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Researchers at Stanford University have released findings from a study on the privacy implications of metadata. Using an app designed to mimic National Security Agency metadata collection capabilities, 546 volunteers allowed the researchers to access their calling and texting data, Ars Technica reports. Stanford’s Johnathan Mayer said, “We found that phone metadata is unambiguously sensitive, even in a small population and over a short time window. We were able to infer medical conditions, firearm ownership and more, using solely metadata.” The U.S. government has argued that metadata does not invade users’ privacy. Stanford Center for Internet and Society Civil Liberties Director Jennifer Grannick said the study “adds important empirical evidence to support what is now a growing consensus,” adding, “Metadata surveillance endangers privacy.”
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