I’m thinking about the intersection of privacy and location data a lot lately and I believe that there is a massive opportunity there for the product or service.
This piece by the NYT from Dec 2019 One Nation, Tracked: An Investigation into The Smartphone Tracking Industry From Times Opinion does an excellent job of laying out the issue with location-based tracking and the widespread availability and accessibility of cell phone based location data. There is exactly one person that travels from my home to my office each day, and removing an individual identifier from that data doesn’t make it anonymous.
Spatial context provides all of the clues required to effectively re-identify location data streams back to the creator.
The central question is, how do you effectively anonymize data when the most valuable part of that data could be destroyed in the process?
One method is to ensure that any analysis of individually created location data takes into account a large spatio-temporal region, thereby driving analysis on a community or population level. This averaged data will work for many use cases, but the nuance of human movement and activity is lost rendering it useless for other cases.
I think that there is a large opportunity for a product or service that can effectively anonymize an individual’s location data without destroying the details.