OpenStreetMap

Housenumbers and privacy

Posted by ianlopez1115 on 30 April 2010 in English (English)

Got approached by a local of Batong Malake (in Los Baños, Laguna), because I was mapping certain amenities and housenumbers. He was less than pleased (and he has a sticker on his car identifying himself as a member of a local gun club, as he was driving a car at that time) but I assured him that his privacy is guaranteed.

What's wrong with that? Simple: I was mapping that guy's housenumber.

Is there a clause somewhere in the OpenStreetMap wiki (or some blog managed by OSMers) stating that we can't describe the occupants of a certain housenumber (especially if the occupants are very paranoid when it comes to their privacy), except if it "houses" an actual amenity (like restaurants and convenience stores)? And do we need ID's to confirm our identities as volunteer surveyors, if we are suspected of doing something bad (like preparing for a robbery or a more dastardly and criminal act)?

Comment from Gnonthgol on 30 April 2010 at 10:23

This has been discussed lightly before.
The simple rule of thumb is that you can map addresses of houses (those are usually available from other maps as well), and businesses witch receive customers at that site. Do not start mapping phone numbers or names of the inhabitants.

As for the ID. Some people have made custom IDs witch states that they are mapping for OSM and what OSM is. But there is no officially issued IDs. A custom ID is preferred if you are afraid of getting in trouble for mapping.

And if he is a member of a gun club he should be familiar with what the law says about shooting other humans. Guns are effective because they are scary, not because they can kill.

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Comment from ianlopez1115 on 1 May 2010 at 08:37

Thanks, Gnonthgol and JohnSmith.

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Comment from maning on 4 May 2010 at 02:54

It's election season in the Philippines, people are more concerned with privacy due to the upcoming election (you know how it works). I stopped doing photo-mapping for now because I was "accused" of documenting election-related violations around a certain neighborhood.

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Comment from ianlopez1115 on 4 May 2010 at 09:55

I assume that the person is running for a local post in Los Baños. To play safe, I won't upload the waypoints/traces that contain the offending waypoint (until we make amends or the concerned person forgets the incident in 2-4 months time)

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