Malte Spitz asked his cell phone carrier what it knew about him—and mapped what he found out.

Why you should listen

German Green politician Malte Spitz went to court to obtain the information that his cell phone operator, Deutsche Telekom, gathered (and kept) about his activity. The results astonished him. Over the course of six months, they had tracked his geographical location and what he was doing with his phone more than 35,000 times. Working with the German newspaper Die Zeit, an infographic was created that shows Spitz's activity across an interactive timeline, combined DT's geolocation data with information relating to his life as a politician, such as Twitter feeds, blog entries and website. By pushing the play button, viewers can set off on a detail-rich trip through six months of his life. And more, because he keeps asking the telecom company for his most recent data.

Spitz, a member of the Executive Committee of the German Green Party, is responsible for media and new-media policies, civil liberties and privacy issues.

What others say

“Seen individually, the pieces of data are mostly inconsequential and harmless. But taken together, they provide what investigators call a profile–a clear picture of a person’s habits and preferences, and indeed, of his or her life.” — "Betrayed by Our Own Data," Die Zeit

Malte Spitz’s TED talk

More news and ideas from Malte Spitz


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What data is being collected on you? Some shocking info

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Self-determination in the digital age: Malte Spitz at TEDGlobal 2012

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