“Metadata” Can Tell the Government More About You Than the Content of Your Phonecalls

George Washington's picture

“Metadata” Can Tell the Government More About You Than the Content of Your Phonecalls

The government has sought to “reassure” us that it is only tracking “metadata” such as the time and place of the calls, and not the actual content of the calls.

But technology experts say that “metadata” can be more revealing than the content of your actual phone calls.

For example, the ACLU notes:

A Massachusetts Institute of Technology study a few years back found that reviewing people’s social networking contacts alone was sufficient to determine their sexual orientation. Consider, metadata from email communications was sufficient to identify the mistress of then-CIA Director David Petraeus and then  drive him out of office.


The “who,” “when” and “how frequently” of communications are often more revealing than what is said or written. Calls between a reporter and a government whistleblower, for example, may reveal a relationship that can be incriminating all on its own.


Repeated calls to Alcoholics Anonymous, hotlines for gay teens, abortion clinics or a gambling bookie may tell you all you need to know about a person’s problems. If a politician were revealed to have repeatedly called a phone sex hotline after 2:00 a.m., no one would need to know what was said on the call before drawing conclusions. In addition sophisticated data-mining technologies have compounded the privacy implications by allowing the government to analyze terabytes of metadata and reveal far more details about a person’s life than ever before.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation points out:

What [government officials] are trying to say is that disclosure of metadata—the details about phone calls, without the actual voice—isn’t a big deal, not something for Americans to get upset about if the government knows. Let’s take a closer look at what they are saying:

  • They know you rang a phone sex service at 2:24 am and spoke for 18 minutes. But they don’t know what you talked about.
  • They know you called the suicide prevention hotline from the Golden Gate Bridge. But the topic of the call remains a secret.
  • They know you spoke with an HIV testing service, then your doctor, then your health insurance company in the same hour. But they don’t know what was discussed.
  • They know you received a call from the local NRA office while it was having a campaign against gun legislation, and then called your senators and congressional representatives immediately after. But the content of those calls remains safe from government intrusion.
  • They know you called a gynecologist, spoke for a half hour, and then called the local Planned Parenthood’s number later that day. But nobody knows what you spoke about.

Sorry, your phone records—oops, “so-called metadata”—can reveal a lot more about the content of your calls than the government is implying. Metadata provides enough context to know some of the most intimate details of your lives.  And the government has given no assurances that this data will never be correlated with other easily obtained data.

New York Magazine explains:

“When you take all those records of who’s communicating with who, you can build social networks and communities for everyone in the world,” mathematician and NSA whistle-blower William Binney — “one of the best analysts in history,” who left the agency in 2001 amid privacy concerns — told Daily Intelligencer. “And when you marry it up with the content,” which he is convinced the NSA is collecting as well, “you have leverage against everybody in the country.”


“You are unique in the world,” Binney explained, based on the identifying attributes of the machines you use. “If I want to know who’s in the tea party, I can put together the metadata and see who’s communicating with who. I can construct the network of the tea party. If I want to pass that data to the IRS, then I can do that. That’s the danger here.”


At The New Yorker, Jane Mayer quoted mathematician and engineer Susan Landau’s hypothetical: “For example, she said, in the world of business, a pattern of phone calls from key executives can reveal impending corporate takeovers. Personal phone calls can also reveal sensitive medical information: ‘You can see a call to a gynecologist, and then a call to an oncologist, and then a call to close family members.’”


“There’s a lot you can infer,” Binney continued. “If you’re calling a physician and he’s a heart specialist, you can infer someone is having heart problems. It’s all in the databases.” The data, he said, is “all compiled by code. The software does it all from the beginning — they have dossiers of everyone in the country. That’s done automatically. When you want to investigate or target somebody, a human becomes involved.”




“The public doesn’t understand,” Landau told Mayer. “It’s much more intrusive than content.”

