I’m seeking your help to find out — it’s a huge project & initial results are promising. If you’re interested please get in touch:

Quick background: For 20 years I’ve used publicly available datasets to identify companies and create business contact lists in niche industries. Recently, government agencies have created “Open Data” portals that make it significantly easier to locate and download thousands of pre-assembled, easy to compile datasets.

Finding and stitching these datasets together can provide us with a highly granular view of how society behaves and may improve our ability to predict future elections.

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King County WA open data website. Search for ‘parcels’ yields datasets on foreclosed properties, GIS data on property size and a file with 759,000 records of parcel # and location (to match w/ tax assessor info)

What can open data tell us about the 2020 election?

Hypothesis: Knowing who you neighbors are and which precinct you live in are essential data elements to increase the predictive power of estimating voter behavior. …

Overview & Objective:

This article describes the steps that I took to create a random sample of 13–17 year old Instagram users who live in the EU and the US that would be statistically representative so that we can calculate a minimum number of kids who have their private information shown.

There are approximately 7,000,000 Instagram users in EU countries who are between 13–17 years old. The specific characteristic that I’m measuring is the number of users who have changed their personal Instagram profile to a business account. Approximately 15% of all users have made this change to their profile.

The ‘obvious’ reason that users change their profile to a business account is that they are indeed a business. There are in fact a large # of sole-proprietors and self-employed users who have made this change to their profile (if you’re an employee of a company, it’s extremely unlikely that you would change your profile to be that of your employer. …

If a stranger asked for your 13 year old niece’s cell phone #, would you give it to them? If she’s on Instagram, you may be too late.

For more than a year over 60 million kids could easily change their profile to a “business account” for which Instagram required the public display of their email address and/or phone # in app. Today, millions of have phone and or email shown.

I’m the data scientist who found this problem and reported it to Facebook’s white hat program earlier this year. Perhaps you recall the news story about the leak of personal contact information for up to 49M Instagram users who are “Creators” on their platform. Jeremy Kirk’s story in databreachtoday.com further explored this issue.

Here’s a quick recap of the research methods used for my report. I analyzed the profiles of nearly 200,000 Instagram users in multiple countries. To ensure that my findings were representative of the global base of users, including those living in GDPR countries, I created three different methods to gather profile ids. One method compiled the profile ids of users whose posts appeared on one of more than 1,700 separate location pages in Germany and Austria [here’s an example of a location page]. The second method involved extracting the profile ids for all the followers of 10 EU based users who each had between 700–2,500 followers. …



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