Peter plays the devil's advocate in this comment following this entry on Another Reason for Using Cell Phone Data to Pinpoint the E.Coli / EHEC Outbreak in Germany
Igor, I can't help playing advocatus diaboli.
On the one hand, I think your idea of using cell phone data is great and somebody should really test it and see if it actually helps in such a situation.
On the other hand, the infrastructure needed is problematic. The highest German court restricted access to such data to investigations in connection with severe felonies (murder, rape etc); the original laws were unconstitutional.
Nevertheless, politicians in Germany constantly ask for more data to be collected -- after all the infrastructure is there and it creates many desires.
What I'm trying to say is that, if it works (which I think it will), there still might be sensible reasons not to follow the idea.
I have two words for this well taken privacy argument: Malte Sptiz. When someone wants to give out their information to the public in Germany, they can.
We are not talking about taking data away without consent. We are talking about citizens giving the OK to the telcos to release a certain type of information to the investigative teams. After this outbreak and the dust settles, a law could provide some framework for this. In particular, the legislator would be well advised to provide some sort of immunity to people giving this data away ( a little bit like the good samaritan laws in the books in most democracies in the world)