New Coronavirus: Evaluation of anonymised data on gatherings

Bern, 27.3.2020 - On 21 March, the Federal Council prohibited gatherings of more than five people in public. With the help of Swisscom’s analyses and visualisations, we are assessing whether this measure is being respected. At no point do we receive location data from Swisscom, merely analyses and visualisations. The data on which the analyses are based are anonymised and aggregated. It is not possible to make inferences about specific individuals.

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The analyses produced by Swisscom allow us to assess whether there are fewer people moving around outdoors and whether gatherings of large groups of people are still taking place. The aim is to see what impact the federal government measures have had on people heading to parks, popular tourist spots and other public spaces.

To do that we requested Swisscom for access to its Mobility Insights platform, which analyses movements and gatherings of people. This allows us to retrospectively assess how many people were out in public.

Fewer people out and about after introduction of federal government measures

The visualisations show the amount of time that mobile phone users spend in a 100mx100m area, albeit only when more than 20 mobile phones are in that given area at any one time.

Initial evaluations show that far fewer people are on the move than before the ban on gatherings of more than five people was introduced.

At no point do we receive location data from Swisscom, merely analyses and visualisations that Swisscom can generate from that data. The provisions of the Data Protection Act and the ethical principles that Swisscom follow in processing data are fully respected. As soon as COVID-19 Ordinance 2 is abrogated, we will not be provided with any further analyses.

Swisscom’s Mobility Insights platform (based on Art. 45b of Telecommunications Act) shows the approximate movements of all SIM cards in a given area (e.g. a cantons) over a certain time period. The analyses are based on approximate location details from the previous 24-hour period.

The platform and the corresponding analyses have already been used in the context of Swisscom’s Smart City programme, as in Montreux or Pully.

The following visualisation is available to us:

Here we can see that the federal government measures have led to a sharp fall in movement in Switzerland.

Grafik-Swisscom-Datenerhebung

The visualisations clearly show the impact of the federal government’s ban on gatherings of people. Following the closure of the zoo/premises on 14 March, there are hardly any people in the grounds:

Zoo

Last modification 03.04.2020

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