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Cellphone Tracking Can Track Your Habits

A cellphone tracking study study based on data from 100,000 cellphones in Europe show just how predictable are our movements.

The cellphone users were selected at random; each revealed his or her location whenever a call or text message was made or received. Their location was recorded and timed.

Albert-László Barabási, an author of the project and the director of the Center for Complex Network Research at Northeastern University in Boston, notes that "slices of our behavior are preserved in these electronic data sets."

The researchers said they used the potentially controversial data only after any information that could identify individuals had been scrambled. Even so, they wrote, people’s wanderings are so subject to routine that by using the patterns of movement that emerged from the research, “we can obtain the likelihood of finding a user in any location.”

This information about the regular habits of ordinary people also comes in handy for the authorities who run the police state in Ray Bradbury's classic 1953 novel Fahrenheit 451. When Montag runs for it, and escapes, the police can't admit that they lost him. Perhaps they can find a substitute for the Mechanical Hound!

"...Right now, some poor fellow is out for a walk... Don't think the police don't know the habits of queer ducks like that, men who walk mornings for the hell of it. Anyway, the police have had him charted for months, years. Never know when that sort of information might be handy...

Via Cellphone Tracking Study Shows We’re Creatures of Habit.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 6/9/2008)

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