The Guardian reports:

The information collected on the AP [in the recent scandal regarding the government spying on reporters] was telephony metadata: precisely what the court order against Verizon shows is being collected by the NSA on millions of Americans every day.




Discussing the use of GPS data collected from mobile phones, an appellate court noted that even location information on its own could reveal a person’s secrets: “A person who knows all of another’s travels can deduce whether he is a weekly churchgoer, a heavy drinker, a regular at the gym, an unfaithful husband, an outpatient receiving medical treatment, an associate of particular individuals or political groups,” it read, “and not just one such fact about a person, but all such facts.”

Indeed, the government’s spying on our metadata arguably violates our right to freedom of expression, guaranteed by numerous laws and charters including the U.S. Constitution, the European Convention on Human Rights, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and international law, including articles 20 and 23 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and Conventions 87 and 98 of the International Labor Organization.

Remember, a U.S. federal judge found that the statute allowing indefinite detention of Americans without due process has a “chilling effect” on free speech. Top reporters have said that they are less likely to interview controversial people, for fear of being accused of “supporting” terrorists.

Given the insanely broad list of actions and beliefs which may get one labeled as a “potential terrorist” by local, state or federal law enforcement, the free association of Americans is being chilled.   For example, people may be less willing to call  their niece calling to end the Fed, their Occupy-attending aunt, their Tea Party-promoting cousin, their anti-war teacher, or their anti-fracking uncle.

Spying on Americans’ metadata rolls back everything our freedom of association … and virtually everything the Founding Fathers fought for.

Indeed, computer experts have used an analogy to explain how powerful metadata is: the English monarchy could have stopped the Founding Fathers in their tracks if they only possessed “metadata” regarding which colonist talked to whom.

Postscript: The government is – in factgathering content, as well as metadata.

And mass surveillance doesn’t work to keep us safe. It does, however, set up a technological framework allowing for “turnkey tyranny”.


The Dirty Little Secret About Mass Surveillance: It Doesn’t Keep Us Safe

peeping tom eye hole


William Binney knows as much about spying as anyone alive.

Binney – a 32-year National Security Agency veteran – is the former head of the NSA’s global digital data gathering program, and a very highly-regarded cryptographer.

Binney told Daily Caller yesterday that the spying “dragnet” being carried out by the government is useless:

Daily Caller: There’s been some talk about the authorities having a recording of a phone call Tamerlan Tsarnaev had with his wife. That would be something before the bombing?


Binney: Before the bombing, yes. [This information comes from former FBI counterrorism agent Tim Clemente.]


Daily Caller: Then how would they have that audio?


Binney: Because the NSA recorded it.


Daily Caller: But apparently the Russians tipped off the FBI, which then did a cursory interview and cleared him. So how were they recording him?


Binney: Because the Russians gave a warning for him as a target. Once you’re on a list, they start recording everything. That’s what I’m saying.


Daily Caller: So why didn’t they prevent the bombing?


Binney: Once you’ve recorded something, that doesn’t mean they have it transcribed. It depends on what they transcribe and what they do with the transcription.


Daily Caller:  So it seems logical to ask: Why do we need all of this new data collection when they’re not following up obvious leads,  such as an intelligence agency calling and saying you need to be aware of this particular terrorist?


Binney: It’s sensible to ask, but that’s exactly what they’re doing. They’re making themselves dysfunctional by collecting all of this data. They’ve got so much collection capability but they can’t do everything.




Daily Caller: So what are they doing with all of this information? If they can’t stop the Boston marathon bombing, what are they doing with it?


Binney: Well again, they’re putting an extra burden on all of their analysts. It’s not something that’s going to help them; it’s something that’s burdensome. There are ways to do the analysis properly, but they don’t really want the solution because if they got it, they wouldn’t be able to keep demanding the money to solve it. I call it their business statement, “Keep the problems going so the money keeps flowing.” It’s all about contracts and money.


