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In:Confidence 2019 - Demonstrating Re-identification of Location Data

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Charlie Cabot, Research Lead, Privitar, re-identifies a location trace live on the In:Confidence 2019 main stage (April 4th at Printworks, London).

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In:Confidence 2019 - Demonstrating Re-identification of Location Data

  1. 1. Privitar.com Let’s re-identify a location trace
  2. 2. Cell towers The British Library Green Park South Bank Sir John Soane’s Museum Printworks 1/1/19 10:35am 1/1/19 10:07am 1/1/19 11:12am 1/1/19 10:44am 1/1/19 2:01pm St. Paul’s Cathedral 1/1/19 12:01pm What is a location trace?
  3. 3. Source: mastdata.com • In the Canada Water area, where we are now, there is a ‘tower’ every few blocks • In urban areas ‘towers’ are often small structures on top of buildings, not tall freestanding towers Every few blocks • Towers are pinged when you move to a new cell, send or receive a call/text, or start a data session Every few minutes How detailed are location traces?
  4. 4. Background information about location traces is available online Instagram Facebook Twitter LinkedIn
  5. 5. We have some background information about someone in the audience Is it enough to identify them? PLEASE STAND UP
  6. 6. They were in Southwark at 11pm on Wednesday If you were in the borough of Southwark at 11pm Wednesday, stay standing! Otherwise, or if you’re not sure, sit down!
  7. 7. They were in Westminster at 9am on Monday If you were in the city of Westminster at 9am Monday, stay standing! Otherwise, or if you’re not sure, sit down!
  8. 8. They were in Greenwich at 9pm on Saturday If you were in the borough of Greenwich at 9pm Saturday, stay standing! Otherwise, or if you’re not sure, sit down!
  9. 9. They were in Newham at 7pm on Saturday If you were in the borough of Newham at 7pm Saturday, stay standing! Otherwise, or if you’re not sure, sit down!
  10. 10. They were in Hackney at 2pm last Thursday If you were in the borough of Hackney at 2pm last Thursday, stay standing! Otherwise, or if you’re not sure, sit down!
  11. 11. They were in Newport at noon on Monday If you were in the Newport, Wales at noon on Monday, stay standing! Otherwise, or if you’re not sure, sit down!
  12. 12. Re-identified!
  13. 13. Takeaways 1. It only takes a few data points to single out an individual 2. Re-identification leads to privacy harm • Stalking • Disclosure of hospital visits • Disclosure of who you’re meeting up with 3. Generalising locations to borough level didn’t work 4. For more, see papers on unicity by Yves-Alexandre de Montjoye Thank you for participating! Source: De Montjoye, Yves-Alexandre, et al. "Unique in the crowd: The privacy bounds of human mobility." Scientific reports 3 (2013): 1376.

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