Difference between revisions of "Privacy issues"

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{{UserMaintainedTop}}
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Information about duplicate city names in the USA.
<br>
 
Waze has a strong commitment to protecting your privacy and anonymity.
 
  
==Privacy options in the client app==
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== Duplicate City Name Error ==
By default, Waze is configured to keep your details private. This protection is not perfect due to privacy leakage.
 
  
The [[User_Manual#Privacy_Menu|User Manual]] explains the configuration settings for privacy.
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<p>WME will prevent you from adding a city name to a segment if
 +
any segments in your state have the same city name, and they are more than a
 +
few miles away. The error message <b>“The
 +
highlighted road is too far from the city it was added to”</b> will be
 +
displayed when you save. This is done to prevent elongated [[Smudged city| City Smudges]] in WME and the client.</p>
  
==Privacy Leakage==
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== Waze’s Original Solution to Prevent Duplication ==
Privacy leakage is the disclosure and linking of personal information to an apparently anonymous profile. Privacy leakage is not unique to Waze. In fact Waze has very good privacy settings and policies. But they are not perfect, and some problems are inherent to any internet connected service that may contain location information, including Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and your photos (which may be geotagged). The fact that Waze supports all these options compounds the problem.
 
  
This list of ways you can lose your privacy is intended to be complete, but there may be other ways not yet recorded.
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<p>Waze resolved duplicate city names when they launched the
 +
map three ways.
 +
# When a small town was surrounded by a larger township of the same name, the smaller town was identified as <b>Foocity</b> and the larger municipality got the name <b>Greater Foocity Area</b>. Sometimes this happened even if the names didn't match.
 +
#When the towns were separated by some distance, Waze appended a counting number behind the name. So you might see <b>Foocity (2)</b> and <b>Foocity (3)</b> on the map in addition to <b>Foocity</b>.
 +
#Waze dumped the city name altogether, which is one reason you see gaps in the Cities layer and roads with no city name.</p>
  
===Driving location===
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<p>None of these are elegant solutions. Each state will need to
Waze is configured by default to display your location as an anonymous driver. To add to your privacy, the location display is delayed, so the location given is where you were 2 minutes earlier.
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decide on a local solution if they want to clear duplicate names from their
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state, as there are a wide variety of municipal configurations in the USA.</p>
  
The location of [[Glossary#Wazer|Wazers]] is publicly available to other Wazers and on the internet. Rather than being anonymous, you can choose to have your location associated with your nickname.
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== Better Scheme for Removing Duplication ==
  
Even when your location is displayed anonymously, there can be privacy leakage. On long highways, isolated country roads, or when traveling at a distance from your home, even anonymous location can disclose your identity. It is possible to identify you from your driving location or driving patterns, especially when combined with an identifying nickname, or other location databases. If you arrive at home and leave Waze on, it will show you in your driveway or home. This may be enough to locate your street address. Public databases such as local government (county) tax and rating records and phone books can be used with an address to find a full name and other personal information.
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<p>As long as the city name differs by one character, you will
 +
not get the error message. But we don’t recommend kludgey fixes. The best way
 +
to clear duplication is to find something unique, but accurate, that identifies
 +
a municipality.  
 +
*Examples
 +
**If a borough and a township share the same name, rename the township segments to read <b>Foocity Twp</b>.
 +
**In Pennsylvania, we have several instances of three or more townships sharing the same name. So we append the county name to the township name, <b>Foocity, Countyname</b>, since that is how they are uniquely identified to the state government.</p>
  
And if a Wazer comes close enough to see your car and its license plate, that car registration information can be used to collect personal information and identify you.
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<p>The simplest scheme is to resolve conflicts in this order:</p>
  
===Nickname and Username===
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<p>1. If a postal area or CDP (Census Designated Place as found on the [http://www.census.gov/geo/maps-data/maps/2010tract.html Census Tract Maps]) and a city conflict, append something to the city name, since CDPs and Postal areas don’t have any other common appellation.</p>
When you first install Waze you are given a random user name. If you change this user name, you may provide additional information about your identity. A first name may be enough to identify you if people observe you regularly driving to the same company location, or to the same street address. Having your company name as part of your nickname may help identify you. Using the same nickname as you use on other social networks like Twitter or Facebook may help identify you. Making a forum post using your nickname where you mention your real name or other personal information may help identify you. This personal information can then be linked to your Waze nickname and Waze identity.
 
  
The same issues apply to your username which is used on the Waze website, including [[Map editing|map editing]] and [[Discussion Forums]]. Your choice of username and nickname may make it easy to link the two.
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<p>2. If a well-known city and a lesser-known city conflict, the most well-known keeps the unadorned name.</p>
  
===Twitter===
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<p>3. If all else is equal, choose one to keep the original name, and add the minimum clear suffix to alter the others.</p>
You can choose to link your Waze account to [[Twitter]]. By default this will post your road reports to Twitter. You can also choose to tweet your destination, ETA and road munching reports. All of these will disclose your location and movements. By default Twitter accounts are open to the public, and not just your followers. Your Twitter profile may include personal information which can be linked to you and your Waze identity.
 
