Today, I discovered an interesting data visualization tool that shows patterns of social connectedness across the country. Researchers at MIT’s Senseable City Lab, AT&T Research, and IBM Research constructed this data using “anonymous and aggregated cell phone data.”
The chart above shows the social connectedness of my California county with the rest of the country. It seems my county is strongly connected to other counties on the West Coast, and not so connected to counties on the East Coast, or to counties in the interior of the country.
I wonder when political parties will start leveraging this data to help them win elections.
You can find MIT’s data visualization tool here.
Data mining using phone records is not a new idea. Didn’t the government try this looking for patterns in call records having to do with terrorist or other illegal activity? Those records were anonymous, but people thought data mining AT&T’s land line call activity was an invasion of privacy.
Do I have this right?
I think that’s right. The NSA has had these capabilities for a very long time.