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Development of a "blurred location" specification/standard #205

jywarren opened this issue Sep 27, 2019 · 0 comments


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commented Sep 27, 2019

This standard "specification" could be used as a framework to develop libraries in other languages, and as a pattern to which to develop user interface designs. Here we are brainstorming version 1 of the specification. Comments welcome!


The README describes in basic terms how we've implemented the concept of 'blurred location':

The goal of this specification is to describe a system, made up of:

  • technical implementations
  • user interface designs
  • a mental model
  • a standard vocabulary

Our goal at Public Lab is for the above to allow for some amount of location sharing, in order to enable community scientists to coordinate regionally, while not requiring them to share high precision location that might expose them to risk. However, we see that this model may be widely applicable.

The keys here are:

  • the ability to share and integrate locations of varying precision using a prototype mapping library
  • an accessible vocabulary to communicate precision
  • a design vocabulary and set of UI/UX norms to respect individual decision-making in relation to location privacy

Together, we aim for these to articulate a model that is simple to use and understand, as well as universal enough—and powerful enough—to be implemented in real-world web applications.

So the specification might include:

  • a set of defined terms
  • a description of the "truncation model" and grid overlays
  • an abstract walkthrough of blurring data
  • a discussion of edge cases (such as appearing on either side of a grid boundary)
  • a threat assessment of blurred location privacy

I'm very interested to hear peoples' thoughts on this!

@jywarren jywarren pinned this issue Sep 27, 2019
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