Care, Indifference and Anxiety—Attitudes toward Location Data in Everyday Life

Preprints.org
Michal Rzeszewski, Piotr Luczys

Abstract

Modern mobile devices are replete advanced sensors that expand the array of possible methods of locating users. This is often viewed in a positive light, as a tool to gather and use spatial information, but it also brings with it the problem of “geosurveillance” in which the “Location” becomes a product in itself. In the realm of software developers, this has been reduced and discretized to a set of coordinates, devoid of human experiences and meanings. To function in such digitally augmented realities, people need to adopt specific attitudes, often accompanied with anxiety. We explored attitudes toward locational data collection practices using questionnaire surveys (n = 280) from Poznan and Edinburgh. The prevailing attitude is neutral with a strong undertone of resignation, in which surrendering personal locational information is viewed as a digital currency. A smaller number of people had stronger, emotional views, either very positive or very negative, based on uncritical technological enthusiasm or fear of privacy violation. Such a wide spectrum of attitudes is not only produced by interaction with technology but can also be viewed as a result of different perceptions and values associated with space and place itself.

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