Data Mining for Fun and Profit

Tom Owad at has posted a detailed story on how he was able to use Amazon wishlists to profile thousands of people. By using the search function at Amazon, he accessed and downloaded over 260,000 publicly-available wishlists. He then searched the lists for "suspicious" books and authors, including Fahrenheit 451, Michael Moore, Rush Limbaugh, the Koran/Quran and, of course, Build Your Own Laser, Phaser, Ion Ray Gun and Other Working Space Age Projects.

At this point, Tom had a list of Amazon usernames and had identified any "suspicious" books and authors that appeared on each user's wishlist.

But there was still more to do. Amazon allows a user to include their city and state information on their wishlist, so Tom had the information to take it to the next level: plotting his suspects on a Google map. Data Mining for Fun and Profit | - Privacy Law and Data Protection

Linked by shanmuga Wednesday, 4th January 2006 11:24PM