Census ‘might use cell phone information as an alternative of questions’


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Mobile telephone information may very well be used rather than census questions sooner or later, a report from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggests.

The info would permit the ONS to trace the place individuals reside and work.

The ONS examined the thought as a part of a government-backed challenge different information sources for the census.

The report mentioned it used commuter circulate information from Vodafone customers, collected over 4 weeks in March and April 2016, in three London boroughs.

Users can decide out of getting their information processed by their community, the report mentioned.

The UK census, which occurs each 10 years, is a rely of all individuals and households.

‘Early badysis’

The census is carried out by the ONS in England and Wales. Elsewhere, it’s carried out by the National Records of Scotland and the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency.

The ONS mentioned it was “early research” and mentioned that any intention to make use of information throughout the future manufacturing of official statistics “will involve extensive evaluation including privacy impacts”.

No personally-identifiable information was supplied to the ONS, it mentioned.

  • Is your smartphone listening to you?

Commuter flows beginning or ending within the south London boroughs of Southwark, Croydon and Lambeth had been badysed and in comparison with information from the final census in 2011.

An particular person’s dwelling location was based mostly on the place the telephone was positioned through the evening or when switched on within the morning, whereas a piece location was set to the place a telephone was discovered between normal working hours, Monday to Friday.

The report concluded that the 2 units of knowledge had “good correlation” and it recommended additional badysis.

It mentioned it was arduous to detect dwelling employees or commuters who journey very quick distances and it might mistake different teams of individuals for employees. For instance, college students or individuals who go to a close-by procuring space twice per week.

The subsequent census is in 2021.

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