The distinction between data and metadata is meaningless. All data is about other data. It is a mistake to use the word “metadata” to circumscribe our human rights, since it is a movable line. Simply accepting the definition is a loss of ground. People aren’t data and my right to privacy isn’t flexible. My banking history isn’t metadata, even though it is merely “about my work, recreation, and eating habits” and controlled by big banks, and neither is a phone log, or anything else an ISP could say about me. All are simply data about people, and people have a human right to privacy.
But did the researchers harvest it wittingly?
So this means that telephone companies, email providers, Google/Facebook, and basically everyone else in the private sector already knows all this information about us. How do we stop that?
New Supreme Court, sadly.
I’m one of those people who would confuse the analysts because my search/contact patterns don’t match my identity…often because I’m researching on behalf of other people.
I’m curious if they have access to cell phone data too, or only land line. And what about VOIP?
I disagree that the distinction is meaningless, however nobody is actually dealing with metadata.
I call a number and have a phone call – harvesting the number isn’t metadata (like you said).
Logging that I made a call – and just that: “one phone call” – that is metadata.
But nobody is doing that, and I think it is disingenuous of everybody from the press to the politicians for letting everyone get away with calling what they are collecting “metadata”.
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