No musher analytics due to GDPR

One of the things that I think is missing from sleddog sports – at least here in Finland – is that there are little or no data or analysis available regarding the sport. I think that data is a key component for many sports spectators. Without it, it’s harder to break into the mainstream as a sport.

Since figuring that out I have been working on digitalizing some of the Finnish results and developing an engine which can process and analyze the data.

What is GDPR, anyway?

On 25th of May, or Friday next week, the GDPR kicks in. It stands for General Data Protection Regulation. It is basically a Europe wide regulation limiting the processing of private information.

Personal data is any information that relates to an identified or identifiable living individual. Different pieces of information, which collected together can lead to the identification of a particular person, also constitute personal data.
Source: European Comission 

So what’s the problem? According to GDPR any database with personal information regarding the athletes constitutes a privacy registry. Since there is no legal premise for me to process sports results, including personal information, GDPR requires an explicit permission from every athlete. It is not enough to give athletes the option to opt-out and ask for their data to be removed. Instead, I need to have permission from everyone.

Analysis of the sports results has little or no meaning unless it can be compared to other results of the same class. I have no way of contacting every athlete. Even if I did, there is not much of a chance that everyone would take the time to actually grant me the permission.

It looks like my project scope will have to be severely restricted. I can only process and analyze results from Club perspective. I would love to be able to provide everyone with a chance to visualize their race performance over time, but due to privacy concerns, I cannot.

Project Kolyma


Few words about the project: It is an Open Source project to produce a program, written in Python, capable of processing pre-formatted source data, and provide analytics for all official IFSS classes. The project is named Kolyma, after one of the lead dogs of John “Iron Man” Johnsson, A Swedish Finn who was born in Åbo, Finland in 1871, who held the All Alaska Sweepstakes record from 1910 to 2008.

If you know how to write Python and would like to contribute, please head over to project Kolyma on Github!


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