12.4.2: Non-Obvious Relationship
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Non-Obvious Relationship Awareness
Digital technologies have given us many new capabilities that simplify and expedite the collection of personal information. Every time we come into contact with digital technologies, information about us is being made available. From our location to our web-surfing habits, our criminal record to our credit report, we are constantly being monitored. This information can then be aggregated to create profiles of each and every one of us. While much of the information collected was available in the past, collecting it and combining it took time and effort. Today, detailed information about us is available for purchase from different companies. Even information not categorized as PII can be aggregated in such a way that an individual can be identified.
This process of collecting large quantities of a variety of information and then combining it to create profiles of individuals is known as non-obvious relationship awareness, or NORA. First commercialized by big casinos looking to find cheaters, NORA is used by both government agencies and private organizations, and it is big business.
In some settings, NORA can bring many benefits, such as in law enforcement. By being able to identify potential criminals more quickly, crimes can be solved more quickly or even prevented before they happen. But these advantages come at a price: our privacy.