Tag: Nature

Mobile phone use patterns are better identifiers than fingerprints.

Mobile Phone Use Patterns: The New Fingerprint

Mobile phone use may be a more accurate identifier of individuals than even their own fingerprints, according to research published on the web site of the scientific journal Nature. Scientists at MIT and the Universit√© catholique de Louvain in Belgium analyzed 15 months of mobility data for 1.5 million individuals who the same mobile carrier. Their analysis, “Unique in the Crowd: the privacy bounds of human mobility” showed that data from just four, randomly chosen “spatio-temporal points” (for example, mobile device pings to carrier antennas) was enough to uniquely identify 95% of the individuals, based on their pattern of movement. Even with just two randomly chosen points, the researchers say they could uniquely characterize around half of the 1.5 million mobile phone users. The research has profound implications for privacy, suggesting that the use of mobile devices makes it impossible to remain anonymous – even without the use of tracking […]