SXSW Interactive 2013

I Know Where You're Going: Location as Biometric

Last year privacy advocate Malte Spitz sued his cell provider to get the location data generated by his phone. This data allowed him (and his provider) to track everywhere he went during a six-month period—during that time Deutsche Telekom recorded and saved his location coordinates over 35,000 times.
This session will discuss location data as the ultimate biometric identifier. The tracking devices we carry around in our pockets (our smart phones) send out location data every time they search for a signal. Law enforcement routinely requests this data - sending out over 1.3 million demands to providers last year. This data can not only reveal where we go and what we do in our lives—it can also define and identify us.

Jennifer Lynch, a privacy attorney at EFF, and Jeff Jonas, an IBM Fellow and Chief Scientist, will talk about the legal and technical aspects of location information as biometric, what this means for privacy and civil liberties, and what you can do about it.

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  1. What are biometrics and how can location information be a biometric?
  2. How is location information generated and collected?
  3. Who has access to this data?
  4. Are there any legal protections to prevent law enforcement from collecting location data?
  5. What can I do about it (from a legal and technical perspective)?



Jennifer Lynch, Attorney, Electronic Frontier Foundation

Meta Information:

  • Event: Interactive
  • Format: Dual
  • Track: WTF and Beyond
  • Track 2
  • Level: Advanced
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