CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Thursday, August 29, 2013

"Computer Science Professor Explains How Phone Call Metadata Can Be More Revealing Than Content"

From the Houston Chronicle:

On Monday Edward W. Felten, a professor of computer science and Director of Princeton's Center for Information Technology Policy (CITP), argued that the NSA is building a database that could reveal some of the most intimate secrets of American citizens.

“Calling patterns can reveal when we are awake and asleep; our religion, if a person regularly makes no calls on the Sabbath or makes a large number of calls on Christmas Day; our work habits and our social aptitude; the number of friends we have, and even our civil and political affiliations,” Mr. Felten wrote in a legal brief filed in support of the ACLU's case.

Scott Shane of The New York Times reports that Felton added that sophisticated data analysis, which involves using software that can instantly trace chains of social connections to analyze data, can make metadata even more revealing than the contents of calls.

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