In 2013, the National Security Agency (NSA) was exposed for collecting phone metadata for years, using it to track terrorism suspects and others. Fast forward six years and once again the NSA is found to be collecting unauthorized call and text message data last fall. Apple Insider brought this news to us in their article, “NSA admits to second incident of unauthorized metadata collection.”

The violation was caught by the American Civil Liberties Union through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, according to the Wall Street Journal. Internal NSA memos on the matter are said to have been heavily redacted before publishing.

Metadata consists of details like dates, times, phone numbers, and device identifiers. It does not include voice or written recordings. While nominally less invasive than message content, in reality metadata can be used to piece together many details about a person’s life.

Interestingly, the Freedom Act is due to expire at the end of 2019. We will have to wait and see what happens with that.

Melody K. Smith

Sponsored by Data Harmony, a unit of Access Innovations, the world leader in indexing and making content findable.