lot of people easily fall for the flawed argument that if you don’t do anything wrong, then you don’t have anything to hide. “Metadata” belongs to the flawed argument that if you don’t know the contents of a conversation, then it’s not violating a person’s privacy. I decided to put some hypothetical history to refute these myths.
[Search]John Biggs searches Google for “nipple swollen”, clicks on result leading to Wikipedia
[ISP history]John Biggs visits Web site with medical doctors’ directory
[Landline history]John Biggs calls Dr. Jones, who specalises in cancer of the breast. Call lasts 15 minutes.
[Cellphone location log]John Biggs goes to the bathroom
[Cellphone log]John Biggs places a call from the bathroom, speaks to his wife for 60 minutes
[Search]John Biggs searches Google for “cancer death probability”, clicks on link pro-suicide forum
[ISP history]John Biggs spends 2 hours browsing around the pro-suicide forum
[Cellphone log]]John Biggs sends his friend, Daniel, SMS message stating: “Those suicide folks are crazy. Did you ever visit their sites?”
[E-mail log]]John Biggs writes to his uncle, who is 3 degrees of separation away (friend of a colleague of a friend) from an American Muslim whom the NSA deems “target” (hence E-mail can be viewed fully). E-mail parsed by semantic analyser and then interpreted by one of the many staff members of the NSA.
[E-mail log]]John Biggs writes another E-mail in which he mentions ammonia (in relation to a medical drug). The E-mail, which contains detailed description of John’s condition, can thus be read to ensure he is not building a bomb with ammonia.
[Cellphone location log]John Biggs goes to a chemist, who is also known by a vast database of people to have sold illegal drugs before. John Biggs is now added to the database as a “target”.
[Cellphone log]In collaboration with the DEA, John’s conversations with his wife can now be listened to in real time.
Just another day in life under Big Brother. But hey, it’s about fighting “terrorism” and it’s all just “metadata”.