Metaphone App Seeks to Decode NSA Surveillance Data with Your Help

Metaphone is an app and a research project that is seeking to decode the NSA surveillance data by using volunteers’ metadata logs similar to the NSA data logs. It takes about one minute of your time.  

You are invited to participate in a research study about the privacy properties of telephone call and text message logs. The purpose of this study is to understand how much information can be inferred from such logs. In the course of the study, your mobile phone will transmit device logs and social network information to researchers at Stanford University. Device data will include records about your recent calls and text messages. Social network data will include your profile, connections, and recent activity. The data will be stored and analyzed at Stanford, then deleted at the end of the study. Research staff will take reasonable precautions to secure the data in transit, storage, analysis, and destruction.

Unfortunately, the app is currently only on Android and requires a Facebook account for participation.

The researchers hypothesize that metadata such as calling and texting logs from individual phones can actually pinpoint and identify specific users. On November 27 (two weeks after launching the app), the Metaphone project revealed that using only the metadata from your phone, they can predict your significant other in 6 out of 10 guesses. While the NSA can deny that the collection of metadata is not surveillance, this proves that this is not the case.

Publish date: December 2, 2013 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT