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[liberationtech] Why Metadata Matters

Bernard Tyers - ei8fdb ei8fdb at
Thu Jun 6 14:34:41 PDT 2013

Hash: SHA1

I'm glad someone brought up the NSA datacentre. I was thinking is there any connection to this? How far is it to being finished? Is that public knowledge/possible to find out?

It wouldn't warrant this amount of data, which I would expect is pretty small in comparison to the capabilities of this NSA datacentre?

Probably too far fetched an idea...

On 6 Jun 2013, at 22:27, Bruce Potter at IRF wrote:

> The other point worth keeping in mind is that NSA can keep this data forever (hence the humoungous cyber farm NSA is building in Utah) --
> So a decade from now they can check the metadata to see if it fits some theory a paranoid analyst thinks might have happened half a lifetime ago.
> bp
> On Jun 6, 2013, at 1:44 PM, Griffin Boyce <griffinboyce at> wrote:
>>  I see a lot of people wondering why metadata matters.  "But they
>> don't know *what* you're doing there!"  So I'll give a short example
>> to illustrate how metadata can be used to not only determine who
>> someone is talking to, but also to invade their privacy and uncover
>> the most intimate details of their life.
>>  Jane is at 16th & L Street for an hour.
>>  Carla is at 16th & L Street for four hours. She's had a short visit
>> previously.
>>  James is at 16th & L Street for twenty minutes. He comes back at the
>> same time every week.
>>  Kris is at 16th & L Street for ten hours.
>>  Rick is at 16th & L Street for eight hours every night.
>>  Samantha has been there for three days and four hours.
>> 16th & L Street is the address of a Planned Parenthood in Washington, DC.
>>  Jane is having a physical.
>>  Carla is having an abortion.
>>  James receives his medication there. By visit time, location, and
>> frequency, he is likely a trans guy. If his appointments were every
>> two weeks, the metadata would indicate that James is a trans woman.
>>  Kris is protesting there.
>>  Rick works in an office in the same building.
>>  Samantha dropped her phone in the Farragut West Metro Station and
>> has been looking for it ever since.
>> And that's just location data. If one calls a physician every day,
>> perhaps they have a major medical problem. If a crime happens on the
>> other side of town, and you suddenly start calling attorneys... did
>> you do it?  There are numerous explanations for either of those
>> scenarios, but this kind of metadata in isolation can be used to tell
>> almost any story you want.
>> Stay safe out there.
>> best,
>> Griffin Boyce
>> -- 
>> Technical Program Associate, Open Technology Institute
>> #Foucault / PGP: 0xAE792C97 / OTR: saint at
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Bernard / bluboxthief / ei8fdb

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