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Unique in the Crowd: The privacy bounds of human mobility

Overview of attention for article published in Scientific Reports, March 2013
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About this Attention Score

  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • One of the highest-scoring outputs from this source (#9 of 31,867)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (99th percentile)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (99th percentile)

Readers on

mendeley
582 Mendeley
citeulike
7 CiteULike
Title
Unique in the Crowd: The privacy bounds of human mobility
Published in
Scientific Reports, March 2013
DOI 10.1038/srep01376
Pubmed ID
Authors

Yves-Alexandre de Montjoye, César A. Hidalgo, Michel Verleysen, Vincent D. Blondel, César A. Hidalgo, de Montjoye, Yves-Alexandre, Hidalgo, César A., Verleysen, Michel, Blondel, Vincent D.

Abstract

We study fifteen months of human mobility data for one and a half million individuals and find that human mobility traces are highly unique. In fact, in a dataset where the location of an individual is specified hourly, and with a spatial resolution equal to that given by the carrier's antennas, four spatio-temporal points are enough to uniquely identify 95% of the individuals. We coarsen the data spatially and temporally to find a formula for the uniqueness of human mobility traces given their resolution and the available outside information. This formula shows that the uniqueness of mobility traces decays approximately as the 1/10 power of their resolution. Hence, even coarse datasets provide little anonymity. These findings represent fundamental constraints to an individual's privacy and have important implications for the design of frameworks and institutions dedicated to protect the privacy of individuals.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 1,281 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 582 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
United States 27 5%
United Kingdom 18 3%
Germany 7 1%
France 6 1%
Spain 5 <1%
Australia 4 <1%
Canada 4 <1%
Switzerland 4 <1%
Japan 4 <1%
Other 31 5%
Unknown 472 81%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Ph. D. Student 182 31%
Researcher 109 19%
Student > Master 96 16%
Student > Bachelor 35 6%
Professor > Associate Professor 35 6%
Other 102 18%
Unknown 23 4%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Computer Science 245 42%
Social Sciences 83 14%
Engineering 53 9%
Physics and Astronomy 29 5%
Business, Management and Accounting 23 4%
Other 126 22%
Unknown 23 4%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 1516. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 20 June 2017.
All research outputs
#591
of 7,932,087 outputs
Outputs from Scientific Reports
#9
of 31,867 outputs
Outputs of similar age
#9
of 117,418 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Scientific Reports
#2
of 457 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 7,932,087 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 99th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 31,867 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 14.9. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 117,418 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 457 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its contemporaries.