Who’s Mining Your Data?

Here’s an excellent, timely addendum to my recent post on mining and remixing your personal data silos: Marshall Kirpatrick at Read/Write Web just did a piece on an MIT researcher named Sandy Pentland who – with funding from cellphone giant Nokia – is mining hundreds of thousands of hours of cellphone call data – including proximity and location details – to identify relationship patterns among callers.

“Pentland predicts a future when he’ll be able to use frequency of calls, physical proximity and interruptions in conversations to determine for example who among your Facebook friends is a real life friend, who you’ve never met in person and who is your superior in a workplace hierarchy.”

This is exactly the kind of data and analysis I was referring to, but with the important distinction that customers of any kind of commercial service should have access their own usage data at the same level of granularity available to this researcher, so they can remix it for their own purposes (not just as passive recipients of whatever commercial service Nokia envisions for the output of this analysis).