This Week in Data – March 6

This Week in Data – March 6:

Each week, we compile the best stories in data. Get up to speed on this week in data, without having to search for it.


China shares Coronavirus data with police

China is using smartphone software to encourage its population to return to work after the COVID-19 lockdown. Citizens are provided with guidance on whether or not to self-quarantine via a social payments app. But, it appears their personal information is shared with police. While Chinese internet companies often share data with the government, it’s rare the process is this direct. In the USA, it would be like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention using apps from Amazon or Facebook to track Coronavirus, then sharing that user information with the local sheriff’s office.


“A New York Times analysis of the software’s code found that the system does more than decide in real time whether someone poses a contagion risk. It also appears to share information with the police, setting a template for new forms of automated social control that could persist long after the epidemic subsides.”

American cell phone carriers to be fined $200 million

At least, that’s what the FCC has recommended. We recently told you that the FCC was considering a fine against the carriers for sharing location data with third parties, and now the New York Times details the recommendation. Of course, the companies are fighting the recommendation and may not end up paying. But the decision underscores the growing trend of regulators fighting back against overreaches in data usage.


“The sale of location data has become a hot business as smartphones have proliferated and technology for gleaning their whereabouts has become more precise.”

Will Europe’s single data market hinder or help?

Quarts points out that the EU’s latest five-year tech roadmap includes a “single market” idea for data, where all companies place their information in a big pot, so that anyone can access parts of it for the common good. The intention? To stop the march of tech giants like Amazon or Facebook. Will it have the desired effect, or will it only empower them further?


“When it comes to cloud platforms, American tech giants have a strong grip on the EU. Google Cloud, along with Microsoft Azure, AWS, and Alibaba, currently dominate Europe’s cloud market in both the public and private sector.”

Banks and fintechs: fight! 

Will these two ever work it out? The Financial Brand has a fascinating look at the relationships between these two entities in the age of data. We mentioned last week JP Morgan cut out screen scraping for fintech partners, and this article says the same thing. A fascinating look at how these two entities will have to get along – or not – in the future.


“The banking industry viewpoint has chiefly been that regulators should allow the market’s tech and protocol solutions to proceed without imposing new regulations. On the other hand, banks have been frustrated by the role of data aggregators in this area.”

Ford shares data with insurance giant

The last year has seen so many transport data partnerships and activities, it’s become something of a norm. Now Ford says it’s sharing data with Allstate. It’s just the latest in a series of moves for insurance companies to provide better – or worse – deals based on your actual driving habits. Buckle up, there will be more coming.


“Allstate has been expanding programs that track drivers to offer discounts for safe habits or let customers pay for coverage by the mile. The company is testing a program that allows clients to see how driving habits affect a personalized price.”


That’s our wrap for this week. Thanks for reading – we hope you found it entertaining and informative. We’d love to hear your thoughts on these articles and anything else data related!

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Until next week,

Team Data Republic

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