“In 2010 and 2011, N.S.A. received samples in order to test the ability of its systems to handle the data format, but that data was not used for any other purpose and was never available for intelligence analysis purposes,” Mr. Clapper said. He added that the N.S.A. had promised to notify Congress and seek the approval of a secret surveillance court in the future before any locational data was collected using Section 215. An official familiar with the test project said its purpose was to see how the locational data would flow into the N.S.A.’s systems. While real data was used, it was never drawn upon in any investigation, the official said. It was unclear how many Americans’ locational data was collected as part of the project, whether the agency has held on to that information or why the program did not go forward.

In Test Project, N.S.A. Tracked Cellphone Locations - NYTimes.com

Study warns on mobile location data privacy

Individuals can be uniquely identified with just four points of location data, a study of mobile phone records shows.

Countless mobile applications make use of location data, and such information is increasingly used to tailor both services for users and advertisements.

But a study in Scientific Reports warns that human mobility patterns are unique identifiers, even when data are scarce.

It presents a formula to describe the trade-off between genuine anonymity and the “resolution” of location data.

» via BBC

It is no longer valid to assume that the cell sector recorded by the network will give only an approximate indication of a user’s location,” Blaze writes in his testimony. “The gap between the locational precision in today’s cellular call detail records and that of a GPS tracker is closing, especially as carriers incorporate the latest technologies into their networks. As the precision provided by cellular network-based location techniques approaches that of GPS-based tracking technology, cellular location tracking can have significant advantages for law enforcement surveillance operations over traditional GPS trackers.

Reminder To Congress: Cops’ Cellphone Tracking Can Be Even More Precise Than GPS - Forbes
iPavement Puts a World of Knowledge Beneath Your Feet

Constructed of a calcium carbonate stone, iPavement looks like your average piece of square tile. But one should never judge a tile by its cover. At iPavement’s core is a 5GB microprocessor that can support both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Each tile will also come with its own suite of apps, offering users features like coupons to local businesses and maps to nearby places of interest. Via Inteligente’s ultimate goal is to make cities more accessible and interesting by linking iPavement squares to people’s increasing number of handheld devices.

» via GOOD

iPavement Puts a World of Knowledge Beneath Your Feet

Constructed of a calcium carbonate stone, iPavement looks like your average piece of square tile. But one should never judge a tile by its cover. At iPavement’s core is a 5GB microprocessor that can support both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Each tile will also come with its own suite of apps, offering users features like coupons to local businesses and maps to nearby places of interest. Via Inteligente’s ultimate goal is to make cities more accessible and interesting by linking iPavement squares to people’s increasing number of handheld devices.

» via GOOD

On Facebook, Recalling Neighborhoods as They Once Were

New York City neighborhoods have always been in nonstop flux, but many are now being frozen in time on Facebook, where current and former residents have banded together to post photographs, documents and other memorabilia of their neighborhoods as they used to be. These virtual sections of the city have drawn thousands of contributors, particularly in parts of Brooklyn like Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Flatbush and Carroll Gardens, where zoning laws, gentrification and shifting demographics have rapidly transformed the streets.

Facebook, of course, is already famous for bringing together former classmates and friends. These pages, however, are being used not only to share memories, but also to vent about change. “The point about the old New York City neighborhoods is that they provided real social cohesion,” said Mitchell Moss, a professor of urban policy and planning at New York University. “People shared responsibilities for watching each others’ children, or for keeping an eye on the property. And though new trends in urbanism try to recapture those old communal feelings, you can never recreate what emerged organically.”

» via The New York Times (Subscription may be required for some content)

It is by now an old idea in futurology, originating with Alvin Toffler, that modern man exists in a state of constant shock at the changing landscape of the technological world — akin to “culture shock,” but as ceaseless as the progress of technology. But we quickly become accustomed to, and adjust ourselves to, the technologies that increasingly form the fabric of our interaction with the world — and so their novelty rapidly fades. And then we find our experience of moving through the world is not one of perpetual awe and wonderment, but of boredom and restlessness.

GPS and the End of the Road, fantastic long read from The New Atlantis (via curiositycounts)

(via curiositycounts)

A new GPS-like system can track your location to within inches

Locata’s technique is based on adding ground-based “LocataLites”—about the size of hardback books—across a given area. Each device contains a clock and communicates with other nearby LocataLites to ensure that its time is in perfect sync with the others. When a handheld device within the coverage area wants to determine its location, it polls all the nearby LocataLites for its time-based signal. The handheld determines how far away it is from each LocataLite by determining the time differences—mere nanoseconds—of each signal it receives. Using such time differences, the handheld can triangulate its position within the grid of LocataLites.

» via Consumer Reports

62% of Information Workers Already Work Remotely

According to a new report from Forrester, 62% of information workers in North America and Europe work remotely. The report says that many clients are approaching the firm for insight on creating best practices for remote, mobile workplaces assuming these changes are part of the remote future when in reality the change is already well underway.

» via ReadWriteWeb High-res

62% of Information Workers Already Work Remotely

According to a new report from Forrester, 62% of information workers in North America and Europe work remotely. The report says that many clients are approaching the firm for insight on creating best practices for remote, mobile workplaces assuming these changes are part of the remote future when in reality the change is already well underway.

» via ReadWriteWeb

E.U. Panel to Propose Tighter Data Protection

The European Commission’s advisory panel on data protection plans this week to urge governments in the European Union to treat the geographic location of cellphone users as personal data, deserving of the highest level of privacy protection.

» via The New York Times (Subscription may be required for some content)

Technology Aside, Most People Still Decline to Be Located

But for all the attention and money these apps and Web sites are getting, adoption has so far been largely confined to pockets of young, technically adept urbanites. Just 4 percent of Americans have tried location-based services, and 1 percent use them weekly, according to Forrester Research. Eighty percent of those who have tried them are men, and 70 percent are between 19 and 35.

» via The New York Times