Operators complained of swindling money out of customers supported by big data

Many operators are falling under blame for incidents in which money has been swindled out of their regular customers when big data collected from users’ daily life was utilized against them, Science and Technology Daily reported.

A customer recently shared his experience online that he used to book hotel on a travel website for the price of 380 yuan (about $60) per room. However, he inadvertently discovered that the marked price for such a room was only 300 yuan when he registered using his friend’s account.

Later, many Internet users shared their experiences online, complaining that operators were often adopting price discrimination over their users, offering the same product or service at different prices.

“Big data may have been utilized to confirm your living and usage habits even if you haven’t not been using data mining technologies directly,” said Yang Yixian, professor at School of Cyberspace Security, Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications.

Yang added that the data can be used by operators to discover potential users and associations between certain things.

Legal professionals noted that it is unreasonable for operators to set different prices for difference consumers.

Yang also suggested that relevant departments should adopt measures and strengthen supervision on malicious data mining acts, and consumers also have the right to request removal of information fragmentations directly relevant to them.

Price discrimination was also found to happen on Amazon in 2000, when one of its user noticed that the price for a DVD he bought from the platform dropped to $22.74 from $26.24 after he deleted the cookies. The platform later made apologies for this.