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Sun Sep 14, 2014, 05:54 AM

Analysis Of Volunteer's Metadata Stream Reveals His Life In Detail, Allows Passwords To Be Guessed

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20140910/06590828478/analysis-volunteers-metadata-stream-reveals-his-life-detail-allows-passwords-to-be-guessed.shtml

Analysis Of Volunteer's Metadata Stream Reveals His Life In Detail, Allows Passwords To Be Guessed
from the not-"just"-metadata dept
Privacy
by Glyn Moody
Fri, Sep 12th 2014 7:39pm

Three years ago, Techdirt wrote about how German politician Malte Spitz obtained six months' worth of basic geolocation data for his mobile phone. He then gave this to the German newspaper Die Zeit, which produced a great visualization of his travels during this time. That showed clearly how much was revealed from such basic data. Since then, of course, metadata has assumed an even greater importance, as it has emerged that the NSA routinely gathers huge quantities of it about innocent citizens. More chillingly, we also know that people are killed purely because of their metadata. But what exactly does metadata show about us? We now have a better idea thanks to the generosity of Ton Siedsma from Holland. He has allowed researchers to access not just the geolocation data of his mobile phone, but all of its metadata:
From one week of logs, we were able to attach a timestamp to 15,000 records. Each time Ton's phone made a connection with a communications tower and each time he sent an e-mail or visited a website, we could see when this occurred and where he was at that moment, down to a few metres. We were able to infer a social network based on his phone and e-mail traffic. Using his browser data, we were able to see the sites he visited and the searches he made. And we could see the subject, sender and recipient of every one of his e-mails.


That's very similar to the sort of thing governments around the world are now routinely demanding. Here's what the researchers were able to find out about various aspects of his life as a result. The basics:
Ton is a recent graduate in his early twenties. He receives e-mails about student housing and part-time jobs, which can be concluded from the subject lines and the senders. He works long hours, in part because of his lengthy train commute. He often doesnít get home until eight o'clock in the evening. Once home, he continues to work until late.


His work:
Based on the data, it is quite clear that Ton works as a lawyer for the digital rights organisation Bits of Freedom. He deals mainly with international trade agreements, and maintains contact with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a few Members of Parliament about this issue. He follows the decision-making of the European Union closely. He is also interested in the methods of investigation employed by police and intelligence agencies. This also explains his interest in news reports about hacking and rounded-up child pornography rings.


His social networks:
From a social network analysis based on Ton's e-mail traffic, it is possible for us to discern different groups to which he belongs. These clusters are formed by his three e-mail accounts. It may be the case that the groups would look a bit different if we were also to use the metadata from his phone. However, we agreed to not perform any additional investigation, such as actively attempting to discover the identity of the user of a particular number, so as to protect the privacy of those in Tonís network.

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Reply Analysis Of Volunteer's Metadata Stream Reveals His Life In Detail, Allows Passwords To Be Guessed (Original post)
unhappycamper Sep 2014 OP
cantbeserious Sep 2014 #1

Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Sun Sep 14, 2014, 05:57 AM

1. Technology Has Enabled A Global Surveillance State

eom

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