  
===Facebook===
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== Changing or Merging an Entire City Name ==
You can choose to link your Waze account to [[Facebook]]. By default this will show your Facebook profile picture to everyone. Facial recognition can be used to identify you. You may choose to disclose your name from Facebook (which is supposed to be your real name).  You can also choose to update Facebook with your destination, ETA and road munching reports. All of these will disclose your location and movements. Your Facebook profile may contain more information that allows you to be identified and that information linked to your Waze identity.
 
  
===Foursquare===
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<p>Using mass editing tools to change a city name on all segments
You can choose to link your Waze account to [[Foursquare]]. If you then choose Report/Check in with Foursquare, then Foursquare will disclose your location. Your settings on Foursquare may be linked to other networks such as Facebook and Twitter and update those as well. Your Foursquare image and profile and links to other social networks may allow you to be identified and that information linked to your Waze identity.
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is strongly discouraged. The mass editing tools can lead to errors and loss of
 +
data. The correct procedure is to contact your Region Coordinator with the old
 +
city name, new city name and a permalink of the center of the area. The coordinator
 +
will then ask Waze to make the correction in their database. A side benefit is any polygon with the old city name will be removed at the same time. Merging two cities should also be handled the same way.</p>
  
===Waze Groups===
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== Cities Layer ==
You may not link to Twitter or Facebook, but you may be a member of a [[Waze Groups|Waze group]]. Some of these groups are linked to Twitter. You make a traffic report which is shared with the group, and the group automatically sends it to Twitter and Facebook. Your Waze username (not your nickname) is published in the group membership list, together with the date you joined.
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=== Purpose ===
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<p>Currently, the cities layer in WME is only used to display
 +
the city name and polygon on the client and provide a location for client
 +
warnings. It is also believed to be used when you  search for a city in WME. Some users have speculated that this layer will be used for native address
 +
search, but this has never been confirmed by Waze. </p>
  
This makes it very easy to link your Waze nickname with your Waze username, and reveals information about your probable location and interests.
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=== City Polygon Creation and Updating ===
  
If you do not choose to be anonymous, your icon displayed on the map to other wazers includes an icon badge representing your main group, which can make it easier to identify you amongst the group members.
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<p>Many of the city polygons were created by Waze at the
 +
original map import. They were not visible to editors in early versions of WME.
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</p>
  
===Automatic road reports===
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<p>Waze runs a server process regularly that looks for new
Your Waze client app may [[No_pause_option|issue false traffic congestion reports]], thinking you are stuck in traffic, rather than having stopped traveling at your home and work. A series of reports makes it much easier to identify a [[glossary|wazer]] living or working at a nearby location. It is important to turn off Waze when you have finished traveling, and not just put it in the background. This still remains a problem, as such false reports can be generated just by starting Waze to plan a route before departing.
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roads or road segments with changed city names. If the city name is new, a polygon
 +
will be created to cover all the segments with the same name. If a polygon with
 +
that name exists, Waze will sometimes expand or contract the polygon to match
 +
the new road locations. Experience has shown that many of the older polygons resist
 +
changes and remain the same shape, no matter what city name you apply to the roads.
 +
Waze has never explained this.</p>
  
This also means the social part of the social GPS (chit chat) cannot be used from a stationary location without both disclosing your location, and generating false traffic congestion reports.
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=== City Name and Polygon Removal ===
 
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Waze runs a server process periodically that removes city polygons if there are no road segments with that name. Experience has shown that many of the older polygons are not removed by this process. Also, the old city name can remain on the map, even if the polygon is gone. Your Regional Coordinator can request that Waze remove these polygons and ghost names. The process is the same as [[Duplicate_cities#Changing_or_Merging_an_Entire_City_Name | Changing a City Name]].
===Manual Road reports and Chit chat===
 
These reports disclose your Waze nickname, your location, and possibly direction of travel. Making a [[Road reports|road report]] or [[Chit chat]] where you mention your real name or other personal information may help identify you. If you choose to publish road reports to Twitter, your nickname can be linked to your Twitter profile. Chit chat is considered to be a road report for the purposes of publishing to Twitter and Facebook. By default, road reports are sent to Twitter when you link Waze to your Twitter account. Road reports may also be sent as a Facebook update if you link Waze to Facebook, but the default setting is not to send to Facebook.
 
 
 
A combination of your Facebook or Twitter profile, and your nickname chit chat may help disclose personal information about you.
 
 
 
===Creation and editing of roads===
 
When you [[recording a new road|record a new road]] or edit the layout or details of an existing road, your Waze username is linked to that road. It is natural to edit roads around your home, work, and along your common routes. This may make it easier to identify you and link a Waze nickname commonly traveling on roads created or edited by a Waze nickname.
 
