Holy crap, does Foursquare get your Uber location data and associate it with other services like Twitter?
This is starting to sound like a mini-Facebook. Call me cynical but I bet the only reason Crowley is even talking about this now is because they're trying to get ahead of the reckoning that's coming to Facebook for these kinds of data practices. He's positioning 4square as all innocent "hey we dunno if this is cool or creepy, let's ask people.." But is he really? Or is it an effort to appear like they are being transparent? If they really cared they would make it clear what they know about you. But you can bet they won't because nobody wants Foursquare tracking your Uber destinations and associating it with your Twitter profile or anything else.
EDIT: That is, the API call doesn't include info about the individual. Foursquare wouldn't know who the individual is for whom the request was made. Except, perhaps, in rare circumstances where they tried correlating them, themselves. Even then, Uber mostly uses it not to understand where a user is but rather the types of locations at a given address.
This doesn't make sense and contradicts the article. Don't apps have to send coordinates to Foursquare to get location names? Foursquare then holds onto that data and tracks you. Perhaps also matching it to other services with a unified ID.
Update to your edit: The article strongly implies that Foursquare has figured out how to associate location data from multiple services into a single view. Apps that use Foursquare are feeding Foursquare very detailed location data about you, even if they're only using it to look up location names. It means Foursquare is getting all your Uber destinations and all your geotagged social media posts. The article literally describes how they've taken this data and turned you into a "card" that tracks your ID across services:
He taps on one profile, called “Harry,” and a pie chart pops up that details the habits of the real person associated with that advertising ID. “Harry spends a lot of time in Midtown, sometimes goes to parks, and rides the subway,” Crowley says, looking over the data Foursquare has assembled from the person’s use of popular apps and geotagging services.
However, they also have their Pilgrim SDK, which you incorporate into your app to have constant, passive location data available:
> Welcome to the Pilgrim SDK—the always on, passive location detection engine by Foursquare. The Pilgrim SDK provides contextual awareness to mobile applications and connected devices to understand where and how your users are moving through the real world.
> By default, Pilgrim SDK runs in the background and pushes you visits when it detects a stop.
My guess is that the Pilgrim SDK includes the device Advertising ID in the data it sends back to Foursquare to implement this.
That Lat+Long, the implied time of the venue search call, and some type of disambiguation user id is all you'd need to start building a location history for someone.
I would be interested to see any sources about this (I’m not questioning what is said in the comment, just genuinely curious about this topic)
That is definitely not a rare circumstance. I would be shocked if any data company at reasonable scale was not actively doing that.
It's disappointing, and this article is a reminder I need to add a depreciation notice to that repo.
This is the same company that regularly hosts hackathons and talks about wanting "to inspire young developers to dream up the next generation of amazing products and services, and provide them with the tools to make them a reality."
How about if you want to do that, don't take your users data and hold it hostage to developers who want to provide them a free service?
I still use the Facebook Places API but I have no doubt it too will disappear without any warning.
Of course, Google has a more plausible argument that it's users have opted in even if very few realize their anonymized and aggregated position information is being broadcast to the world.
That's the kind of data collection I can get behind, because it actually provides direct value to the users providing the data that can only be had through aggregation (though I would hope that we'll someday have a regulatory framework that requires it be thoroughly anonymized).
Targeted advertising and retail foot-traffic analytics for hedge funds, not so much.
Except that Apple manages to do it without violating anyone's privacy. It was detailed in a recent WWDC.
If I remember correctly, instead of tracking a person throughout their journey or the day and using "traffic monitoring" as an excuse, Apple takes anonymized snippets of journeys (around a mile or less IIRC), and uses those.
It seems to me that any company not doing the same is just profiling its users for profit.
I'm so confused by people's response here. It's a location tracking app. I've been using Swarm for almost 10 years for this exact purpose.
My problem is that Foursquare (the company, not the apps) is using location data of people who aren't using location-tracking apps and who haven't given consent to have their location tracked.
For comparison when Apple Maps shares your position information it is a strictly anonymous session ID that is not associated with your Apple ID and is regularly discarded.
What is your source?
If users don't realize that, then they cannot have given real consent. Real consent requires that you know what you're consenting to.
The tendency is that apps are doing this even when you're paying for them directly.
How does that reconcile with usefulness of the data Foursquare collects? Wouldn't that mean that Foursquare location data comes from a very limited subset of mobile users? I feel like I am missing something.
Data companies exist to combine information from multiple limited subsets of users in order to create large datasets of all users that they can then sell.
I don’t think I know anyone that would find that the coolest thing ever. maybe the companies that buy the data, sure.
After watching Long Shot on Netflix, sometimes I'm sort of glad I (and a few other companies) have a corroborated log of where I've been at specific times.
The point is that these folks are not on your team, will never be, and are potentially malicious to you and your family. Why support them?
Thanks, I needed a laugh today.
The image on the gallery site seems to be a photo of a print so here's a higher quality version and a few related images (gallery contract requires the watermarks):
Your mention of "gdpr anonymous" doesn't really give much reassurance, as you can be GDPR compliant but still expose your users to de-anonymization.
The companies make money because they have data for a lot of people, your individual location is not worth a lot as a result.
I wouldn't, unless I could be convinced that the data was actually anonymized -- and considering that effective anonymization is actually a really hard problem to solve, that's a very high bar.
Not to mention that in the end, I'd have to take the company's word for it, which requires a high degree of trust to begin with.
It won't prevent those apps from using IP address for approximate location, but it would definitely reduce the accuracy.
Edit: I do not understand the downvotes on this. You could help me form a better view on this, by replying or stating what is wrong. I am talking Enterprise Access to Foursquare data.
> If you are gay/religious
Uh, neither of these can be inferred definitively from location data.
Easy data mining: "Religious center" is a top-level category. "Religious school" is a type of "School". "Marijuana Dispensary" is a type of "Shop & Service". "Gay Bar" is a type of "Bar".
More evolved: Find location patterns that correlate with known gay or religious people (for instance by cross-referencing data sources).