Essay

Assignment for Data, Mediation and Power


Today, it is noticed that people are connecting with each other through different ways of online communication. There are several platforms and online communication channels through which people are connecting with each other. On the other hand, there are e-commerce companies that is gathering the data and profiles of these people and are accordingly targeting the customers. 

One might thereby raise questions regarding how the company comes to know about the likes and preferences of these individuals. It will however vary from person to person but still these companies are able to crack on the data profiles of these individuals and are accordingly targeting them with intended products and services (He et al., 2015). 

The role of data analytics has recently thereby increased in the working environment. It not only collects data but also analyzes the different patterns and approaches through which different customer profiles can be created. The purpose of data analytics is to - collect the data, measure it through different mechanisms, analyze the patterns, and thereby take necessary actions. 

People of the given community thereby needs to make sure that these data collection procedures will define their entire profile (He et al., 2015). It will not only collect information regarding likes and preferences but will collect all types of behaviors that are taking place on the online platforms. The companies will thereby get more clear view of their customers; they will thereby target specifically any given products and services to the respective target audience in a given environment. 

This report will thereby focus on understanding the profiles of the people and will accordingly bisect the information to understand the behaviors, nature, characteristics, and other peculiarities in a given environment. 

It will subsequently help people understand how their different data is used across by multiple companies for different purposes. This report will thereby include examples of different customers and will highlight their different characteristics in a given environment. One can thereby determine the importance of data collection in the modern times and its application by the different companies in a given operational environment.

Research Purpose

The purpose of this research is not only to collect the data of different profiles but is also to understand the role that data plays in different ways for different people. For example, the data of a given individual will be used by the governmental authorities for different taxation purposes (He et al., 2015). 

Similarly, the same information about the individual will be used by the banks and other such financial institutions for different financial purposes. On the other hand, similar information is used by private companies to analyze the behavior and purchasing power parity of the customers (Mukamaambo & Mutabihirwa, 2013). Thus, the same data of a given individual is found to be used in multiple ways. 

However, there will be certain data of individuals that will have restricted use by different organizations. For example, the data and profile of the terrorist will be used only by the governmental and military agencies. It will be of little use to the other concerned companies since they do not want to target them with any of the products in a given environment. 

The purpose of this research is thereby to understand the process wherein data shapes the meaning. The data and information can be used in multiple ways; hence it will be more important to determine how the data is used and by whom in a given environment. 

The role of data is important in different purposes of life. It is also important to validate the data through a set of procedures. The different procedures include - data validation process, data verification process, and data reliability process. It will thereby make sure of whether the data provided is correct or not. 

Further, it will also make sure of bridging the gaps between the organization and the individuals and will subsequently prepare the strategies of marketing in a given environment. The role of the marketing agencies is to collect this data, segment it based on different criteria, and thereby target them with the different products and services (Mukamaambo & Mutabihirwa, 2013). Today, majority of the data - both personal and professional is uploaded on the social networking websites. Hence, the companies are tacking this data and using it for a variety of purposes.

Research Objective

The aim of this research report is to determine the application of data in different aspects. It is noted that in today's technological world, people are sharing different types of information across different platforms. Hence, it becomes easy for any entity or organization or institution to have an access to such information sources. 

Further, it is also noticed that the political parties are gathering this information and using them during the time of elections. Through different types of data gathered, the political parties in an indirect way receive the access to the data and thereby target the voters in the election. It thereby becomes easy for them to understand the needs and other requirements of the voters. 

Hence, it thereby becomes important to conduct a research in this direction to determine the usage of data. Also, terrorist organizations and counter-terrorist organizations are collecting different sets of data to track each other's movements. They want to capture important locations and thereby make sure of preparing the attacking strategies over each other. 

This usage of data is very confidential and is stored in very secured locations. It is also found that multinational companies are facing threats of cyber-attacks on their organization. The major purpose of the hackers is to steal the data and thereby create huge losses to the organization. It is further found that there are already examples, wherein it is noticed that the companies are hacked for the purpose of stealing vital data (Meiner, 2013). 

For example, in the case of Yahoo, more than 10 million accounts were hacked and the hackers steal data related to the customers. The customers not only lost their privacy information but also lost their banking information during this attack. It thereby becomes necessary to prevent these data-sets through cybersecurity mechanisms and other such strategies in a given working environment. 

