[OSM-dev] [bug] direction of GPS traces

Karl Newman siliconfiend at gmail.com
Tue Apr 14 17:09:27 BST 2009

On Tue, Apr 14, 2009 at 8:46 AM, Frederik Ramm <frederik at remote.org> wrote:

> Hi,
> Karl Newman wrote:
>> I've been around OSM for a few years now and I was not aware "private" GPS
>> trackpoints were available for download.
> Firstly, the API does not talk of "private" GPS tracks. It only gives you a
> checkbox saying "public".

And what's the implied status of something that's not public? Besides,
that's why I used the quote marks around "private".

 I looked in a couple obvious places
> on the Wiki ([1] and [2]) by following the Help link on the upload page and
> the availability of non-public trackpoints is not mentioned anywhere.

I have fixed the description on the Help page.
>  Perhaps that fact could be made overtly clear on the upload page (i.e., a
>> checkbox with a disclaimer "I understand that by not checking Public it
>> doesn't really mean anything")
> That would be wrong. A GPX trace not marked as "public" is only a cloud of
> lat/lon points. Nobody can see who uploaded it, when it was uploaded, or
> which points belong to the same trace.

That would be hyperbole for effect. My point is that it is reasonable to
expect that something not marked public would not be available to the, well,
public, even anonymized (unless there's a clear disclaimer to that effect).
Besides, there are plenty of weirdos in the world. Why should I show them
the cluster of points around my house? It doesn't matter that my name and
address are in the phone book--they don't stand out from anyone else's. I'm
not worried about someone looking me up by name (I don't have any enemies
that I'm aware of...). However, my trackpoints could create a point of
interest for said weirdos.

 for the paranoid among us that had the
> illusion of privacy

If you want privacy, don't upload your data. The paranoid among us are, and
> have always been, living by that rule.
> Bye
> Frederik
Well, I haven't uploaded any data yet. I didn't intend to upload any that
weren't for public consumption, so I've been working on sanitizing my traces
and I probably will then upload the ones that don't go to "personally
identifiable" locations. For what it's worth, I don't consider myself
paranoid, just prudent.

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