 
 
Other map edits such as adding [[house numbers]] are recorded with your Waze username and may make it easier to identify you.
 
 
 
===Discussion Forums===
 
[[Discussion Forums|Discussion forum]] posts are made using your username. If you disclose your real name or other personal information in a forum post, this can be linked to your Waze username.
 
 
 
==Practical considerations==
 
===Using Waze adds an insignificant amount of risk in day-to-day use===
 
* Most of us are not going to be the target of stalkers.
 
* Owning a [[client device|smartphone]] running Waze does not mean our home is much more likely to be filled with valuable possessions. Running Waze does mean mean that your are more likely to have home security. But thieves may come to different conclusions.
 
* Most homes are empty while people are at work from 9am until 5pm. Thieves don't need Waze to know that.
 
* Waze by itself doesn't disclose if you are home alone, or if your home is empty.
 
* There are easier ways for thieves to find out which houses to rob.
 
 
 
===But be sensible===
 
* Don't [[Chit chat]] saying your whole family is away for 3 weeks leaving the house empty. You might Chit chat about how you forgot to feed your dog and you hope it doesn't attack anyone.
 
* Don't Chit chat about anything that makes you a target. For example, don't chit chat about how you hope your jewelery collection is safe in your closet.
 
 
 
 
 
{{UserMaintained}}
 

Revision as of 07:59, 8 March 2014

Information about duplicate city names in the USA.

Duplicate City Name Error

WME will prevent you from adding a city name to a segment if any segments in your state have the same city name, and they are more than a few miles away. The error message “The highlighted road is too far from the city it was added to” will be displayed when you save. This is done to prevent elongated City Smudges in WME and the client.

Waze’s Original Solution to Prevent Duplication

Waze resolved duplicate city names when they launched the map three ways.

  1. When a small town was surrounded by a larger township of the same name, the smaller town was identified as Foocity and the larger municipality got the name Greater Foocity Area. Sometimes this happened even if the names didn't match.
  2. When the towns were separated by some distance, Waze appended a counting number behind the name. So you might see Foocity (2) and Foocity (3) on the map in addition to Foocity.
  3. Waze dumped the city name altogether, which is one reason you see gaps in the Cities layer and roads with no city name.

None of these are elegant solutions. Each state will need to decide on a local solution if they want to clear duplicate names from their state, as there are a wide variety of municipal configurations in the USA.

Better Scheme for Removing Duplication

As long as the city name differs by one character, you will not get the error message. But we don’t recommend kludgey fixes. The best way to clear duplication is to find something unique, but accurate, that identifies a municipality.

  • Examples
    • If a borough and a township share the same name, rename the township segments to read Foocity Twp.
    • In Pennsylvania, we have several instances of three or more townships sharing the same name. So we append the county name to the township name, Foocity, Countyname, since that is how they are uniquely identified to the state government.

The simplest scheme is to resolve conflicts in this order:

1. If a postal area or CDP (Census Designated Place as found on the Census Tract Maps) and a city conflict, append something to the city name, since CDPs and Postal areas don’t have any other common appellation.

2. If a well-known city and a lesser-known city conflict, the most well-known keeps the unadorned name.

3. If all else is equal, choose one to keep the original name, and add the minimum clear suffix to alter the others.

Changing or Merging an Entire City Name

Using mass editing tools to change a city name on all segments is strongly discouraged. The mass editing tools can lead to errors and loss of data. The correct procedure is to contact your Region Coordinator with the old city name, new city name and a permalink of the center of the area. The coordinator will then ask Waze to make the correction in their database. A side benefit is any polygon with the old city name will be removed at the same time. Merging two cities should also be handled the same way.

Cities Layer

Purpose

Currently, the cities layer in WME is only used to display the city name and polygon on the client and provide a location for client warnings. It is also believed to be used when you search for a city in WME. Some users have speculated that this layer will be used for native address search, but this has never been confirmed by Waze.

City Polygon Creation and Updating

Many of the city polygons were created by Waze at the original map import. They were not visible to editors in early versions of WME.

Waze runs a server process regularly that looks for new roads or road segments with changed city names. If the city name is new, a polygon will be created to cover all the segments with the same name. If a polygon with that name exists, Waze will sometimes expand or contract the polygon to match the new road locations. Experience has shown that many of the older polygons resist changes and remain the same shape, no matter what city name you apply to the roads. Waze has never explained this.

City Name and Polygon Removal

Waze runs a server process periodically that removes city polygons if there are no road segments with that name. Experience has shown that many of the older polygons are not removed by this process. Also, the old city name can remain on the map, even if the polygon is gone. Your Regional Coordinator can request that Waze remove these polygons and ghost names. The process is the same as Changing a City Name.