Data and its Dissidents


Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about data.

My project for the National-Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship involves collecting a group of Londoners’ geolocation and browser data, representing that data in interesting ways, and drawing conclusions from the representations. (The images in this post show a sample of my own personal location data and a resulting map, as an example of this process on a very small scale.)

This project is officially underway. On November 1st, a group of ten people agreed to share a month’s worth of their personal geolocation and browser data with me. In other words, they agreed to give me nearly unlimited access to revealing information about all of the online and offline sites that they will visit.

Does this sound crazy? If you think so, you’re not alone. When I tell people about my project, 90% of them ask something along the lines of, “How are you recruiting participants?” which is the polite version of, Why on earth would anyone agree to participate in a project where they’re giving away their personal data?

I’m not surprised by that question, and you probably aren’t either. In some ways, it feels as though a battle is currently being waged around data collection, —> Read More Here


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