Nick Bowden, Replica’s CEO and co-founder, tried to deal with privateness fears in a weblog put up saying the spinout. He careworn that no single person’s location data could be identifiable underneath Replica. “Replica is not interested in the movement of individuals; we are interested in the collective movement of a particular place. For this reason, we only start with data that has been de-identified. This data is then used to train a travel behavior model — basically, a set of rules to represent the movement in a particular place,” he wrote.
But others argue that the sensitivity of cell phone location data, when held in opposition to Big Tech’s poor monitor file in safeguarding person privateness, is not precisely an encouraging mixture. Critics keep that location data is simple to re-identify, even when it has already been de-identified. “We see a lot of companies erring on the side of collecting it and doing coarse de-identifications, even though, more than any other type of data, location data has been shown to be highly re-identifiable,” mentioned Canadian Internet Policy & Public Interest Clinic’s Tamir Israel to The Intercept. “It’s obvious what home people leave and return to every night and what office they stop at every day from 9 to 5 p.m.”
So far, Replica has labored with Kansas City, Chicago, Sacramento and Portland. Bowden mentioned that it will likely be launching full-scale operations in these cities over the following few months. Meanwhile, Sidewalk Labs is engaged on a proposal for a good metropolis improvement in Toronto that has drawn criticism from metropolis legislators for its obscure wording, together with its plans round mass data collection. As Google’s work with city planners expands, it is going to very possible must reply lingering questions about the kind of data it is amassing from a metropolis’s residents and what precisely it plans to do with it.