The Metadata Spy – bringing down the CIA
I just read a fascinating article on ‘How metadata brought down CIA boss David Petraeus’. Think about it, Internet sites store vast amounts of information about us. Although protected, meaning someone needs a search warrant to access our personal information on the Internet (i.e. Facebook, Amazon, Yahoo, Google), metadata exists and leaves it’s tell-tale signs all over the place.
According the article, General Petraeus was betrayed by metadata. According to the author of the article Hal Hodson, “While the FBI was monitoring an email account that was reportedly the source of some harassing emails, it found a series of IP addresses recorded when a user logged in from hotel WiFi networks. By cross-referencing those logins with hotel guest lists, the agency ascertained that Broadwell (the other partner in the romantic fling) was the only one who could have logged in.
A second account, in which Broadwell and Petraeus corresponded about their affair by saving messages in the “drafts” folder, was also linked to Broadwell in this way. Ian Goldberg, a computer scientist at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, says the important thing to learn from the Petraeus affair is that metadata is at least as, if not more, important than the content of the emails themselves.”
Great tabloid fare, and the juicy tidbits keep coming out, which overall is rather sad and sordid. Besides the potential impact to the US it highlights the importance of metadata and how it is and can be used unknowingly to unsuspecting individuals.