A huge part of the NSA debate has centered around metadata and whether or not it is an onerous violation of our rights for the government to collect the data about our data. Dianne Feinstein, Mike Rogers, Barack Obama and others would have you believe that it is no big deal. However, a recent study from Webpolicy.org shows the feds are lying yet again:
At the outset of this study, we shared the same hypothesis as our computer science colleagues—we thought phone metadata could be very sensitive. We did not anticipate finding much evidence one way or the other, however, since the MetaPhone participant population is small and participants only provide a few months of phone activity on average.
We were wrong. We found that phone metadata is unambiguously sensitive, even in a small population and over a short time window. We were able to infer medical conditions, firearm ownership, and more, using solely phone metadata.
Here was their conclusion:
The dataset that we analyzed in this report spanned hundreds of users over several months. Phone records held by the NSA and telecoms span millions of Americans over multiple years. Reasonable minds can disagree about the policy and legal constraints that should be imposed on those databases. The science, however, is clear: phone metadata is highly sensitive.
The study found that it is possible to figure out pretty much anything based on metadata, even with a small sample of information. Religious beliefs, political affiliation, medical conditions, sexual habits and many other personal behaviors can be figured out very easily due to metadata collection. In an age where the current regime punishes people based upon their political beliefs and reserves the right to indefinitely detain Americans for whatever reason, it is extremely alarming that the NSA has all of this revealing data at their disposal.
The metadata talking points from the NSA and its defenders were ridiculous from the beginning, but this report just further cements that fact. The NSA’s metadata gathering ability gives it a tremendous amount of power that the Founding Fathers would have certainly disapproved of. They claim that their illegal spying operation is meant to keep you safe, but there is literally no evidence to back that up.
The feds refuse to clean up their own act, but that does not mean that we are powerless to stop them. We have the right ideas to do so. We just need people to get involved and force the issue. The timing has never been better. The American public is more aware of the threatening nature of the NSA and other federal crooks than ever before. We just need folks out there working to guide the public in the right direction as they awaken. If you are courageous enough to take a bold stand against tyranny, please consider joining us.