The notion of online privacy has been greatly diminished in recent years, and just this week two new studies confirm what to many minds is already a dismal picture.
First, a study reported on Monday by Stanford University found that smartphone metadata -- information about calls and text messages, such as time and length -- can reveal a surprising amount of personal detail.
To investigate their topic, the researchers built an Android app and used it to retrieve the metadata about previous calls and text messages -- the numbers, times, and lengths of communications -- from more than 800 volunteers’ smartphone logs. In total, participants provided records of more than 250,000 calls and 1.2 million texts.The researchers then used a combination of automated and manual processes to understand just what's being revealed. What they found was that it's possible to infer a lot more than you might think.