It turned out that an experiment `` monitoring the location information of almost all national mobile phones over 8 days and collecting data '' will be carried out



The location information of the mobile phone is useful when using the map app or searching for nearby stores, but it is difficult to handle it in terms of privacy, such as it turns out that the mobile carrier sells customer location information There are cases that are seen. It turned out that the Spanish National Statistical Office is going to conduct an experiment in cooperation with a major mobile carrier to 'track the location information of a national mobile phone for 8 days and use it for infrastructure development'.

El INE seguirá la pista de los móviles de toda España durante ocho días | Economía | EL PAÍS

Mass cellphone surveillance experiment in Spain

It is widely known that mobile carriers track user terminal location information using triangulation using base stations. This data may be anonymized and sold to third parties, and sometimes it may be obtained by law enforcement agencies such as the police, or by bounty hunters (winners) that capture suspects who escaped.

The location information collection by this mobile carrier cannot be disabled at the software level, and even if it is a dumb phone that cannot connect to the Internet, the carrier can track the location information. It seems that you need to remove the SIM card and battery from your phone to completely disable tracking.

The Spanish National Bureau of Statistics has collaborated with mobile carriers to provide a total of 8 days on 4th weekday in November 2019 and 4th day holiday from November 2019 to August 2020. It became clear that 'experiment to track information' was carried out. Engineer Carlos Fenollosa said the fact that the government collects location information on a large scale, although the fact that the carrier is collecting location information is not new, It points out that it is news.



The three major mobile carriers, Movistar , Vodafone, and Orange , cooperate with the Spanish National Statistical Office. In this experiment, the Spanish National Statistical Office plans to investigate the flow of people by dividing the land into 3500 blocks according to the population, and collects location information in an anonymized state where individuals can not be identified. The

In the experiment, the `` residence '' is determined based on the location information from 0 o'clock to 6 o'clock on the implementation day, and it is investigated from which block to which block people moved from 9 o'clock to 18 o'clock That. In addition, in order to take into account those who work at night, it seems to make corrections according to the time of travel. In addition to regular weekdays, it seems to investigate more detailed fluctuations in population movement by conducting surveys on holidays at various times, such as Christmas and summer vacations.

This experiment provides information on how the population in a particular region changes, where many people travel from where to commute, and where people in the city go on vacation. The collected information will be useful for infrastructure and transportation network development and other additional funding.



Mr. Fenollosa said that this experiment was 'a very interesting experiment for the scientist who thinks on paper', but he pointed out that there are some concerns. First, `` Spain is a country that passed a bill to create a political profile of the people from information such as social media in parliament, '' Mr. Fenollosa pointed out, and in Spain, the public is increasingly monitored I am worried about. The bill was blocked by the court and no personal political profile was actually used.

According to Fenollosa, “It is very reasonable for a state agency to have a bit of suspicion about using our data. In order to improve accuracy, personally identifiable data may be collected '.

As a second concern, Mr. Fenollosa points out that “the public has not given consent”. Although scientists' research obtains the subject's consent to collect even anonymous data, in this experiment, each citizen does not have the option to refuse tracking. “Of course this violates the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) , but no one cares,” says Fenollosa.

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