Daily Caller: But isn’t data collection getting easier and processing speeds getting faster and data collection cheaper? Isn’t the falling price one of the reasons they can collect data at this massive level?


Binney: Yes, but that’s not the issue. The issue is, can you figure out what’s important in it? And figure out the intentions and capabilities of the people you’re monitoring? And they are in no way prepared to do that, because that takes analysis. That’s what the big data initiative was all about out of the White House last year. It was to try to get algorithms and figure out what’s important and tell the people what’s important so that they can find things. The probability of them finding what’s really there is low.

Similarly, Fortune notes that the NSA’s “big data” strategy is ineffective:

The evidence for big data is scant at best. To date, large fields of data have generated meaningful insights at times, but not on the scale many have promised. This disappointment has been documented in the Wall Street Journal, Information Week, and SmartData Collective.




According to my firm’s research, local farmers in India with tiny fields frequently outperform — in productivity and sustainability — a predictive global model developed by one of the world’s leading agrochemical companies. Why? Because they develop unique planting, fertilizing, or harvesting practices linked to the uniqueness of their soil, their weather pattern, or the rare utilization of some compost. There is more to learn from a local Indian outlier than from building a giant multivariate yield prediction model of all farms in the world. The same is true for terrorism. Don’t look for a needle in a giant haystack. Find one needle in a small clump of hay and see whether similar clumps of hay also contain needles.


You need local knowledge to glean insights from any data. I once ran a data-mining project with Wal-Mart (WMT) where we tried to figure out sales patterns in New England. One of the questions was, “Why are our gun sales lower in Massachusetts than in other states, even accounting for the liberal bias of the state?” The answer: There were city ordinances prohibiting the sale of guns in many towns. I still remember the disappointed look of my client when he realized the answer had come from a few phone calls to store managers rather than from a multivariate regression model.


So, please, Mr. President, stop building your giant database in the sky and quit hoping that algorithm experts will generate a terrorist prevention strategy from that data. Instead, rely on your people in the field to detect suspicious local patterns of behavior, communication, or spending, then aggregate data for the folks involved and let your data hounds loose on these focused samples. You and I will both sleep better. And I won’t have to worry about who is lurking in the shadows of my business or bedroom.

Likewise, Nassim Taleb writes:

Big data may mean more information, but it also means more false information.




Because of excess data as compared to real signals, someone looking at history from the vantage point of a library will necessarily find many more spurious relationships than one who sees matters in the making; he will be duped by more epiphenomena. Even experiments can be marred with bias, especially when researchers hide failed attempts or formulate a hypothesis after the results — thus fitting the hypothesis to the experiment (though the bias is smaller there).


This is the tragedy of big data: The more variables, the more correlations that can show significance. Falsity also grows faster than information; it is nonlinear (convex) with respect to data (this convexity in fact resembles that of a financial option payoff). Noise is antifragile. Source: N.N. Taleb

If big data leads to more false correlations, then mass surveillance may lead to more false accusations of terrorism.

Professor Jonathan Turley – one of the nation’s top constitutional and military law expertsnoted after the Boston bombing:

For civil libertarians, all terrorist attacks come in two equally predictable parts.


First, there is the terrorist attack itself — a sad reality of our modern life. Second, comes the inevitable explosion of politicians calling for new security measures and surveillance. We brace ourselves for this secondary blow, which generally comes before we even fully know what occurred in an attack or how it was allowed to occur.


Politicians need to be seen as actively protecting public safety and the easiest way is to add surveillance, reduce privacy and expand the security state. What they are not willing to discuss is the impossibility of detecting and deterring all attacks. The suggestion is that more security measures translate to more public safety. The fact is that even the most repressive nations with the most abusive security services, places such as China and Iran, have not been able to stop terrorist acts.


