"Reality mining" on the rise

Who owns your cellphone tracking data? Is it you, or is it companies like Sense Networks, Inrix, and Path Intelligence?

Reality mining raises instant questions about privacy, especially when cellphone data is involved. In the United States, it is illegal in many cases for cellphone companies to share customers’ location data without their consent.

Mr. Skibiski says that Sense is interested only in aggregate data and that it’s looking for broad patterns, not the specific behavior of individuals. But he recognizes the privacy issue. He says he believes that people should own their own data, control when it is disclosed and receive some remuneration for it. His original idea in 2002 was to pay people for their data, but a formula for doing so proved too complicated.