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…

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

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Markus (profile) says:

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.

drkkgt (profile) says:

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.)

Markus Hopkins (profile) says:

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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