Google reveals compliance with quarantine in Argentina

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The company analyzed categories such as stores, supermarkets, parks; public transport stations; work places; and residential spaces

The American multinational Google this Friday published statistical reports prepared from mobile phone data on how the confinement orders for the COVID-19 pandemic decreed in up to 131 countries are affecting people’s mobility.

The reports, accessible to everyone, use anonymized (i.e. data from which individual identities cannot be retrieved) and generic data at the country level or, in some cases, region, to show graphically how habits have evolved. of mobility during the pandemic.

In summary and according to Google data, updated to March 29, the Argentina has seen activity drop in restaurants, caf + es, shopping malls, theme parks, museums, bookstores, cinemas and theaters by 86 percent; in general stores and pharmacies, 61 percent; in squares, parks and beaches, 89 percent; in stations and transport stops, 80 percent; and in workplaces, 57 percent; while in places of residence (houses and buildings), it grew 27 percent.

In the Buenos aires city, Google data reveals that retail and recreation activity fell 90 percent; in shops and pharmacies, 48 ​​percent; in places, 91 percent; in passenger transport, 82 percent; in offices, 69 percent; and grew by 31 percent in households.

In the Buenos Aires province, according to Google records, the activity in retail and recreation decreased 88 percent; in shops and pharmacies, 60 percent; in places, 91 percent; in passenger transport, 79 percent; in offices, 60 percent; and grew by 26 percent in households. Data from Argentina can be found here. And those of each country, here.

The mobility charts represent six different categories: shopping and recreation; supermarkets and pharmacies; parks; public transport stations; work places; and residential spaces, so that it is possible, for example, to observe the activity trend that has occurred, for example, in parks in Argentina since confinement measures were decreed.

Actually, the only thing the company based in Mountain view (California, USA) is to add data by countries and regions that already existed and were publicized individually through Google Maps, where you can see in real time whether a store, restaurant or other space is more or less busy than usual.

However, this new presentation allows observing a look at the evolution that activity has followed in each of the categories by country and thus better understand the degree of effectiveness of population containment measures.

The reports are therefore fed by the data collected through the geolocation systems of the mobile phones of people who have given their express permission, and are updated periodically every two or three days to show the latest trends.

Google said the reports are exclusively based on aggregated and completely anonymous data, and that they comply with its “strictest privacy protocols and policies.”

In fact, to further strengthen the generic nature of the data and to highlight the trends, in no case are absolute figures shown, for example, people who have visited the parks or bought in the supermarkets of a given country, but the only numbers that are offered are percentage changes.

Unlike what some Asian countries like China or South KoreaThese reports do not include any type of individualized data, or movements of specific people, or states of health or infection, and therefore their usefulness does not lie in preventing possible infections, but only in measuring the effectiveness of social distancing orders.

If a user wishes that Google does not include their movements in this aggregated data, they must ensure that the Location History in the configuration menu of your mobile phone, although the company explained that this is an option that is already disabled by default and it is the Internet user himself who has to take the step to save his history.

During the last days, it has been opened in the USA. a debate on whether Apple and Google – which together control practically the entire market for mobile operating systems in the country – should collaborate with health authorities and the Government to provide them with large amounts of data that they already have on the population to fight against the pandemic.

These data would be more specific than those announced this Friday, and would be closer to a model dedicated to monitoring individual cases and the prevention of new infections as Asian countries did, which would undoubtedly raise serious questions about the privacy of users.

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