The exodus was massive … A few days before and a few days after the entry into force of containment measures on March 17 to try to stem the coronavirus pandemic, 1.2 million Ile-de-France residents, or 17% of residents of the Greater Paris metropolis, have decided to leave Paris and its region. This statistical analysis was carried out by Orange, which used anonymized geolocation data from its telephone subscribers between March 13 and 20, as revealed by ‘Le Monde’.
On ‘Europe 1’, the CEO of the group Stephane Richard also confirmed these figures, adding that on the contrary, the population of the Ile de Re (Charente-Maritime) had climbed 30% on the same week. The departments of Yonne and Orne saw their progress by 10% and Ille-et-Vilaine by 6%. The Île-de-France region also lost 100,000 tourists over the period.
But the owner of the historic French operator wanted to reassure. This operation is not intended to track each user on a personal basis. “The data will be stored for a year … These packages are completely erased” and there will be “no surveillance of contaminated people”, he assured.
Data shared with AP-HP and Samu
These data compiled and analyzed must in fact be used by public actors, notably health actors. They were in fact shared with the establishments and institutions which had requested them, such as the Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris (AP-HP) and the SAMU.
These figures “allow us to know how the hospital resources must be sized or anticipated in each” of the exodus zones and possible future sources of contamination, explained Stephane Richard.
Note that Orange only has visibility on the movements of its 24 million users. A technique of statistical adjustments thus made it possible to obtain “a representative and reliable evolution of the population”, explains ‘Le Monde’.
Orange is also working with researchers from the French Institute for Medical Research (Inserm) on the use of anonymized geolocation data, to better follow the movements of the population in France “before confinement and” after confinement “.
The boss of the group insisted that the data was “anonymized” and provided in the form of statistical aggregates representing about 50,000 people. Thus, they do not make it possible to locate people individually, but rather to know how many people are in a given portion of territory on a given date. The CNIL, the digital gendarme, also validated the project on Wednesday, believing that it was in agreement with the General Regulations for Data Protection (GDPR).