While police were still combing through the wreckage from the Boston Marathon, politicians ran to cameras to pledge more security measures and surveillance. Indeed, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel demanded more cameras in response to the Boston attack. Chicago already is one of the most surveilled cities in the United States. Emanuel’s solution: add some more. It is a perfectly Pavlovian response of politicians eager to appear as champions of public safety.


We need to resist the calls for a greater security state and put this attack into perspective. These two brothers built homemade bombs with over-the-counter pressure cookers. They placed the devices in one of the most surveilled areas of Boston with an abundance of police and cameras [Proof here]. There is only so much that a free nation can do to avoid such an attack. Two men walked in a crowd and put two bags down on the ground shortly before detonation.


No one is seriously questioning the value of having increased surveillance and police at major events. That was already the case with the Boston Marathon. However, privacy is dying in the United States by a thousand papercuts from countless new laws and surveillance systems. Before we plunge ahead in creating a fishbowl society of surveillance, we might want to ask whether such new measures or devices will actually make us safer or just make us appear safer.

Not only did mass surveillance fail to stop the Boston bombing, it also failed to stop 9/11:

Widespread spying on Americans began before 9/11 (confirmed here and here. And see this  [and this.])


And U.S. and allied intelligence heard the 9/11 hijackers plans from their own mouths:

  • An FBI informant hosted and rented a room to two hijackers in 2000. Specifically, investigators for the Congressional Joint Inquiry discovered that an FBI informant had hosted and even rented a room to two hijackers in 2000 and that, when the Inquiry sought to interview the informant, the FBI refused outright, and then hid him in an unknown location, and that a high-level FBI official stated these blocking maneuvers were undertaken under orders from the White House. As the New York Times notes:

    Senator Bob Graham, the Florida Democrat who is a former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, accused the White House on Tuesday of covering up evidence ….The accusation stems from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s refusal to allow investigators for a Congressional inquiry and the independent Sept. 11 commission to interview an informant, Abdussattar Shaikh, who had been the landlord in San Diego of two Sept. 11 hijackers.

  • The National Security Agency and the FBI were each independently listening in on the phone calls between the supposed mastermind of the attacks and the lead hijacker. Indeed, the FBI built its own antenna in Madagascar specifically to listen in on the mastermind’s phone calls
  • According to various sources, on the day before 9/11, the mastermind told the lead hijacker “tomorrow is zero hour” and gave final approval for the attacks. The NSA intercepted the message that day and the FBI was likely also monitoring the mastermind’s phone calls
  • According to the Sunday Herald, two days before 9/11, Bin Laden called his stepmother and told her “In two days, you’re going to hear big news and you’re not going to hear from me for a while.” U.S. officials later told CNN that “in recent years they’ve been able to monitor some of bin Laden’s telephone communications with his [step]mother. Bin Laden at the time was using a satellite telephone, and the signals were intercepted and sometimes recorded.” Indeed, before 9/11, to impress important visitors, NSA analysts would occasionally play audio tapes of bin Laden talking to his stepmother.
  • And according to CBS News, at 9:53 a.m on 9/11, just 15 minutes after the hijacked plane had hit the Pentagon, “the National Security Agency, which monitors communications worldwide, intercepted a phone call from one of Osama bin Laden’s operatives in Afghanistan to a phone number in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia”, and secretary of Defense Rumsfeld learned about the intercepted phone call in real-time (if the NSA monitored and transcribed phone calls in real-time on 9/11, that implies that it did so in the months leading up to 9/11 as well)

But even with all of that spying, the government didn’t stop the hijackers … even though 9/11 was entirely foreseeable.

If you have a hard time believing that the government would push a program on the basis of national security which impinges on our freedoms and yet is ineffective in keeping us safe, please review the following statements by top national security experts saying that the following government programs do nothing at all to make us safer:

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CutOut's picture

HEART, your posting frequency has dropped substantially since being asked to explain your egregious Boston Marathon disinfo posts. Is this a coincidence ?

We are still waiting for an explanation but you refuse to respond. Why ?

