The final speaker on this first day of "Compromised Data" is Sidneyeve Matrix, who shifts our focus towards geosocial information as generated by smartphones and other mobile devices. Only 12% of US users as surveyed by the Pew Centre posted Foursquare check-ins in 2013, for example, down from 18% in 2011 - but this may mask a greater take-up of other location-based services, not least the Frequent Locations functionality in iOS7.
There is a continuing trend towards the consumerisation of geodata. Geosocial cultural arrangements are explored through the use of mobile communication patterns, but such analysis is notoriously difficult - not because of a lack of data, but because of the difficulties in assigning meaning to the geolocated information which is available from a variety of platforms.
Some such geo-information originates from self-selecting users, switching geo-services on and off as necessary; other users may have them switched on by default because their are insufficiently familiar with the functionality. (Yet others may even deliberately game these services with incorrect information.) The increase in other locational sensors (e.g. in wearables) adds further geodata into the mix.
One way to understand these trends is through an analysis of newspaper coverage of geo-technologies in recent years. A substantial part of the rhetoric is about issues of privacy and their underlying creepiness, in fact; the coverage of projects such as Please Rob Me and a variety of social discovery apps (often with sexual undertones) highlights some key issues around geolocation.
Application developers often did not see the issues with their work, but as it turns out very few enlightened smartphone users are now prepared to generally reveal their geolocation through these and other services. This is the case at least for some of the general social media services and apps, but there are niche markets for location-aware wearables and associated apps which are rapidly developing nonetheless: for what it's worth, they are predicted to be worth US$18b by 2018.
This is the case for example for Nike+ Fuel, Jawbone, Fitbit, and similar mobile health apps, which often link with geo-enabled apparel and utilise gamification strategies to reward particular activity achievements and social community platforms to create mutual support and/or competition.
Another example are people finder apps like Life360, which aim to keep family members in virtual contact with each other. They are marketed as supporting personal safety and family connections by providing microsocial, "antisocial" community circles - but here, too, there are privacy and surveillance issues, for example between parents and their adolescent children. The conversations between developers and users around these issues turn out to be fascinating, unsurprisingly.
Collectively, there are millions of members in these niche communities, but they are largely underresearched, in part because no data analytics tools exist or because the data are not available to researchers. These platforms signal a shift from generic social media platforms to more specific, niche environments, and we need to find new approaches for tracking geosocial trends in these niche data publics, and for developing research collaborations with the platform operators.
This would also provide a more accurate and more rich story about the current processes for developing and monetising such services.