Surveillance selfie with cell phone metadata

Aug 17, 2015

How much can you find out from “just the metadata” about your cell phone? ABC News in Australia aims to find out.

Australia’s new data retention laws mean phone and internet companies have to save this information for two years: that’s every time you call someone, where you call them from, which cell tower your phone pings every time it connects to the internet, and more.

On a mission to find out what that data might reveal, ABC reporter Will Ockenden took a ‘surveillance selfie’: he got access to his own metadata, and now for the first time you can see what an individual Australian’s metadata actually looks like.

They’ve started with a few summary interactives that show where Ockenden goes during the week through cell tower connections and who he communicates with through call logs. They’ll be going deeper in the coming weeks. Also, Ockenden’s data is available to download so that you can look for information too.

The Paul Revere example came to mind. Just metadata?

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