ZH readers are curious as to why HEART intentionally posts disinfo such as Boston bombing fake injuries / fake blood / crisis actors garbage which is 100% DISINFORMATION.

Boston bomb disinfo reposted again by heart #3616167

I have screen caps of your Boston bombing fake injuries / fake blood / crisis actors disinfo posts.


ZH is being targeted by FedGov spambots & human operatives saturating the comment sections with garbage and disinformation in addition to down voting certain posters.

They are not harmless trolls, they are professional operatives attempting to undermine and discredit ZH via multi nics & sock puppets.

Attacking this post by constant down voting speaks for itself: the shills have exposed themselves.
Case closed.

Lizardz2012's picture

GW you are a gentleman who almost always does write something worth reading - however - in your repeated serious references to the events of 9/11 (such as those we read again at the end of this new article), as far as I know, you also almost always seem to suggest that you actually do believe the quasi narrative influnced by the good old so called "official story", and by the way which given the nature and quality of the rest of your serious writing usually known for providing good information and analysis therfore now is for my thinking quite unfortunate ... you site articles and other sources which in their own content re-affirm that "official" narrative, such as for example Le Monde, or the journalist Christopher Ketchum ... THUS, I must pose the question being as you've brought it up ... given that it has never proven that there was NOT some type of deep "inside" high level US government and military colusion - possibly along with certain other foreign governments (who may or may not have had agents filming the collapse of the towers) all which may have both allowed and caused the events of 9/11, and given that the the Patriot Act was passed by the US government in extreme haste post 9/11 ... do you or do you not believe - that it might just be entirely "possible", that as part of a long term extended follow up to those events, and in the subsequent the long term evolution of all the now understood enhanced NSA capaibilites ... that some of this may in fact be part of or from the same design originating from the same sources of the highly influential powers in and close to the highest levels of US government and military, and of course the few choice defense contractors closely associated with them ? (Please read the article via the link below, for more on that idea) :




In other words, IF there might have been an ongoing effort to cover up the true nature of one of the greatest crimes in history - 9/11 -, what better a way to do so than to also initiate a decade long US taxpayer funded unprecendented super high tech global search capability which could also simultaneously actually determine all manner of global information available and known about 9/11 ? The possibility that the real individuals behind those 9/11 events and those NSA events are also very closely connected, and or are the very same indivuals or groups of associates from Wall Street to Washington in some cases, is "perhaps" something which our society needs to consider in it's efforts to truly understanding those things which are now coming to the light of day ...

And, as far as the distinctions continuously made on Zerohedge as IF there is any real difference between the GWB policies, under which so much of this originated, and now the BHO policies, under which so much of it is being further extended and increased ... that's quite such a good laugh in so many ways it's hard to even know really where to begin to describe it, as there is little or no line of distinction, it is the seemless evolution of the same Orwellian trajectory - rooted in the mid 20th. century - through "now" - into what is (so far) a very blury 21st. century future, where by the time we reach the 100th. anniversary of Orwell's epic visionary tale, we can be assured of arriving with full force replication (and more) of his darkest dreams, it's practically guaranteed.

TrulyStupid's picture

Part of the cognitive dissonance, the doublethink.... is the belief that there are two political philosophies... Democrat/Republican, Bushites/Obummers.

The real division is not between conservatives and revolutionaries but between authoritarians and libertarians. _George Orwell

The divide is between those who embrace the welfare/warfare state and the triumph of authoritarian security apparatus over civil and personal liberties. 

You can't have it both ways folks. If you embrace the warfare state, the welfare end comes along as part of the package (and vice versa)

If we apply this razor to the comments of many of the posters here... there are very few real libertarians AND lots of the deeply confused authoritarians (tea party types and others).

JohnKing's picture

Metadata is information extracted from a record or document in order to help in categorizing a particular record. In order to extract the information from a phone call for categorization, you need the entire call. I would not be buying into the "we only use metadata" nonsense, it's more of a semantic deflection.


