Scott Smith imagines future data journalism. It will rely on wearables such as smartwatches. “They are not just worn data reporting platforms, but also people-mounted data collection platforms. With sufficiently diverse data, we can deduce a lot about the location, movement, interactions and perhaps even emotional state of the device wearer or carrier. Why bother to send a reporter into a hectic or dangerous scene even with Snapchat when we can reconstruct (or liveblog) the data feed of someone on the spot—sweeping local Bluetooth to know who’s nearby, working out relationships between those on the scene, reading heart rate and perspiration, as well as capturing sound and video?”

Smith adds: “It’s not as far-fetched as it sounds — a reasonable amount of what I’m describing above is available to law enforcement now or being collected for other reasons, in other fields, from large-scale studies of public sleep patterns to legal cases about insurance claims.”

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