Anti-robocall robot shows how compromising phone metadata is


Every journalist I’ve read who is talking about telephony metadata is completely, completely missing the point.

If you have speech-to-text running, the text file you generate from the original audio file (or stream) is… METADATA.

And you’re not technically “listening to calls” or “recording calls” if speech-to-text is running on a regularly-purged cache of audio streams.

Yes, telephony metadata can include all sorts of interesting stuff such as originating caller number, number of the person called, time of call, duration, geo-location for cellular calls, etc. etc. etc. But it can also absolutely include a textual version of the call ITSELF.


If there weren’t any interesting things to do with just phone call metadata, then there would be no point in the NSA collecting that metadata, now, wouldn’t there?


For “compromising”, in this case, I read “useful”.

Data is data. It can be used. For good or for ill.

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Then again, faking caller ID data is still around…

Why is the FTC giving out prizes for inventions on an ancient communications network? Sure, the telcos digitalized. Then they compressed our audio, snuck full duplex away from us, and began selling our data to the NSA. Why do we still let them tax our communications for phone numbers when they can’t even prevent scammers from faking their phone numbers?

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Wow. I did not know that. Thank you.

Why are these spoofed IDs even still a thing? If they are going to spy and learn everything about our calls, at least they could make themselves useful. Unanswered calls from “CHE department” 5-10 times a day should get someone’s attention.

The problem is that “spoofed IDs” were a deliberate feature of the phone system, which has legitimate uses. Companies may have umpteen outgoing phone lines, but want all calls returned to a specific number so their switchboard can handle them appropriately.

Unfortunately it’s an unsecured feature, which the phone phreaks long ago learned how to manipulate and invoke unaccountably. And the telephone companies have not yet been convinced that this is a problem worth solving.

Either customers are going to have to actively demand it, or the licensing agencies are going to have to actively demand it. Money doesn’t get spent unless it’s clear that it must be spent.

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Money doesn’t get spent unless more money will be made or a lot money will be lost. I guess this explains why no one will do anything about it. In the meanwhile, they will CHE day and night, until the end of time.

If the NSA can’t catch “Rachel from Cardholder Services”, what good is having an “entirely for foreign intelligence uses except for a couple of degrees of linkage that we record but officially don’t ‘collect’” telephone surveillance system? It’s also fairly likely that this kind of robocalling gets done from foreign countries where the labor’s cheap (or at least from Florida.)

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