Location data points can identify individuals

We are looking forward embarking on the second year of our project in the fall! During Year Two, we’ll focus on a second set of themes. One of the areas is personal data management. Here’s a sneak peek of what that theme will cover.

Our actions, from using a cell phone to paying with credit cards, generate data. That data goes into the hands of companies and organizations. Often, we don’t know or have control of what they do with it. Use of this data can cause privacy issues. One common example is the Netflix contest for improving its movie recommendations, which went awry when researchers could re-identify Netflix customers despite the anonymization of the released data.  

A recent study from the Columbia University Data Science Institute and Google revealed that individuals can be re-identified with location data from two accounts. As a preview to the issues we will start exploring this fall, check out that study.

Image: “Compass Navigation Map Direction Journey Travel,” by PDPics, on Pixabay. CC0 Public Domain.