Tripwire’s Ken Westin (@KWestin) makes an important distinction based on the information available regarding the revelation that the National Security Agency (NSA) has been collecting data on domestic U.S. mobile phone communications.
The agency is known to be collecting metadata thus far, which is quite different than monitoring the actual contents of mobile communications as many outraged by the disclosure believe.
“A good way to to think about it is like postal mail. Metadata is like the envelope or a package – you can see where it is being delivered, who it’s from, the date like with the post-stamp, you can also see the size, the weight – so general information about that message, but you can’t access the contents,” Westin told KGW News in Portland Oregon.
While nonetheless invasive and a slap in the face to those who value their privacy and believe law enforcement and intelligence agencies should be closely supervised by the courts, the notion that the disclosure means for certain that the government has been monitoring actual conversations is not supported by the available evidence.
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