An example of metadata can be seen by right clicking on this page and viewing source.

Angelo Misterioso's picture

the metadata i know if that shulman visited the WH 157x and Ingram 165x - but no one knows what they talked about....

shutupnsing's picture

I am supposed to be OK with PRISM beacuse all 3 branches of government authorized it...even though Holder is still Atty Gen'l, Obama is still President and Corzine is still free? NUTS! http://shutupnsing.wordpress.com/2013/06/13/nuts/

blindman's picture

metadata is evidence of a precrime?
something must be done, for liberty's

f16hoser's picture

Metadata can suck my Johnson! Pass that one along....

The Heart's picture

"It is a perfectly Pavlovian response of politicians eager to appear as champions of public safety."

And it is perfectly clear the criminality of profiteering is a major reason for these blabber mouth champs of corruption to be appearing at all.

cherry picker's picture

My son worked for an Applebee's once for years.  He quit about six months ago.

I wrote an e-mail to my other son a wek ago and mentioned Applebee in it.  Never ever used the word in an e-mail before or since.  I've been getting Applebee spam ever since I typed it in the e-mail.

And they say no one is looking at the content of e-mails?

My example has to make one doubt that.

cocoablini's picture

This is the Rothschilds business model. Create a threat and fund both sides- except the idiotic Americans fund the Taliban without any intervention by funding concerns. This is how stupid the US has been throughout the whole collapse of the economic model (war as diversion)
Bureaucrats are so dumb they do not see the irony... And who makes money if this continues on?

MikeMcGspot's picture

With all the Snowden brew ha ha around the NSA and our Homeland Security Heros protecting us from ourselves blowing up now, I'm wondering why this is all a buzz?
Then I realize most people spend a solid 30 hrs. per week watching TV and don't have a clue. Understanding this period of awakening is akin to someone being startled in their sleep because they let a big fart loose under the blankets. I know they will just go back to sleep soon, wrap the blankets tighter. I'm happy with this, for then the idiots wont bother me with there questions about TV shows and such I don't have a clue about. I can go about my business in peace.

dunce's picture

Holder and obama are using voting rights laws to compile party registration data of the entire nation because it is all on computers in each county office complex and combining it with IRS data bases complete with names, SS numbers plus DMV records, health insurance data that includes your complete medical records,  and income and the census data and then putting it on servers owned and operated by democrat operatives so that the democrat party can use the data in political campaigns. Just as anything that has been put on the internet can be recovered so can all this data even if they somehow are vote out despite massive vote fraud. They will have complete files on every body from birth to death that includes your academic records and employment history and every place that you have ever lived. All this needs is a data sort program very much like Googles search engine. Look who has been visiting the White house and giving big checks along with under the table free services that are not reported to any agency.

Common_Cents22's picture

Americans just wanted a president that listened to the people, but got obama who listens to every AMerican, literally.

Lady Heather...UNCLE's picture

@espirit...awesome link. Wow...just wow. I remember all those matrix multiplications from high school days. Always wondered what relevance or application it had...now I know.

RaceToTheBottom's picture

Never let a good crisis go wasted....

2discern's picture

The obvious conclusion then, the NSA, CIA, DoJ, DHS, FBI, CONgress all know barry soetero is a fraud, forger, ID thief occupying the Oval office.  To what purpose? It unfolds everyday. The demise of our Republic. From the financial sector to the poorest taxpayer (or not) the USA is going down by design. This much cooperation amongst leadership (in addition to massive corruption at every level of gov) spells disaster for freedom.

Paveway IV's picture

Belated thanks for all the great links, Lumberjack. 

One can almost make the case that nobody from the NSA is technically spying on anyone. The actual NSA staff of 100 does nothing but dole out government contracts to their ex-intelligence pals and then trades places with them. The spy part was outsourced to 12,000 bored 20- or 30-something-year-olds.

