Metadata surveillance investigation

November 24, 2015

Topic

Statistics  /  ,

Metadata can tell you a lot, and most of us agree that it’s not “just metadata” at this point. The Share Lab shows what one can find, just using everyday tools and relatively straightforward analysis.

Although our investigation primarily discovered relations, patterns and anomalies of someone’s work life, it still gave us an insight into that person’s habits that border with private life. In the end, metadata scans someone’s behaviors on a much deeper level than traditional surveillance practice related to content could ever do.

The graphic above shows how people in the sample dataset emailed with others over. There’s no email content, but the headers provide enough information to sniff out connections.

See also: the search for Paul Revere with network analysis.