Every Step You Take, They’ll Be Tracking You

Malte Spitz, a mem­ber of the Green Par­ty in Ger­many, sued Deutsche Telekom and forced the com­pa­ny to hand over six months of record­ed cell phone data. The results were fair­ly eye open­ing.

Dur­ing a five month peri­od, DT tracked Spitz’s loca­tion and phone usage 35,000 times. If that sounds like a lot, you’re right. And it looks even worse when you visu­al­ize the data. Zeit Online took this geolo­ca­tion data and com­bined it with pub­licly-avail­able infor­ma­tion relat­ing to Spitz’s polit­i­cal life (e.g., his Twit­ter feeds and blog entries) and pro­duced a screen­cast that doc­u­ments two days in the life of the Green Par­ty politi­cian. The YouTube video above traces his steps. But the visu­als on the Zeit site let you track Spitz’s move­ments around Ger­many with fin­er pre­ci­sion. The moral of the sto­ry: Every step you take, your tel­co is like­ly track­ing you, whether you give con­sent or not. The New York Times has more on the sto­ry

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.