Geographical Information as “Personal Information”
The rapid proliferation of applications using geographical information combined with the growing accessibility of vast quantities of data of all kinds has given rise to a number of data protection challenges. Information is placed in geographic context by governments, private sector actors, and even by individuals; compilations of data may be sole-authored or crowd-sourced, and are frequently made available over the internet. This paper explores a key question in the data protection context: when is information placed in geographical context personal information? Particular challenges in answering this question include the way in which geographical information may be a key to re-identifying de-identified data, and how it can be used to link aggregate demographic data to specific individuals. For full text of the article on the Social Science Research Network, click here.
Tags: Common Law, crowd-sourced, Data, demographic data, ESRI, Geographic Information, geographic information system, Geography, individual, Information Privacy, Organization, personal information, Personally identifiable information, Privacy and Security, Private sector, Social Science Research Network, Social Sciences, University of Ottawa, Washington DC
Dr. Lea Shanley is the founder and former co-Chair of the Federal Community of Practice on Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science, a vibrant community of 200 federal employees from more than 35 agencies. She is also a co-founding member of the Citizen Science Association. Dr. Shanley recently served as a Presidential Innovation Fellow at NASA, where she helped to foster a culture of open innovation. Prior to this, she founded and directed the Commons Lab at the Wilson Center, served in the US Senate as a Congressional Science Fellow, and worked with local and tribal communities to develop GIS-based decision support systems for city planning, natural resource management, coastal management, and disaster response through the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
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