‘”It’s only metadata” is a mischaracterization that plays into goverment hands.’ — Bruce Schneier
At the 2014 Source Conference in Boston, I was able to sit down with Bruce Schneier after his keynote to clarify his position on several topics he brought up. The twitter stream was on fire during his presentation as he described how the power of government and large corporations affects the internet. Where are the boundaries between personal data and corporate/government usage of that data? What is our responsibility in the equation?
An interesting observation from Bruce is that despite the government’s insistence that they are only collecting metadata, which according to them has no intrinsic value, that presupposes metadata is somehow less important or less personal when it comes to interrogating the data. This despite that it can be used to generate a network of contacts such as “who your friends are, who your family is, what you’re concerned about, where you go, your relationships, your interests”, creating extremely intimate and personal portrait of a person’s life.
About Bruce Schneier
I’ve been writing about security issues on my blog since 2004, and in my monthly newsletter since 1998. I write books, articles, and academic papers. Currently, I’m the Chief Technology Officer of Trustedsoftwarealliance – 2014-source-boston-bruceCo3 Systems, a fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Center, and a board member of EFF.