According to scientists it is remarkably easy to identify a mobile phone user from just a few pieces of location information. Whenever a phone is switched on, its connection to the system means its position and movement can be plotted. This fact is given namelessly to third parties, both to drive services for the user and to target advertisements.
But a study in Scientific Reports warns that human mobility patterns are so expected it is possible to recognize a user from only four data points. The growing ubiquity of mobile phones and smart phone applications has ushered in an era in which incredible amounts of user data have become available to the companies that operate and distribute them sometimes released publicly as anonymised or aggregated data sets.