The Covid-19 lockdown will become known as the moment the world finally abandoned the analogue age. I do not mean this in a technological sense — it is about how we compile and use information.

The mobile phone and other digital devices have been around for a while, but the mobile phone has become a primary source of public data intelligence. Scientists are using mobile phone data to track the spread of coronavirus. Another fledgling application of big data is in economic analysis. If phone location data can be used to track contagion, their use in retail payments means they can also be used to track consumption.

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