Thoughts on Toch et al

This article gave me a much-needed injection of nuance into my views on privacy data. I found the concept of high and low entropy locations quite interesting, and how levels of comfort were correlated to these notions. By allowing the participants how to control their privacy settings based on time and location was quite very exciting. There is a narrative of location-tracking devices and apps imposing an authoritarian top-down imposition of privacy guidelines which is quite worrisome, so it comes at a pleasant surprise to see privacy guidelines being manipulated by the user rather than the creator. This potentially has a ‘win-win’ effect of reaping the benefits of location-tracking while phasing out moments in which one feels uncomfortable.
In a vacuum I like this quite a bit, but it sounds that this kind of narrative could potentially normalize the idea of location-based sharing. That is the direction in which we’re heading as each generation becomes more comfortable with this potential lack of anonymity. Additionally, by reaping in statistical data for different areas, we would be able to seemingly create models that determine which areas have high and low entropy. Wouldn’t we risk falling to certain biases based on the participants themselves? The positionality of those collecting the data must be considered, and even then, it would be impossible to account for everyone’s preference on a statistical basis. Statistical tools are generalizing by nature, so is it safe or ethical to infer too much data on what the data that it produces?
On a more positive note, I find the concept of low and high entropy in the context of location-sharing a potentially interesting tool of analyzing space. While in some space people would want to share their location publicly versus private spaces. What urban implications may this have? Could make for an interesting study.

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