Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Data Mining in Israel

Mobile technology is a fast developing industry, and Israel has some startup firms that could be providing insight into the future. For instance, one of Israel’s newest high-tech company, Cellint, is finding meaning for seemingly useless information. Cellint has developed technology that can “listen” to the cellular network control channel, which monitors customer IDs, cell tower identifications, and more. With this information, mobile carriers can map every device connected to their network.
                I think that one of the biggest advantages to this technology is that it can provide for more accurate surveys. In the past, certain U.S. bureaus would mail out surveys to a small proportion of people and use that to collect their data. But now, mobile networks like Verizon and AT&T encompass 30%-40% of the population, and if bureaus had access to Cellint’s data mining, they could passively conduct a larger number of surveys, plus obtain more accurate data by having a larger sample size. This technology would also prove to be a huge asset to the public sector. As mentioned in the article, it can “map events such as traffic congestion, human traffic within public transport systems or people’s real-time behavior during a disaster” (Lilien). With this information, the United States department of transportation could better analyze their peak hours, and determine when they need to employ more buses on the road or charge a higher price for train tickets. And as aforementioned, the U.S. Census Bureau can now conduct more accurate population and demographic surveys by using Cellint’s technology. Along with the public sector, this technology can also be made available to the private sector. Companies like Google could most certainly benefit from the real-time traffic reports made available by all the cell phones in each car that are connected to a mobile carrier.
                But unfortunately, there are some potential issues with Cellint’s technology. First off, the company is only in Israel right now, adhering to only their laws (Cellint). If this company was to be introduced to the United States, I’m sure there would be some invasion of privacy lawsuits they would have to take care of. Secondly, Cellint’s technology is useless without a contractual agreement with a large firm. Cellint monitors its own network users as of now, but Cellint would most likely find itself unable to penetrate the esoteric mobile network industry of the United States. Lastly, this information provides for tremendous knowledge over society, being able to map people’s commutes and where they spend the majority of their time. If this information were to fall into the hands of a terrorist organization, they could potentially create one of the largest massacres in the history of the human race. This information would need to have extensive security restrictions.
                I think that what Cellint has created has incredible potential. But if this sort of technology were to be introduced in the United States, there are a number of things they need to reexamine regarding human rights, practicality, and security.

"Cellint Is a Leader in Mobility Data Solutions for Smart Cities." Cellint. Studio Michal, n.d. Web. 29 Mar. 2016
Lilien, Niv. "The Israeli Companies Disrupting Mobile Technology."ComputerWeekly. TechTarget, 24 Mar. 2016. Web. 29 Mar. 2016.

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