Monthly Archives: November 2014

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Welcome to MyGeoTrust!

On behalf of the entire project team, I want to welcome you to the MyGeoTrust experience. The vision of MyGeoTrust is that users of mobile devices around the world will be able to benefit from location-derived services without worrying that their location and other mobile data is being used for purposes other than which they intended. We hope you find some inspiration from our vision. Today, large tech companies require you to accept broad-reaching license agreements in order to enable location services, which give them the legal right to share your location information with basically whomever they want. The evidence suggests that consumers are increasingly concerned about the amount of information these companies collect about them, but the problem is that there are few widely-available alternative smartphone platforms.
This is not, however, the only problem. Because of the dominance of a few companies in the market of crowdsourced mobile data, there is little incentive for these companies to open up their treasure chest of data and allow other companies to profit. Especially for small, innovative companies it is increasingly difficult to make good use of crowdsourced mobile data because the big boys are calling all the shots.

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When preparing our project funding application to the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation, we were asked to imagine a New York Times front-page article about our project in the year 2025. The headline we chose for this hypothetical article was “With GeoTrust Location is Everywhere and Safe”. The idea is that users should be able to take advantage of the ubiquity of location-technology, while still feeling safe about the way their personal data is being handled. Here is an excerpt from this imagined NYT article:

How did a group of researchers in far off Finland rip from the hands of Silicon Valley’s Google and Apple a near duopoly of control on crowdsourced mobile data? “In many ways, it was similar to what Finn Linus Torvalds did to the PC software industry in the 1990s and early 2000s,” says GeoTrust Project Manager Robert Guinness. “Despite Microsoft and Apple dominating the OS market, Linus showed that the principles of openness and building value up from a shared Linux kernel can create a viable alternative in the PC and server market.” In the case of crowdsourced mobile data, this transformation of the market required the collaborative efforts of experts in geoinformatics, mobile computing, positioning and navigation, and information technology law, in order to show to the world that the concept of GeoTrust is not only technically viable but also fulfilling the tough legal requirements of the European Union and also of every significant market around the world. Furthermore, just as Mr. Torvalds did not foresee all the various markets segments where Linux-offshoots would be used, the GeoTrust team openly admits that it did not foresee all of the many services and businesses spawned from the opening up of crowdsourced mobile data. “We intentionally avoided listing the services and data products that would be created as a result of GeoTrust,” continues Mr. Guinness, “because we really believed in and were driven by the idea that if you open this data up to innovators around the world, these people, ranging from one-person companies on up, will come up with uses far grander than anything we could imagine—or even more so—implement as researchers.”

This is our vision, but we are only at the very beginning stages of making it a reality. We need your help to move forward. If you share this vision, please check out the remainder of our website, and then get in touch with us via the comments section below or via our contact form. Thanks for reading!

Sincerely,

Rob Guinness
MyGeoTrust Project Manager

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