Metadata in the news? Who would have thought that metadata would be explained to the public through mainstream media outlets? Nearly everyone is now familiar with the National Security Agency’s data (and metadata) collection efforts, as revealed by Edward Snowden and others. Consequently, the average person has become aware of “metadata”, even if they don’t fully understand. As information professionals, this provides us with a unique opportunity to educate our business management and colleagues.
I won’t take a position about what is right and what is wrong with the NSA program; however, I will highlight four characteristics of metadata capture implicit in the NSA conversation. Each of these points is important to communicate to your company leaders:
1. Metadata is generated every moment of every day by many activities and devices
2. Patterns derived from metadata can provide significant insight and high-value functionality to users of consumer and corporate applications
3. Metadata collection requires sensitivity to privacy concerns
4. Conclusions from metadata can be error-prone and subject to misuse
Source: Earley & Associates