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Wednesday, June 12, 2013


I never met a data I didn't like...

One of the "excuses" for the NSA phone-record tracking is that "it's not data, it's only metadata." But this claim is completely wrong. Metadata is data about data. "Americans make an average of 7.8 phone calls per day" is metadata. "Someone in Palo Alto, CA using John Smith's phone called someone in New York City holding Al Kaida's phone at 7:18 this morning and talked for 16 minutes" is a piece of information, otherwise known as data, not "metadata." The actual words the two spoke are additional data, and presumably generally more informative data, but the fact that they spoke, where they were located, and for how long they spoke, is also data.

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