2020 Jun 26, 8:17am
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They marched en masse in cities like Minneapolis, New York, Los Angeles, and Atlanta, empowered by their number and the assumed anonymity of the crowd. And they did so completely unaware that a tech company was using location data harvested from their cellphones to predict their race, age, and gender and where they lived.Just over two weeks later, that company, Mobilewalla, released a report titled "George Floyd Protester Demographics: Insights Across 4 Major US Cities." ...“This report shows that an enormous number of Americans – probably without even knowing it – are handing over their full location history to shady location data brokers with zero restrictions on what companies can do with it,” Warren said. “In an end-run around the Constitution's limits on government surveillance, these companies can even sell this data to the government, which can use it for law and immigration enforcement. ...But over time, a bunch of us in the company were watching with curiosity and some degree of alarm as to what’s going on.” He defined those sources of alarm as what he called "antisocial behavior," including vandalism, looting, and actions like "breaking the glass of an Apple store.” He added that they were attempting to test if protests were being driven by outside agitators.