Replay Six Months Of A German Politician's Life Thanks To His Mobile Phone Data

from the press-play dept

Various governments have tried to claim that it's no big deal to get your location data from mobile phone providers -- with US law enforcement suggesting such information shouldn't even require a warrant at times. But it's interesting to see just how much that kind of data can reveal about someone. Shane Richmond points us to an absolutely fascinating visualization put together by the German newspaper Die Zeit. Apparently German politician Malte Spitz sued Deutsche Telekom to get access to his own location and phone data (the kind of thing that governments request all the time) and then handed it over to Zeit, who put together a stunning visualization of six months of Spitz's life. You can see where he is at all times, and Zeit cross referenced the information with other public information, including Twitter feeds, blog entries and other websites, to provide context and details as to Spitz's life. Somewhat eye-opening in how much information can be put together concerning your life with access to such phone data...


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Markus (profile), Mar 29th, 2011 @ 12:43pm

    But what about the Public Public?

    I see how this relates to the concern of what data the government has access to without our permission, but I'm much more interested in what society looks like when we can all do this to each other? So many people participate in geo location services, and more and more of them are turning on automatic check ins. Does the government's intrusion into records like this have much meaning when people are completely exposing themselves? I'm honestly asking that question, not trying to argue the answer is no.

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 29th, 2011 @ 12:52pm

    Big Brother is alive and International.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
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    Cipher-0, Mar 29th, 2011 @ 12:57pm

    And friends wonder why I use a burn-phone without internet access and barely able to get SMS.

     

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  4.  
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    blah, Mar 29th, 2011 @ 1:10pm

    Re:

    Funny - my friends wonder why i don't even have a phone.

    My wife has two pay-as-you-go phones that don't require any personally identifying information to purchase and re-load (you can buy cards with pre-paid minutes on them from the store with cash).

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 29th, 2011 @ 1:13pm

    Well what you people expected from a former employee from the industry that is full of crooks and real criminals?

    What is shocking is that she actually got a job as a judge.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 29th, 2011 @ 1:14pm

    The bar to be a judge these days must be very, very low to allow people from a notorious crooked industry to become one.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 29th, 2011 @ 1:28pm

    Re:

    lol, your in the wrong story

     

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  8.  
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    Gwiz (profile), Mar 29th, 2011 @ 1:33pm

    Re: Re:

    The curse of the browser tab feature strikes again.

     

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  9.  
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    drkkgt (profile), Mar 29th, 2011 @ 1:45pm

    Re: But what about the Public Public?

    It does because of the choice of people.
    If I choose to make this information publicly available then the government has free access to it no warrant involved.
    If I choose NOT to post these types of things, then the government doesn't get free reign to it without a proper warrant.
    If I choose to share this information say on Facebook but lock it ONLY to friends then the government should not be allowed to snoop my facebook account without a warrant. Granted, if my friends share the info with them, then I will have a few less friends but no beef with the government (which is funny because the government also thinks that this is completely fair EXCEPT when wikileaks does it of course.)

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 29th, 2011 @ 2:06pm

    Re: Re:

    Damn tabs I lost track of them LoL

    Sorry.

     

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  11.  
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    Jan, Mar 29th, 2011 @ 2:14pm

    Broken website?

    Is it just me or is that website broken? It seems to me that the left side of the web - the one with the play button - is hidden. I tried Firefox 4 and Opera with no luck:-(

     

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  12.  
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    Markus Hopkins (profile), Mar 29th, 2011 @ 2:15pm

    Re: Re: But what about the Public Public?

    Oh, I certainly agree that a privacy concern exists. My question is more about what happens to this concern when/if almost everyone is posting this information all of the time. Does every expectation of privacy evaporate? And more than this, do we end up with an environment where we expect law enforcement to be actively monitoring this information? For example, what if I have a restraining order against you, and you violate that order. Should the police just know? That's only one relevant scenario in which this type of information being freely available is relevant, and I ask about this stuff only because it looks like this is the direction in which our society could potentially head. More and more people seem to be completely unconcerned with their privacy, and there is a cultural incentive to share more and more information about ourselves. Does a concern like the one this exposes have relevance for those people (and not just the "curmudgeons" that keep themselves off the social "grid," as it were)?

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 29th, 2011 @ 3:59pm

    Re: Broken website?

    It's fine in Chrome.

     

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  14.  
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    Patrick, Mar 29th, 2011 @ 5:09pm

    Re: Re:

    That's very interesting.

    In Australia you cannot buy a phone (pre-paid or otherwise) without showing ID.

    Even if you bring a phone and want to get a SIM for it, you have to show ID to buy a SIM.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 29th, 2011 @ 9:49pm

    Re: Re:

    Do you pay someone else to go buy the prepaid cards for you? You likely get caught on video buying the cards, including your car in the parking lot. Don't know about you but I made my tinfoil hat from a double layer of the extra thick foil.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 29th, 2011 @ 11:14pm

    Re: But what about the Public Public?

    There is a clear distinction between what information you choose to convey to others and that which you are forced to by the government.

    To put it bluntly: There is a difference between sex and rape.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
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    Danny (profile), Mar 30th, 2011 @ 10:11am

    Gander

    So does this mean we can use FOIA to get our hands on the Wisc Governor's phone records?

     

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  18.  
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    Danny (profile), Mar 30th, 2011 @ 10:11am

    Gander

    So does this mean we can use FOIA to get our hands on the Wisc Governor's phone records?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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