Stunning Example of What Cell Phone Records and Publicly Available Data Can Reveal About You

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It’s amazing to us that even with the public knowing that agencies such as the NSA are accessing cell phone records, and with cautions against using location-based services or revealing your location on Twitter, people seem to choose to ignore the cautions.

Well, perhaps this will convince you.

Even before all of this came to light, way back in 2009, a German politician named Malte Spitz, in an effort to demonsrate just how much we have given up our privacy – just how insidious it is – decided to make public six-months’ worth of his cell phone records. Of course, he had to sue his cell provider, Deutsche Telekom, first to get those records.

Then he made it available to the online version of Die Zeit, the German newspaper.

And guess what they did with it?

We’ll let them tell you.

Said Die Zeit, “We combined this geolocation data with information relating to his life as a politician, such as Twitter feeds, blog entries and websites, all of which is all freely available on the internet.”

Then they took all of this data, and created an animation – really an animated visualization – of where Spitz went, and what he was doing, every day of that six months!

It’s really quite mind-boggling.

A day in the life of Malte Spitz

Now, you may be thinking “Well, I’m not a politician.” But what you should really be thinking about is “How much personal data do I really share on social media?”

You can see the entire Malte Spitz visualization animation here.

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