• Statistics.The INE will track the mobiles of Spaniards for eight days to study citizen movements
  • INE case: the data paradox: why we rely more on Google than the State
  • Training: Big data enters the school
  • Lorem ipsum.The metadata and the INE that gave birth to them

The National Statistics Institute (INE) will keep track of the Spanish mobile phones from today until next Thursday, November 21, thanks to the agreement reached with Vodafone, Movistar and Orange in order to obtain information on the mobility of the citizens.

The telephone data provided by the operators to the INE will be completely anonymous and the follow-up will include a total of eight days: the four that go from today to Thursday (all working days); on November 24 (Sunday); December 25 (holiday); July 20, and August 15.

In this way, information on the mobility of Spaniards can be obtained on work days, on Sunday, at some times during the summer and on a holiday as prominent as Christmas Day, when many families gather to celebrate this holiday.

The data that the operators will provide are not positional, that is, they will not consist in giving the position of the mobile telephones, but in the counting of terminals that are in a place at a certain time . In this way, it does not collide with the Data Protection Law.

With the information obtained, it will be possible, for example, to know where the population travels to work or to which parts of Spain they travel when they take vacations, which in turn provides information on transport and public services that could be improved.

The INE explained that the methodology of this mobility study divides the national territory into some 3,200 cells , each with at least 5,000 residents.

For each cell, the statistical agency will receive information from the three main mobile phone operators in Spain about how many terminals are in that cell at various times of the day. This information will be limited to a terminal count that will be provided to the INE in the form of aggregate tables of results.

Therefore, Statistics made it clear at the time that "operators will not provide individual data on telephone numbers, nor on the owners of the lines, so that in no case can the INE track the position of any terminal".

The INE also stressed that it is a statistic submitted, like all that it prepares, to the Public Statistical Function Law, which guarantees statistical secrecy and that meets all the requirements of the Data Protection Law.

Anonymized data

Movistar, Orange and Vodafone assured at the end of October that the data they will transmit to the INE for their project on the mobility of Spaniards respect all the regulations on data privacy and are sent after an anonymization and aggregation process that makes the User identification and the transmission of personal data.

From Telefónica, they stressed that the privacy of their clients' individual data is "of the highest priority" and stressed that the INE project, when using anonymized and highly aggregated statistical data, does not contain individualized records linked to natural persons, and its ID. "Consequently, your privacy is not compromised," they told Europa Press.

The anonymization of data for statistical or research purposes is a lawful treatment covered by the current legal framework, both in terms of data protection and telecommunications services.

In this line, Orange also explained that an anonymization process will be carried out that prevents any identification of users, so no personal data is transferred, but attributes such as number of people in a geographical area. "You cannot reidentify, because there is always a minimum of aggregation to be able to provide such data," said the gala company.

Thus, he said that it is only a technological change, since this type of data was already offered via surveys and now with technology it can be done with less uncertainty, with cost savings compared to use surveys and respecting what is collected in Article 89 of the GDPR, the EU privacy regulations.

On the other hand, from Vodafone they also stressed to Europa Press that they are "totally anonymized" data through Vodafone Analytics, that do not include personal data and that only allow to know the number of devices that are connected at a specific moment to a specific antenna without their flow being known.

According to the criteria of The Trust Project

Know more

  • Spain
  • Telefonica
  • economy

Statistics The INE will track the mobiles of Spaniards for eight days to study citizen movements

Telecommunications Telephony is the only major operator that resists the brake on telecom revenues

Telecommunications Telephony: 40,000 casualties in the company since 2000