Information Stored About You – Malte Spitz

Flow of Information

A characteristic of modern society is the flow of information – information is the lifeblood of modern civilization. The creation, distribution, and manipulation of data are vital activities – we rely on data to draw conclusion and make decisions. The capacity to store information has dramatically increased the last decades and new ways of using data has developed. Some of these may surprise you.

Most of us use our mobile phones without reflecting on the kind of data that can be collected when you make a phone call. Mobile phones can be used as a surveillance tool to track your calls and your friends’ calls. How many times did you phone your best friend when you were travelling to work?

A problem is often that we can find more information than we need when we start searching. Prioritising is a part of the process but in an information society; information technology is used to gain advantage by using data in creative new ways. Finding new creative ways to display information to make it easier to understand  is vital. Yet the explosion of information must be properly dealt with – some of the issues are of a moral character.

Mapping Your Life

In 2006, the EU issued the Data Retention Directive, which allows phone companies to store user data for six months to two years. This legislation has been rejected or declared as unconstitutional by several countries.Malte Spitz, a German politician raises the issue of our right to self-determination in the digital age. What information does a phone company collect and retain and how this information can be used. Mapping information is a way to explore data in new ways. Spitz mapped his activity across an interactive timeline and combined it with data from Twitter feeds, blog entries, and websites. A picture of his life emerges over the course of a six months period when he asked the telephone company to release the data they had collected.

Photo: “Cloud Computing And Information” by Victor Habbick

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