SSC Virtual Seminar Series: Tommy Cooke, Research Fellow, Surveillance Studies Centre, & Dan Cohen, Department of Geography & Planning, Queen's University

Tommy Cooke/Dan Cohen
Tommy Cooke/Dan Cohen

Big Data Exposed: GNSS & the Quest for Accuracy in the Digital City

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

12:30 – 2:00 pm

Seminar recording available here

We will send the seminar link and password to registered participants.

Please RSVP to Joan Sharpe.

We present Big Data Exposed (BDE), a sub-project of A Day in the Life of Metadata (ADITLOM) that brings social scientists and computer scientists together to conduct a data experiment that aims to demystify and critically investigate how corporations and governments extract discrete smartphone location metadata for a wide range of economic and surveillance-related purposes. Launched in the Fall of 2021 at Queen’s University, our team retrofitted two smartphones with data tracking software. The devices were carried during three routes across Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Our software monitored how a specific App connected to a Mobile Location Analytics (MLA) corporation in The Netherlands profiled these devices’ movement in real-time. Our presentation overviews the experiment’s initial findings about the MLA’s discrete extraction of a single variable produced by the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) receiver. It also overviews the next steps in our project’s ongoing investigation.

About the speaker:

Tommy Cooke is former SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow at the Surveillance Studies Centre at Queen’s University, Canada. His research investigates surveillance data in smartphones, with particular interest in location privacy implications. Cooke is Principal Investigator of A Day in the Life of Metadata – a large multidisciplinary collaboration that develops specialized software to empirically monitor and visualize discrete location data flows within Google Android devices. Cooke has published in Surveillance & Society and International Political Sociology. Cooke is Co-Editor of Political Silence: Meanings, Functions and Ambiguity as well as Co-Host of the What’s That Noise!? podcast.  
Dan Cohen is an Assistant Professor of Economic and Urban Geography at Queen’s University, Canada. His research has focused on the marketization and financialization of social services and the role of the movement of policy in shaping markets. Most recently, he has been studying how impact investing and social finance are reshaping the delivery of important urban services including schooling as well as new technologies of student debt such as Income Share Agreements. His publications include journal articles in Critical Studies in Education, Geography Compass, Environment and Planning A, Environment and Planning C, Progress in Human Geography, and Urban Geography.


Everyone welcome!

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