How Public is Your Privacy?

Malte Spitz

Image via Wikipedia

Under German law, any person can request all the data which a company has stored about him- or herself. Politician Malte Spitz of the Alliance ’90/The Greens Party did this with his mobile provider. The Vorratsdatenspeicherung is a German law which requires telecommunication providers to save all traffic data for 6 months. This way, he got a whole profile about himself. ZEIT ONLINE used this data along with other public information like Twitter and Blogs to create an impressive view on Spitz’s life during those six month.

If you want to see for yourself how it feels to watch and be watched, visit this interactive website that allows you to browse his life: Mobile Traitor.

The text on the page reads:

Politician Malte Spitz of the Green Party sued the German Telekom for six months of his data retention and handed it over to ZEIT ONLINE. On the basis of this data, you can watch all his movements during this time. We matched the geodata with freely accessible information from the Internet about the delegate (Twitter, Blog posts and web sites).

The Play button starts the journey through Malte Spitz’s life. The speed control [“Geschwindigkeit”] allows to adjust the pace or stop anytime with the Pause button. The calendar below also shows when he was visiting the same place again – and you can use it to move to any point in time manually. Each vertical bar represents one day.

To the right of the map is an explanation what he did, the number of incoming and outgoing calls, how many SMS he received and sent and how much time he spent online.

All the data is available as a Google Docs table, too (“Download Datensatz“).

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