David Cole in the New York Review of Books has a new article, "We Kill People for Metadata" on the mistaken notion that the NSA's collection of metadata in its pursuit of terrorists is no big deal because it does not collect the content of communications, only details about them. First he quotes NSA counsel Stewart Baker:
“Metadata absolutely tells you everything about somebody’s life. If you have enough metadata, you don’t really need content.”
He then quotes General Michael Hayden, former director of the NSA and the CIA:
“We kill people based on metadata.”
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The ACLU has a post today showing just how much metadata reveals about your life and associations.
Why this is important: In the attempt to justify the NSA surveillance program, the President and some in Congress resort to claims like "It's just metadata, not content."
"This is just metadata," Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein assured the American people, referring to the NSA's bulk collection of Americans call records. "There is no content involved." President Obama and his national security officials have made similar assurances.
Using a program called Immersion, developed by MIT Media Lab, he reviews almost 9 years of his own emails. Immersion examines the From, To, Cc and Timestamp fields-- from a Gmail account and visualizes it.
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