It turns out that social media is not only for curating our seemingly perfectly lives. Speaking to CNBC Africa, Patrick Bracher, Director at Norton Rose Fulbright, said insurers could be following your posts to determine your premiums.
How is this possible? Brasher says Big Data makes it possible for companies to mine information. “With a decent algorithm, you can mine Big Data and social media and you can find out everything about me,” he said. He also explained that Big Data makes it possible for someone to know where you live, where you buy groceries and and even how much you exercise.
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With a little bit of tech know-how, companies can find out how well you drive and even if you are using your phone while you re driving, Brasher says.
Insurance companies are under pressure and therefore have to try to find safer options, he explains.
“If you know everything about somebody, you know how much exercise they get and whether they breathe heavily after a workout – you can find out all this from Big Data,” he says.
Big Data has been credited for the shock election of US President Donald Trump and Britain’s exit from the EU. According to Motherboard, a Big Data company called Cambridge Analytica played significant a part in both events.
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In 2012, Michal Kosinski, a PhD candidate at Cambridge University’s Psychometrics Centre, “proved that on the basis of an average of 68 Facebook “likes” by a user, it was possible to predict their skin colour (with 95 per cent accuracy), their sexual orientation (88 per cent accuracy) and their affiliation to the Democratic or Republican party (85 per cent),” reported Motherboard.
It was also possible to predict religious beliefs, intelligence and lifestyle habits.
Bracher says the use of Big Data to determine risk profiles goes beyond social media.”All of our lives are out there,” he says. Looking up information on search engines like Google can also be used to capture information about you.”
Additional reporting: CNBCAfrica, Motherboard