[OSM-talk] Privacy - Time - Houses

Darryl Shpak darryl at shpak.ca
Thu Aug 16 21:21:16 BST 2007

Thomas Krauss wrote:
> I want to delete or fake the timestaps of the gpx file AND
> I want to delete some of the first and some of the last meters
> (no one has to know, where I and for example my girlfriend lives - but I want to track the
> big streets I drive on the way to her)
> Can someone tell me, how I can fake or delete the timesteps and how to delete the first an last
> gps points (graphicaly would be nice - without I can delete them by editing the the file by text-editor,
> but then, I can't see, which one I want to delete)

I'd be interested in an answer to this as well, since I've considered 
some of the same issues. However, I've also decided that:

- I don't care about the timestamps. I don't see a real privacy issue 
here. The OSM API doesn't make the timestamps public anyway. You can't 
delete the timestamps, because then they won't be accepted when you 
upload them. But if you want, I'm pretty sure that GPSBabel can apply a 
shift to the timestamps, so you can make the tracks that you collect on 
8 AM Monday morning look like you actually collected them at 11 PM on 
Wednesday night, or whatever.

- Unless you're repeatedly going to/from the same location, the fact 
that a GPS track leads to a particular house doesn't really convey much 
more information than "Somebody lives in this house" (which isn't 
exactly confidential).

- The easiest thing to do, if you want to avoid having repeated tracks 
to/from your house, is to leave the GPS turned off over the areas that 
you don't want to upload. That way, you don't have to mess around after 
the fact "scrubbing" the data.

After all that, I've come to the conclusion that I don't really care. If 
someone really wants to know where I live, that information's out there 
anyway, in contexts outside OSM, and it wouldn't be hard to track it down.

- Darryl

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