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A surge of interest has been noted in the use of mobility data from mobile phones to monitor physical distancing and model the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Despite several years of research in this area, standard frameworks for aggregating and making use of different data streams from mobile phones are scarce and difficult to generalise across data providers. Here, we examine aggregation principles and procedures for different mobile phone data streams and describe a common syntax for how aggregated data are used in research and policy. We argue that the principles of privacy and data protection are vital in assessing more technical aspects of aggregation and should be an important central feature to guide partnerships with governments who make use of research products.

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