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United States Privacy

Stanford Researchers Spot Medical Conditions, Guns, and More In Phone Metadata 193

An anonymous reader writes "Since the NSA's phone metadata program broke last summer, politicians have trivialized the privacy implications. It's 'just metadata,' Dianne Feinstein and others have repeatedly emphasized. That view is no longer tenable: Stanford researchers crowdsourced phone metadata from real users, and easily identified calls to 'Alcoholics Anonymous, gun stores, NARAL Pro-Choice, labor unions, divorce lawyers, sexually transmitted disease clinics, a Canadian import pharmacy, strip clubs, and much more.' Looking at patterns in call metadata, they correctly diagnosed a cardiac condition and outed an assault rifle owner. 'Reasonable minds can disagree about the policy and legal constraints,' the authors conclude. 'The science, however, is clear: phone metadata is highly sensitive.'"
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Stanford Researchers Spot Medical Conditions, Guns, and More In Phone Metadata

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  • Re:Outed? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Thursday March 13, 2014 @09:43AM (#46472635) Homepage Journal

    I'm pretty liberal and fairly progressive, but I'm not 100% anti-gun, so your statement is certainly not broadly generalizable outside of conversations in the media, in my experience. I voted against a gun law just a few months ago, though it passed anyway. I wanted to vote for it, because the requirement that weapons be stored securely (either in a safe or with a trigger lock) was good, and the requirement for timely reporting of stolen firearms was good, but I couldn't vote for it because it also contained a ban on large magazines, which violates the fourth amendment by depriving people of property without due process—in other words, eminent domain all over again.

    We do, IMO, need to mandate some changes, like gun safety classes for anyone purchasing a firearm for the first time, electronic fingerprint safeties on all new firearms, etc. And I wouldn't personally want to have a firearm in my house because I think the safety risk exceeds the safety benefit, at least in my neighborhood, but that doesn't mean I think that my opinion should be forced on everyone else. That's part of being a true liberal. Anyone who believes otherwise is a progressive authoritarian, not a progressive liberal.

  • Re:Outed? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sycodon ( 149926 ) on Thursday March 13, 2014 @02:14PM (#46475303)

    The Brady Zombies just won't die.

    Gun violence and deaths have been trending down for decades while gun ownership has been going up.

  • Re:Outed? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bhv ( 178640 ) on Thursday March 13, 2014 @04:11PM (#46476547)

    Replace GUN with CAR in the above rant and it still works. (If you compare annual automobile deaths vs gun deaths, CAR is far more concerning).

Marvelous! The super-user's going to boot me! What a finely tuned response to the situation!