Find My { }: location data, personal privacy & the commons

This session is facilitated by Nasser Eledroos, Dan Calacci, Becca Ricks

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About this session

The session will be broken up into two parts: a lecture / directed discussion, and an interactive, group/individual breakout session. The talk will focus on the following questions:

  • location data: what are the companies involved? How is it collected? What does it look like?
  • privacy in location data: How unique is it? Is it still useful when we aggregate it? How dangerous is it, really?
  • What is the history of ownership models of location data? Is it different than other kinds of personal data?
  • What is the current privacy landscape for location data?
  • Are there examples of work where location data is used for a public benefit?

In the second part we’ll ask participants to explore and understand what this data looks like more in-depth. We will provide tools for users to explore and visualize the data effectively and discuss concrete harms to individuals.

Goals of this session

The goal of the session is to provide participants with a conversational overview of how personal location data from mobile devices is collected, sold, shared, and used. We’d like participants to be able to understand and communicate why location data is collected at scale and who is collecting it. Folks should be able to discuss and have a working knowledge of the work around measuring privacy of location data, and understand why location data in particular is highly unique and identifiable. We’d also like participants to have an idea as to how location data can be used to improve governance and cities, and be able to weight the relative benefits and costs of its collection. How should we move forward? We’d also like participants to come away with a visualization of their own location data if they bring it!