Thoughts on Geosurveillance

This article about privacy issues in geospatial data gives me a broader idea of the surveillance issue in GIScience. Looking back at my past researches and projects, I have used a lot of data that have location information in it. Some of the information in the dataset are very well protected. As the literature have mentioned, people can protect some of the information by perturbation, aggregation, considering the level of privacy defined by user preferences, shortening the time collection period, and removing sensitive areas. However, not all data are processed by these steps. In one project, I have used some of the twitter data directly download from twitter. Those data reveals tweets with accurate coordinates together with time, username, and contents. So, each line of data has very detailed information in it, and it could be used for anything. So this makes me thing that do people still have privacy where big data are very prevalent recently.

The author also argues that this has a lot to do with users’ awareness of data privacy. I agree that most people will just skip reading privacy policy when they trying to register for websites or apps. Do this necessarily mean if we have more awareness towards data privacy, then we can gain more privacy?

I think in some cases, people do not have a choice to decide whether they want to share this kind if information. And, yes, I think as a researcher we should definitely consider privacy issue when we are dealing with sensitive data and follow the privacy checklists that the author provides.

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