In the essay “Mining Student Data Could Save Lives” by Michael Morris, Morris argues that data mining on college campuses is essential for student safety. The essay begins by explaining how data mining can be useful in our daily lives. Amazon.com, for instance, collects data in order to best predict products that we would likely purchase. Credit card companies track our location and spending habits to prevent credit card theft. Similar to the examples, colleges automatically have access to our online records through the email accounts and free internet they provide us. However, these colleges were unable to use these records to enforce disciplinary actions because of Ferpa (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Acts), which prevents schools from releasing students’ educational records without the students consent.
Considering the possible positive effects, I believe that data mining is extremely practical. Today, nearly everyone uses the internet. Due to this fact, many crimes can easily be predicted through the perpetrator’s search history. As Morris mentioned, it would not be difficult to imagine that people who wrote about their teachers negatively online, researched their faculty members lives extensively, and then purchased an assault rifle had the potential to become a murderer. Through data mining, you can easily perceive events that were previously difficult to predict. Ignoring the online information automatically collected, instead of using it for the greater good, could potentially be considered wasteful.