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    Posted on 22 Feb 2015

    7 Real Life Ways Metadata Can Be Used Against You

    The government wants two years of your metadata stored, just in case.

    The Australian Government has proposed a $400 million plan to force telecommunications companies to keep your metadata stored for two years.

    Metadata is the time, address and duration of a users phone and internet history.

    The government continues to cite national security reasons for the new policy. But it's not just terror suspects who are at risk.

    1. If you torrent Game of Thrones.

    HBO / Via

    The Australian Federal Police Commissioner Andrew Colvin confirmed metadata analysis could "absolutely" lead to people being prosecuted for illegally downloading TV shows and movies.

    2. If you do something you want kept private.

    Metadata can tell authorities A LOT about what people do. Telecommunications companies will be forced to keep all your personal information, including who you called and what sites you visited. All the information can be accessed by security groups and government agencies.

    3. If you're in a dispute with a council.

    Flickr: urbanwoodswalker

    One of the random groups who can ask for your metadata are local councils. One Sydney council who wanted it, asked the Attorney-General's Department and used it to catch illegal dumpers.

    4. If you are a pet owner.

    Flickr: mendrakis

    And it's not just police forces and the government that can use metadata. Another group that used it to find people is the RSPCA. Yep. That RSPCA.

    Groups ranging from the RSPCA to Racing Queensland to the state taxi authorities can all apply to telecommunications companies to access metadata.

    5. If you receive welfare payments.

    According to the Attorney-General's most recent annual report, Centrelink accessed metadata of people more than 1,000 times.

    6. If you are a journalist.

    The Attorney-General will have the power to grant metadata requests into journalists. It effectively will give authorities the power to search and locate sources and potential leakers.

    7. If you have a jealous ex.

    Like that time an AFP officer breached a police database to keep track of where his ex-girlfriend was going. Metadata is a stalker's dream, whether its an officer or hacker going after the stored information.

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