The role of the technological team is thereby becoming vital as they are collecting all the information and data and thereby analyzing them from different perspectives. One can thereby ask the following research questions regarding the data:

  • What is the data collected for?
  • Whose data is collected and what is the sample size?
  • How the data collected will be used for different applications?
  • Why the data is segmented into different categories?

Importance of Data in Life with Examples

The data collected can be presented in the form of different diagrams and tables so that it can be analyzed in a proper way. Researchers have developed different techniques for the purpose of analyzing the data collected. It is noticed that the key purpose of collecting the data is not only to analyze it but also to formulate the future strategies of the organization. 

For example, in the first case scenario, an e-commerce company is collecting data of the customers regarding - total purchases in a given month, types of products purchased, quantity of products purchased, and injuring about any products from the company. Also, the customer's demographic information such as age, gender, education qualification, income background, and other social aspects are collected by the company (McGuckin et al., 2013). 

It thereby becomes easy for them to advertise the products and target these products to the selected target audience. The top-level monument of the organization thereby introduces products that can meet the different requirements of the customers in a given environment. On the other hand, the insurance company collects data of the customer based on his age, income, gender, future requirements, and details about family members. 

The data so far collected will then be used for the purpose of designing an appropriate insurance plan in the organization. The purpose of insurance is not only to provide the life cover but also to provide financial support to the family members in a given environment. The data thereby collected can be used for such purposes that will ensure providing the right plan to the customers (McGuckin et al., 2013). 

The customs can review the plan, get information about the benefits and thereby select the plan from the respective insurance company. The data thus can be used for multiple purposes across multiple sectors and by different organizations. It becomes easy to analyze the profiles of the customers through data analysis (Maina, Kitonyo, & Ogwell, 2013). For this purpose, data diagrams play an important role in a given environment. 


After considering the different applications of data, I have found that data is both useful and vulnerable to different risk factors in a given environment. The government and other authorities need to make sure that the private companies that are collecting the data of the customers are deploying proper security mechanisms to protect the personal and private data of the customers (Lynam & Fletcher, 2015). 

The companies need to implement cybersecurity strategies through which they will be able to protect the confidential data against different forms of attacks such as - hackers, cyber threats, data hacking activities, attack of viruses and Trojan, malware, and other such issues in a given working environment. It thereby becomes necessary and important to deploy security mechanisms in a given environment. 

The objective of cybersecurity is to protect the data against such external threats and on the other hand the top-level management of the organization needs to analyze the data through different techniques and mechanisms (De Scisciolo, Egger, & Ayala, 2018). It will thereby ensure that the data is analyzed properly. Further, it is found that the data profiles can be easily created. However, it becomes all the more difficult when data is extracted from multiple sources about the same person. 

For example, when the data is resourced from social media profiles, from professional media channels, and from government agencies, the data will not validate with each other. The same person will demonstrate different characteristics and abilities amid the different platforms in a given environment (Schneider, 2013). 

Hence, it will be the role of the researchers and the marketing agency to separate the data sets and formulate them in different tables. The data will thus be used for different purposes as per the needs of the organization. The segregation of data will provide more insights about the respective individuals. 

However, the organizations that will be using this data need to make sure of protecting the data-sets and confidential information about the individuals. Only then the law of privacy will be maintained in a given operational environment (Schneider, 2013).


This report highlights the importance of data, the formulation of data sets and how every individual is associated with his data profiles across multiple platforms. It will thereby provide a lot of information to the respective companies in a given environment. 

This report highlights the data collected for the customer that is shopping online through e-commerce platforms, about the individuals that is looking out to purchase the insurance and also about a terrorist when viewed from the perspective of counter-terrorist organization. The role of data is thereby important in today's environment as it will reflect - characteristics, behaviors, personalities, abilities, and other skill-set (Root, 2013). 

It will also identify the liking, preferences, and needs of different products and services in a given environment. The organizations can thereby formulate their strategies in a given market environment to ensure that they are able to sell their intended products to the intended target audience in a given working environment. 

The companies also track the behavior of the individuals when they are switching across the websites. The pop-up of the advertisements automatically is placed on the other websites to remind the customer that he still needs to complete the purchasing process for buying the product that he was looking out for on the e-commerce platform (Root, 2013). 

The techniques of data mining have thereby been developed to analyze the data from different perspectives. Finally, there will be review mechanisms implemented for the purpose of analyzing the data as well as ensuring that the data-sets are protected in a given challenging environment.