Dean has written recently about confusion surrounding the term "data mining" (see his Jan-11-2007 posting, Will the term "Data Mining" survive?). Clearly, this has muddled much of the debate surrounding things like the privacy and security implications of data mining by government.
Setting other definitions aside, though, there remain issues of data mining acceptance in the world of business. A short, interesting item on this subject is Sam Batterman's's Jan-19-2007 posting, Interesting Thread on Why Data Mining (DM) is not used more in business. My response, which is in the Comments section there, is:
"While it is frequently lamented that technology advances much more quickly than government, especially law enforcement and the judiciary, it is clearly the case that businesses are only better by comparison. Even in industries with a long-established and accepted need for sophisticated statistical anlysis, managers display a shocking lack of understanding of what is possible with newer tools from fields like data mining. Further, this ignorance is not the exclusive domain of executive or senior management, who are somewhat removed from the people and systems which perform data mining. Managers whose immediate subordinates do the actual data mining frequently require education, as any statistical knowledge they possess seems typically stuck in the late 1970s. In my experience, upward lobbying efforts on the part of the data miner are only sometimes effective. The argument to recalcitrant management which I have found most effective is "If we only do what you did at your last company, and what everyone else in the industry is doing, where will our competitive advantage come from?" Sadly, it is my expectation that data mining will only catch on in individual industries after some intrepid manager demonstrates conclusively the money that data mining can return, and the others follow like sheep."
I'd be curious to learn what readers' thoughts on this are.