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Mapping spring breakers

The following video was published last week showing the “secondary locations of anonymized mobile devices that were active at a single Ft. Lauderdale beach during spring break.” Said differently, the company used anonymized mobile phone data to see where spring breakers went after they left the beach. This was in order to better understand how they may have contributed to the spread of COVID-19. If you can’t see the video below, click here.

The video is astonishing for two reasons. One, it shows you the extreme reach of just one beach in South Florida. Imagine if they had analyzed all of the beaches up and down the coast. And two, a lot of you are probably freaked out that this sort of mobile phone data is available to private companies. If you’d like to learn more about how this all works, check out this opinion piece from the New York Times.

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