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What your encrypted data says about you


You’ve probably heard of metadata, which is a fancy name for “data about data.”

For example, a list of the phone calls you’ve made lately, and how long they lasted, but not what you said during the call.

Or a list of the filenames on your hard disk, along with how big they are and when you last edited them, but not what’s inside any of the files.

As you can imagine, metadata is gold dust to law enforcement during a criminal investigation: it can help with chronology; it can establish connections amongst a group of suspects; it can confirm or break alibis; and much more.

But metadata doesn’t feel like quite as much of a privacy invasion as full-blooded surveillance, so many countries tolerate collecting and using it on much more liberal terms than collecting the data itself, such as the actual contents of your files, or transcripts of your phone calls.

Of course, metadata is just as golden to social engineers – crooks who try to trick you into giving away information you’d...(continued)

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