You saved the best for last, though: Spy Blimp! I don't even want to know how much of my taxes go to SAIC to pay for them. Yes, they have several 'models' now. The 30K was just a trainer blimp for vaporizing tax dollars. 

Behold the majesty of the breathtaking 80K: http://www.lindstrandusa.com/index.php/videos/mediaitem/49-saic

Lumberjack's picture

More here...




"We're not a private detective," Black said. "We provide intelligence to our clients. It's not about taking pictures. It's business intelligence. We collect all information that's publicly available. This is a completely legal enterprise. We break no laws. We don't go anywhere near breaking laws. We don't have to." 

A handful of analysts in their 20s and 30s sit hunched over Macintosh computers, scanning Web sites, databases, newspapers and chat rooms. The lights are dimmed. Three large-screen TVs play in the background, one tuned to al-Jazeera. 

Devost runs day-to-day operations, overseeing 65 full-time employees. At the Global Fusion Center, young analysts monitor activities in more than 60 countries. They include a 25-year-old Fulbright scholar fluent in Arabic and another person with a master's degree in international affairs, focused on the Middle East, who tracks the oil industry and security in Saudi Arabia.

tony bonn's picture

is anyone left who is still stupid enough to believe that all of this spying is for "your protection?" yes, the world fucktardery is growing daily....

the information isn't being collected to prevent anything....it is being collected to blackmail, bribe, and murder.....i am sure j edgar hoover - pervert - was collecting dossiers on people for "our protection." no, the boston marathon bomber wasn't stopped because he was part of a cia operation.. .problem is, he didn't know it....

1984 was not fiction - it was prophecy.

MikeMcGspot's picture

 "If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever"

As much as all this shit going down sickens me, we are not at this stage yet.

Imagine trying to stomp on this human face and getting capped in the process.

FU bitchez!

optimator's picture

Look how the F.B.I. caught Petraeus's cheating on his wife?  No phone call intercepts.  They went into both of their computers via back door, and read their "Mail waiting to be sent".   that's how the head of the C.I.A. got caught by the F.B.I..  The two lovebirds would simply log into each others accounts and read the "mail waiting to be sent". 

Kiwi Pete's picture

I'm sure the irony of it isn't lost on Petraeus. I wonder how many back doors he or his minions have peeked in.

MikeMcGspot's picture

They pay attention to the most important things don't they?

Maos Dog's picture

About this:

metadata rolls back everything our freedom of association

Are you SERIOUSLY not aware that we totally lost our freedom of association in the 60's???

MikeMcGspot's picture

Most large organizations, be it Gov or Fortune, Non Profit: focus their Meta Data energies on the future, where stuff is going to be, not knowing how their shit really works.

The meta data of the "now" is so undervalued.

Meanwhile back at the ranch.

Now is where it is all going down.

Few have a clue.

gwar5's picture

GW, while you were bitching and distracting everybody about Bush/Cheney over the last 5 years making everybody's eyes bleed, the current neo-Stalinist regime was spreading in the WH like the creature on ALIEN.


George, is it true that you are really just a NWO tool sent here to distract us from all of the Obama's damage and crimes by keeping up fear of the Bush Boogeymen?

How about the NSA's crimes against humanity for waterboarding all of our private communications for individual targeting and disappearing?

How about NSA targeting veteran's internet anti-Obama comments and sending out the FBI to take their guns away. Just a start from your boy Obama and what the NSA is really for.....


tango's picture

GW gets off focus a lot. Rhapsodizing over Arab states as if they were founts of liberty, constantly bashing Israel, carrying on about the end of the world over habitat loss, radiation or sun flares, Genetic food BS (bad science) and then there's Bush.  We've had YEARS to review, dissect, bash, investigate, etc that era and it's been done by both GW and the MSM in incredible detail.

