Metadata – A Privacy Threat


Metadata – A Privacy Threat- It is a matter of fact that the collection of metadata seriously violates privacy. But in the opinion of the law enforcement agencies; it is a legal practice and their right to breach anyone’s privacy if they need it during an investigation. Perhaps, it is useful in a way it can help them to reach to the criminals. However, this can not deny it is another source of sniffing one’s privacy. Which is a matter of concern for all of us. Don’t you mind the government is watching over your physical movement. Your online activity or the call you are making?

Yes, the government might surveil all this data by generating a collection of metadata of your personal data and information. According to data retention law in various countries, the government has now all rights to breach your privacy and watch over your online habits. Many of the users across the world are against this law. While some of them have looked for different ways. That can prevent a collection of metadata and internet surveillance.

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What is Metadata?

Furthermore, The term metadata means the data which gives us the information about the other data. Additionally, Metadata includes everything except the content of the data. Metadata is of three types. Those types are descriptive, structural and administrative metadata. Descriptive metadata gives information about the container of the data like title, abstract or keywords. While structural metadata describes the types, versions and other characteristics of the data. Whereas administrative metadata gives the information. Like when the document or data is made, which type of file it is and who can access it. Metadata is used by the government to get desirable information of phone calls. And data sharing, telephone calls and to trace cell phone location.

Sources of Metadata

Moreover, Metadata can generate the information about emails. It can retrieve the information of the sender and the recipient’s name, email, and IP addresses. It might get the time and date when an email is sent. Unique identifiers of emails, mail clients sign in history with IP address, header format, and subject of the email. The metadata also determines the phone number of a person. Who is calling, serial numbers of both the phones connected through a call. Moreover, the time and duration of the calls, the location of both phone and telephone calling card numbers.

Metadata associated with Facebook can approach more of your details. Like your username, personal details in your profile. Like the birthday, hometown, education and workplace information, unique identifier, user’s subscription details and location. For metadata for browsers, it can snoop all online activities including the web pages you visit online. It can also collect a user’s login details. Like IP address, hardware details of your computer, operating system, version of your browser, cookies and cached data from web pages.

How to Prevent metadata collection?

Additionally, Knowing the government has the metadata of your calls. Data sharing or even chats and messages is annoying. Furthermore, What sites you are visiting, the ads you see or the links you click. Hence, all this define your browsing habits as an online entity you will never want to be the spy on. The reasons for avoiding internet surveillance can be so many. You are an adherent of digital privacy. It could be the fear of facing discrimination or harassment. Due to your online activities or because it violates human rights. These reasons are justified enough to wish for preventing metadata collection or mass surveillance. Luckily, there are ways by which you can prevent metadata collection. And those ways are not illegal.

Furthermore, Using the onion router can help prevent you from government mass surveillance. The onion router which is known as TOR. IT sends your website request through large multiple layered networks of computers across the world. It also encrypts your internet traffic. Hence, making any metadata it generates unreadable from prying government eyes. There is one more way to avoid being snooped to block ads in your browser. Usually, browsing can be tracked through the cookies on your device. These files can come from various sources. However, the most commonly it comes from ads. That appears when you visit any web page. Another way to prevent metadata collection is to use a VPN.

Using a VPN to Prevent Metadata collection

Using an encrypted VPN is considered being a five-fingers exercise to avoid metadata collection. A virtual private network or VPN conceals your online activities and improves your online privacy. When you use an unsecured browser. The information you input to that browser can be accessed by your ISP. That is ultimately given to the government as per the data retention law. That is to be strictly followed by the telecom companies and the internet service providers. A VPN inserts an intermediary server between you and the website you visit. That makes it next to impossible to generate a metadata of your online data. Because in this way your ISP can only see the connection between a VPN server and the website. A VPN server is fully encrypted that conceals your identity by masking your IP address.

Conclusion- Metadata – A Privacy Threat

Being pervasively watched by the government, companies, and internet service provider when you are using your computer can cause you to feel the violation of your online privacy that can be frustrating but it is not a matter that is beyond your control. It is legal to seek privacy, maintain your anonymity and prevent the metadata collection of your online personal and financial data.  It is the high time to take your online privacy in your hand by following all the strategies mentioned above and get rid of snooping and internet surveillance and feel like a free bird. The more we struggle against the internet surveillance, the more likely we are to retain our online privacy and freedom.

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Sandy Roberts is technology admirer and a computer specialist who is always curious for new technological advancements in the IT industry. With her extensive experience and apprehension of IT industry and technology, she writes after concrete research and analysis with the intention to aid the reader the content full of factual information. Being so ambitious to facilitate the readers, she intermittently tries her hand on the tech-gadgets and services popping frequently in the industry to reduce any ambiguity in her mind related to the project on she works, that a huge sign of dedication to her work.


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