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Almost 17,000 Protesters Had No Idea A Tech Company Was Tracing Their Location

On the weekend of May 29, thousands of people marched, sang, grieved, and chanted, demanding an end to police brutality and the defunding of police departments in the aftermath of the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. They marched en masse in cities like Minneapolis, New York, Los Angeles, and Atlanta, empowered by their number and the assumed anonymity of the crowd. And they did so completely unaware that a tech company was using location data harvested from their cellphones to predict their race, age, and gender and where they lived.


Just over two weeks later, that company, Mobilewalla, released a report titled “George Floyd Protester Demographics: Insights Across 4 Major US Cities.” In 60 pie charts, the document details what percentage of protesters the company believes were male or female, young adult (18–34); middle-aged 35º54, or older (55+); and “African-American,” “Caucasian/Others,” “Hispanic,” or “Asian-American.”

仅仅两个多星期后,这一名为Mobilewalla的公司发布了一份题为“George Floyd抗议者人口统计:美国四大城市的见解”的报告。在60个饼图中,该公司详细说明了该公司认为的抗议者中,男性或女性、年轻人(18-34岁)、中年人35º54或以上(55岁以上)的比例;以及“非洲裔美国人”、“白人/其他人”、“西班牙裔”或“亚裔美国人”

It’s unclear how accurate Mobilewalla’s analysis actually is. But Mobilewalla’s report is another revelation from a wild west of obscure companies with untold amounts of sensitive information about individuals — including where they go and what their political allegiances may be. There are no federal laws in place to prevent this information from being abused.


Mobilewalla CEO Anindya Datta told BuzzFeed News that the data analysis that made the George Floyd Protester Demographics possible wasn’t a new kind of project. “The underlying data, the underlying observations that came into the report, is something that we collect and produce on a regular basis,” he said.

Mobilewalla首席执行官阿尼迪亚·达塔(Anindya Datta)告诉BuzzFeed新闻,让乔治·弗洛伊德抗议者的人口统计成为可能的数据分析并不是一个新的项目。他说:“报告中的基本数据、基本观察结果是由我们定期收集和制作的。”。

Read more at BuzzFeed News