Metadata makes its mark

Steve Kendall | Bendigo Weekly | 21-Aug-2015

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Have you heard about the ABC journo who requested his metadata?

No, it’s not a joke, Will Ockenden wanted to find out what was in his data which is stored by his phone company.

It’s now law that mobile providers keep the records for two years. 

Ockenden discovered location and call information was recorded 12,100 times in six months, about 67 times a day or three times an hour.

To be honest that wouldn’t worry me too much.

Most of it would either be in Bendigo or Metcalfe, with a constant array of pings on the highway between.

It could be worrying if it worked how much time I spent in bottleshops and bars, and how much time I spent in the bathroom.

Thankfully not one I have to worry about, but what about if someone was having an affair or had another family?

It’s only one step from that information being stored on a server to being accessible by anyone who wants to know.

Once again, mine would be tedious in the extreme, I have only been to Melbourne twice this year and to England.

I am not really concerned about Big Brother knowing where I have been, but what if the information slips out?

The perfect among us have nothing to fear, and the naughty ones may have to be more careful, but do you really want an unknown person or body know how many times you have been somewhere?

In the future will employers be able to access your data to see what you are doing on a sick day or in your private life? 

Will they be able to check how often you are in the pub or the betting shop or the doctors? 

What if you like to shop in one supermarket, but work for another?

It’s the misuse of this data which has me thinking twice about openly accepting it.

What if an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend or wife or husband wants to keep tabs? This metadata is being recorded in real time, so live tracking is obviously on the cards.

Now modern cars have trackable GPS, we use computers linked to the internet, we have phones which record our every move, and watches which tell our phones how fit we are.

It’s all there and all linked via the internet.

Your webdata is tracked, if you stream TV, the kind of programmes you watch is stored, your debit card knows what you buy and your store reward card tracks your favourites.

It would be easy to get paranoid about all of this, and I don’t care too much, but what if someone took your phone on a jaunt and those who use the data could place you at a location you were never at?  

Honestly Mrs K, I was not in the pub for 10 hours. I dropped my phone.  

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