We KNOW Iraq was not clearcut, the Patriot Act was wrong, nation building is bad (as Bush stated when he ran), deficits were high.   But six years later, we're STILL nation building, STILL fighting, have made Bush's deficits look innocent and "interpreting" the PAtriot Act in ways Bush wouldn't have dared.  So..."Blame it on Bush".  The automatic inclusions of Bush with any Obama scandal serves only one purpose - to lessen the degree of culpability for Obama.  

greggh99's picture

"“Metadata” Can Tell the Government More About You Than the Content of Your Phonecalls"

True. If you're talking about calls like, "hi, goodbye."

putbuyer's picture

Mark Levin just sited this article live on his show

One World Mafia's picture

It's not more intrusive but you can say it's close to or as bad as.

blindman's picture

and the funniest are the politicians and
retards on the network news who call mr.
snowden's actions treasonous when his "revelations"
are the very thing that might save these imbeciles
from their own cloying and repetitive ignorance and
paid off stupidity. apparently .....
Tom Waits Underground.mp4
and I thought this was about insects and worms?
silly me.

blindman's picture

the desk mr. snowden left, where he had access and clearance,
was a defense contractor desk, no? and owned by the
Carlyle group. fucking think about that.
fucking think about that,
there is the story. who will attack him for his digressions?
the government, get it? fucking think about that.
there is a pimp, a john and a whore; there is a fornication.
where is the crime? few will find it, the pimps are that
smooth, (ubiquitous and normalized).
it is the system, the debt "money", that u love! and them that
never ask the right questions, repeatedly. full steam, doom ahead
mates. it is not accidental but a boon to the owners. a plot, a plan
to sheer and slaughter the sheep and gorge on the meat.
ooh, nature ! very sub-human but common, normalized by the
sub intelligent marketing strategists on Madison ave.
It's Money That I Love.wmv
clowns on the t.v. raisin' money. what a sad joke and waste
of potential intelligent life, leeches bleeding ripe bloody fruit
to sum it up. the defense contractors own and have full access
to the information, all of it, and that is and has always been
the plan. turn people into meat and energy cells, garments and
you may not be aware of what and who you are up against.
the psychopaths next door?
what did ward cleaver do for a living anyway? was it general dynamics?
boozy allen?
anyway, nevermind ...

RazvanM's picture

I would say Fuck you Obama, but I'm affraid to say it.

Honey Badger's picture

Fuck you Obama! 

You're welcome.

BeetleBailey's picture

I second that......and add a hearty "KISS-OFF!!!" to the entire OCuntus administration, you pack of filty liars.

espirit's picture

If you can read the analysis at the following link and understand it's content with clarity, you have just passed your first NSA kindergarden test.


0b1knob's picture

I wonder sometimes how closely the government monitors sites like Zero Hedge.   Cross indexing postings for phrases like "keep stacking" or "boating accident" could be very relevant for any sort of gold confiscation.  Just sayin'


Of course that assumes that the entire Zero Hedge site is not some sort of trojan horse disinformation entrapment false flag operation set up by an inside trading criminal in the first place.


Keep downloading those tracking cookies kiddies!

RaceToTheBottom's picture

Plus tracking the up and down arrows to indicate people of like thinking.......

JuicedGamma's picture

Post an unlikely and meaningless phrase like "obtuse frenzy" and then search for it on google.... And then come back in a few minutes to see how long it takes it to be indexed.

Surprised?  Don't be, you are paranoid.


dontgoforit's picture

And, just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you!

monad's picture

Don't worry, everything is recorded. We'll get to you.

Enjoy the astroturf. You paid for it. Hehehe

0b1knob's picture

Aggregate Knowledge
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Diogenes's picture

A politician's concerns with information gathering:

- Protecting the pubic from spying

- Protecting himself, his party, and his government from the public

- Protecting the public from terrorists

Arrange the above in order of importance.


DaveyJones's picture

"metadata" is the fancy term for "metaexceptions"...to the Contstitution