I’m in Sydney this week for ISEA, first time for both. My paper:
OpenPaths: a new approach to aggregating personal geographic data
The collection of personal geographic data from mobile devices is a ubiquitous practice of service providers and application developers. These data are being stored, analyzed, and monetized primarily by corporate interests; there is limited agency for individuals over their own data. Awareness among the public regarding the value of their personal data is nascent. OpenPaths, created by the Research and Development Lab at the New York Times Company, is a platform and a model and a platform that demonstrates the collective value of personal data sovereignty. It was developed in response to widespread media coverage of the obfuscated but accessible location record generated by all Apple iOS devices. OpenPaths participants store their encrypted geographic data in a cloud infrastructure while maintaining ownership and programatic control. Projects of many kinds, from mobility research to expressive artwork, petition individuals for access to their data in exchange for a stake in the outcome of the project. Ultimately, we would like to activate the practice of “participatory sensing” on a large scale in a way that self-regulates the creation of ad-hoc geographic datasets. Furthermore, within a theoretical context, OpenPaths moves beyond locative media’s primary concerns with connectivity, the coupling of data to place, and spatial representation to address the components of an ethical implementation of crowd-sourced geographic systems in the age of “big data”. How can we seat the individual in a mode of control over personal geographic narratives in a society in which locative media has become banal?