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« Asserting Context: A Prerequisite for Smart, Sensemaking Systems | Main | The Christmas Day Intelligence Failure – Part I: Enterprise Amnesia vs. Enterprise Intelligence »

August 16, 2009


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Bernie Devine

Jeff, great post. I'll use some quotes in white paper if you don't mind - properly referenced of course. I just got back from an MIT hosted workshop in Korea on Next Century Cities and we had several discussions where ideas and issues on geotagged data came up. I think privacey is going to become a very significant issue in the smart city world.
On the RFID and sunglasses, I've been talking about this idea for a while as well. A friend just sent me this link to the bluetooth equivalent I'm thinking that these guys are using what si already available, if they have moderate success it might just convince the handset folks to do the RFID reader.


Jeff, the mark of a great article is that it makes you think... I might be up a few nights now thanks to you.

I like the idea of using throwaway items but you're right - who's going to inconvenience themselves. This is something i would like to do when i can afford to let people chase me for business but I ain't there yet.

Lots to think about. All the best.


This is pretty amazing and just wanted to point out that space time data is nothing new. Plastic money (cc) companies have similar set of data. We use credit cards pretty much every where we go and this data is more accurate than the space-time data. I agree that this can creata a new world of real time analytics and profitability analysis.


Its scary to think about how much information is being collected about us. The comforting thing is that the government is so screwed up that they don't know what to do with the information they have when its obviously critical to public safety ( the Christmas bomber).

The one we need to worry about is Google and other similar data gathering companies that are using the information for profit.

Scott Yaroschuk

I'm sure you've seen this but it looks like the Government is getting wise.

Jeff Jonas

Time Travel Theory

In regards to the cell providers tracking cell phones it is possible to spoof the location, I know they do this in the switch operator business, cell phone company's do like these people as they rout calls though the cheapest option and have loads of these SIM cards loaded into machines, but to stop the networks finding out which ones are in there control they use what they call “RBSH” which stands for random BS behaviour, so they make it look like the phone is living and walking around somewhere else even though its just in an office, I am sure the same thing could be replicated for increased privacy. Just my 2 cents (by the way I am from the UK so I know that this is done here not 100% sure about the USA)

David Shantz

Hey Jeff,

Personally, I strap my phone to a Jack Russell and give him a can of Red Bull before I let him loose on the neighborhood once a week, just to keep them guessing...

In terms of similar models companies that enable financial transactions are largely prohibited from reselling private information and this sort of consumer protection could be supported with contracts and privacy laws.

We could start a write-in campaign where people stipulate on the their cell-phpne contracts that personal location data will not be resold.

Its just a matter of time before someone tries this in a civil case - I suppose you would have to prove damages... David


This is fascinating and incredibly scary at the same time. This information could be used to good or bad ends depending on the user. They could be sold to the highest bidder or requisitioned by the government. It can save lives or destroy them. We need an ethical code for dealing with this stuff, I think.

Steven Vore

Stefan /Imagine that courts start accepting this data as an alibi/

There has already been one case in which the suspect used a Facebook post as an alibi, and it worked for him.

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