How is My Data Being Collected Everyday?

  • Using my phone in the morning for calling and texting. Cell phone companies and Apple collects this data.


  • Health activity that is tracked by my phone, such as number of steps, floors climbed, and distance travelled


  • Riding past the bicycle counter in downtown Cambridge


  • Social media accounts: Facebook, Snapchat, etc. These accounts capture numerous different types of data about myself and my friends.


  • iMessage and WhatsApp throughout the day. These messages are sent to family, friends, and significant others.


  • Entering and exiting the gym using the scanners they have. This serves as a tracker of my location.


  • Exercise data from Suunto watch: swimming and running distance can be tracked by this watch.


  • Scanning in with my student ID at the Operations Research Center. This shows when I enter the center each day to work.


  • Use of my computer to access the internet, to send emails, buy goods, and submit school assignments


  • Using GPS to go from one location to the next. GPS is used on my phone and watch to track my location.


  • Using Uber or Lyft as a means of transportation.


  • Credit card and debit card transactions at restaurants. This can serve as a measure of how much you’re eating out.


  • Sending money to friends for groceries, food, and gas. USAA keeps tracks of how much money I send to various places.


American Survey on Private Data Usage


  • What data is being shown – this data presentation shows how Americans responded to a 2014 survey detailing how confident they were about the secure usage of their data by various data handlers. The survey results are broken down into four levels of confidence, and this is shown by the different colors in the graphic. The survey responses are split into 11 different data handler categories.


  • Intended audience(s) – two possible intended audiences are: 1) managers or executives of companies in these various industries, and 2) Americans or others who are interested in how people feel about the use of their personal data within different sectors.


  • Goals of the data presentation – the objective of the graph is to show that Americans are not confident at all in certain industries regarding how their personal data is used or stored. From the graphic, it seems that Americans do not trust a majority of the data handlers. In particular, the author of the graph wants to highlight the extreme lack of confidence in social media sites and online advertisers among other industries and companies.


  • Effectiveness of the data visualization: I do not think this data presentation is effective because it is difficult to determine what the audience is supposed to be focusing on in the graph. The headline tells you the main point of the visual, but the actual data handler categories that are mentioned in the headline are placed at the bottom of the graph. I think it would be more effective to move the “social media sites” and “online advertisers” categories to the top of the visual and make them stand out more. However, the data presentation does have a clear and concise headline and the horizontal representation of the data seems to work well.