The German newspaper Die Zeit and the EFF recently wrote about the German politician Malte Spitz from the Greens who procured and then published all the data that a local telco had been collecting on him by default over months.
Apart from being a little scary privacy wise I thought this was just plain cool data and perfect to do a little data visualisation in Tableau with. Check out the below screen shot of the dashboard or play with the interactive Tableau public workbook on Malte Spitz’s call habits yourself.
Granted, this looks like a massive violation of privacy but let’s take a breath and think for a second before we jump to conclusions. It wasn’t the telco who maliciously released the data but the politician who requested and then published it on a newspaper so I fail to see the threat to be honest.
Of course companies are collecting data on our product usage and if you look at the data for a second from a telco’s point of view and assume it’s not just one person’s data, then it becomes clear that the data contains quite a lot of information that could be used to either improve service quality in certain geographic regions or offer extended support hours for some services for example.
On the other hand, there are companies that are just collecting data for the sake of collecting data without a clear plan of how they’re going to use it to improve their products and services – in my eyes that’s the true issue here and much more of a problem than the collection of potentially sensible data in general.