January 9 – 12 , 2022, Dagstuhl Seminar 22022

Mobility Data Analysis: from Technical to Ethical


Bettina Berendt (TU Berlin, DE)
Stan Matwin (Dalhousie University – Halifax, CA)
Chiara Renso (ISTI-CNR – Pisa, IT)

For support, please contact

Dagstuhl Service Team


Dagstuhl Report, Volume 12, Issue 1 Dagstuhl Report
Aims & Scope
List of Participants
Shared Documents
Dagstuhl Seminar Schedule [pdf]


Mobility data is one of the fastest growing types of data, thanks to the increasing number of mobile devices approaching the population of the globe. The collection, storage and analysis of spatio-temporal data representing trajectories of moving objects is one of the topics that received major attention in the field of data analytics. The more semantic information is collected from various sources, the richer is movement data. This enriched mobility data is typically referred to as semantic trajectories. The analysis of such trajectories can produce powerful results in domains such as transportation, security, tourism, health, environment and even policy design. The recent COVID-19 outbreak shed a light on the importance of collecting mobility data for public health. However, at the same time, the more mobility data is enriched with semantics, the larger the risks of violating the privacy of users and of possible unethical uses of these data analysis results. Aspects of Computational Ethics include privacy, but they go beyond this, towards a more general vision of ethical gathering, processing, uses of data and the results of data analyses. How ethics interrelates with mobility data analysis is an emerging issue.

The objective of this Dagstuhl Seminar was therefore to start a deep interacting discussion between Mobility Data Analysis researchers and Ethics experts to link these two fields with the objective of creating the foundations of a new Mobility Data Ethics research field.

This Dagstuhl Seminar, organised by Chiara Renso, Bettina Berendt and Stan Matwin as an activity from and beyond the MASTER project [1] aimed at bringing together researchers from different disciplines from Computer Science, Mobility Analysis and Ethics to trace the path from a technical vision of mobility Analysis to an also ethics-based approach to the field.

The three-day seminar was structured into three main modules: (1) round-table presentations in which each participant presented him/her self with a question about Mobility and Ethics that represents his/her interest and an object to visualise this interest or serve as a starting point for further discussion; (2) three tutorial on "technical", "ethical" and "legal" aspects of mobility data; (3) the working groups to discuss the main topics of interest that emerged during phases (1) and (2).

As a result of the group discussions on participants' interests and the issues raised in the tutorials, we formed five main working groups:

  • What is/are the trade-off(s) between data privacy and data utility?
  • Mobility Data Anonymity (Can location data be really anonymous?)
  • Ethics of Mobility Data: What is unique? Which guidelines?
  • Mobility Data Analysis Ethics beyond the data
  • Mobility Data Analysis Ethics beyond humans only: Tracking animals and moral agency

The tutorials and each of the working groups are described in a chapter of this report. Like other Dagstuhl Seminar reports, these chapters aim at makign the scientific results re-usable and extendable by others. In addition, we also want to help others profit from our experiences with the videoconferencing and other media technologies that we employed and the interaction-design choices that we made. This last chapter is a reflection also on ethical aspects of the precluded and the newly added forms of mobility of scientists (and others) in meetings during and after COVID-19.


  1. Chiara Renso, Vania Bogorny, Konstantinos Tserpes, Stan Matwin, and José Antonio Fernandes de Macedo. Multiple Aspect Analysis of semantic trajectories (MASTER). Int. J. Geogr. Inf. Sci., 35(4):763–766, 2021.
Summary text license
  Creative Commons BY 4.0
  Bettina Berendt, Stan Matwin, Chiara Renso, Fran Meissner, Francesca Pratesi, Alessandra Raffaetà, and Geoffrey Rockwell


  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Databases
  • Machine Learning


  • Mobility data analysis
  • Privacy
  • Ethics
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Machine learning


In the series Dagstuhl Reports each Dagstuhl Seminar and Dagstuhl Perspectives Workshop is documented. The seminar organizers, in cooperation with the collector, prepare a report that includes contributions from the participants' talks together with a summary of the seminar.


Download overview leaflet (PDF).

Dagstuhl's Impact

Please inform us when a publication was published as a result from your seminar. These publications are listed in the category Dagstuhl's Impact and are presented on a special shelf on the ground floor of the library.


Furthermore, a comprehensive peer-reviewed collection of research papers can be published in the series Dagstuhl Follow-Ups.