The New York Times recently announced to their stockholders that they are going to be revolutionary by mining their own data. As quoted from the village voice,
Data mining, [The company CEO Janet Robinson] told the crowd, would be used "to determine hidden patterns of uses to our website." This was just one of the many futuristic projects in the works by the newspapers company's research and development program
The article focuses on the alarm that this causes in terms of "what happens when the government comes in and subpoenas it?"
My question is, since every company and organization is mining (or potentially can mine) their own data anyway, what is the purpose of announcing it publicly? Clearly data mining is not such a "futuristic" act. What kind of "hidden patterns" are they looking for? the paths that readers take when they move between articles? what precedes their clicking an ad? Or maybe there is a futuristic goal?