As we continue our coverage of the recent revelations regarding the international spying scandal that is unfolding before our eyes, we are immediately drawn to Zeit Online and their report on a man, who – (after actually suing the company) – eventually got German telecoms giant, Deutsche Telekom, to release his phone records and data to him.
Working as a politician by day, Malte Spitz, after receiving the requested 6-months worth of data on his own cell activity, reportedly handed this data over to Zeit Online, who proceeded to compile the data – which consisted of meta data – into a visual timeline.
“By pushing the play button [on this page], you will set off on a trip through Malte Spitz’s life. The speed controller allows you to adjust how fast you travel, the pause button will let you stop at interesting points. In addition, a calendar at the bottom shows when he was in a particular location and can be used to jump to a specific time period. Each column corresponds to one day.”
It’s remarkable, right? – The extent at which we can be “tracked.”
For example, did you know on October 13, 2009, Spitz made 13 outgoing calls and 8 incoming calls. The calls he made lasted a total of 20 minutes and 11 seconds. He also received 7 incoming messages and sent 4 outgoing messages.
Total time he was on the internet? – 24 hours.
When people mention “meta data” in the context of potential privacy invasion, most assume that this is harmless data. Data which, for want of better words, “isn’t good for much.” However, this is just one example of what meta data can be used for.
In fact, to show the true extent of the fine-grain detail this data holds on all of us, Spitz is kindly making 6-months of his life (in terms of meta data) available for public download.
So, when AT&T suggests it might sell your data.
You might want to think twice about actually letting them do it.