Monday, December 28, 2015

Entertaining, intriguing and alarming

Entertaining, intriguing and alarming. From How Your Innocent Smartphone Passes On Almost Your Entire Life to the Secret Service by Hans de Zwart.

Interesting throughout regarding just how much can be known about an individual simply through metadata.
From a social network analysis based on Ton’s e-mail traffic, it is possible for us to discern different groups to which he belongs. These clusters are formed by his three e-mail accounts. It may be the case that the groups would look a bit different if we were also to use the metadata from his phone. However, we agreed to not perform any additional investigation, such as actively attempting to discover the identity of the user of a particular number, so as to protect the privacy of those in Ton’s network.

Through his Hotmail account, Ton communicates with friends and acquaintances. Thomas, Thijs and Jaap appear to be the main contributors in a larger group of friends. Judging by their e-mail addresses, this group consists only of men. There is also a line of communication with a separate group headed by someone named ‘Bert’. The nature of this group is the only thing that was censured by Ton. He says that it is simply a personal matter.

We can make out another, smaller group of friends, namely Ton, Huru, Tvanel and Henry. We think that they are friends because they all participate in the e-mail discussion, i.e. they know each other. What’s more, a number of them also send e-mails to, Ton’s address for friends and family.

Lastly, there is also Ton’s work cluster. We see here that his primary contacts are Rejo, Hans and Tim. Tim and Janneke are the only ones who also show up in his personal e-mail correspondence. The number of e-mails sent between him and his six colleagues is strikingly large. There’s apparently a cc-ing culture at Bits of Freedom. It’s rare for Ton to e-mail just one colleague, but when that happens it’s mostly either Rejo or Tim. A lot of e-mails are sent to the group address for all employees.

Ton has relatively little contact with external parties.
No way to tell just how representative Ton might be in his usage patterns, but I suspect he is representative, if not for the whole nation, for at least a subgroup of the nation.
Friends and Acquaintances
Close Friends
Topic specific friends
Work colleagues
What's missing?
Geographical community
What might this look like if you were to examine usage patterns of a large number of people?

Does including phone data change the impression of epistemological closure? This is one week, and presumably steady state. What are the changes over a season and year?

Lots of interesting things to consider.

No comments:

Post a Comment