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

samzenpus posted about 9 months ago | from the you-are-your-data dept.

United States 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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I DONT LIKE CHANGE (-1, Offtopic)

Arith (708986) | about 9 months ago | (#46471983)

why.. why is it red?!

Re:I DONT LIKE CHANGE (-1, Offtopic)

Arith (708986) | about 9 months ago | (#46471989)

and now it's not.. it's ok everyone. Just going insane.
I'll show myself out.

Re:I DONT LIKE CHANGE (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46472087)

I thought that was an obama joke.

Re:I DONT LIKE CHANGE (1)

barlevg (2111272) | about 9 months ago | (#46472103)

I read somewhere that new articles are red until they get comments, but this doesn't seem 100% consistent in my experience.

Re:I DONT LIKE CHANGE (1)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 9 months ago | (#46472143)

Subscribers get to see an article in red before it posts. Sometimes regular users do too, right before it posts.

Time Warp in Action! (1)

udippel (562132) | about 9 months ago | (#46472553)

Subscribers get to see an article in red before it posts. Sometimes regular users do too, right before it posts.

In other words: Users tend to see an article before it is posted. Ahem.
It must be the logic of the third Millennium that escapes my ancient brain.

Reasonable minds? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46472011)

"Reasonable minds can disagree about the policy and legal constraints"

Not really. They're infringing upon the constitution and privacy rights. A reasonable mind would always view this as a bad thing.

Re:Reasonable minds? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46472023)

"Reasonable minds can disagree about the policy and legal constraints"

Not really. They're infringing upon the constitution and privacy rights. A reasonable mind would always view this as a bad thing.

What about the Muslims - reasonably they should be tracked and monitored because they want to kill or subdue us.

Re:Reasonable minds? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46472037)

I think he means gathering metadata from domestic calls. Personally I'm all for them spying on crazy religious fanatics in the middle east. It's their fucking mandate, after all.

Re:Reasonable minds? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46472157)

THE Muslims want to kill and subdue us? All of them?

With such broad generalized accusations, you are a much greater danger to freedom than the average Muslim is. Specifically you seem to be defending your freedom by pissing it away.

Re:Reasonable minds? (3, Insightful)

jythie (914043) | about 9 months ago | (#46472505)

Reasonably minds rarely make the claim that only people who agree with them are reasonable.

Outed? (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46472033)

"Outed" an assault rifle owner? I wasn't aware guns had been banned in the United States. Stop trying to act like perfectly legal actions are illegal to further your already-weak agenda.

Re:Outed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46472105)

"Outed" an assault rifle owner? I wasn't aware guns had been banned in the United States. Stop trying to act like perfectly legal actions are illegal to further your already-weak agenda.

So, being "outed" implies that you were doing something illegal? Is homosexuality illegal?

Re:Outed? (2, Funny)

sycodon (149926) | about 9 months ago | (#46472125)

I suspect the individual never even knew he was hiding his Assault Rifle Orientation.

Re:Outed? (1)

BreakBad (2955249) | about 9 months ago | (#46472129)

AC was outed as not knowing what outed means. Nobody was deported for owning an AR-15.

Re:Outed? (1)

fche (36607) | about 9 months ago | (#46472535)

... but some people are being threatened with jail for it.

Re:Outed? (1)

clay_shooter (1680300) | about 9 months ago | (#46472163)

"outed" does have a negative connotation as if someone was hiding something.

From the Urban Dictionary: To reveal some previously secret part of someone's life.

Re:Outed? (2)

clay_shooter (1680300) | about 9 months ago | (#46472175)

Ugh, I hit submit while playing with the line breaks. I meant to say.

"outed" does have a negative connotation as if someone was hiding something.

From the Urban Dictionary: To reveal some previously secret part of someone's life.

Of course the original article doesn't say anything like that. It is the original poster's bias that added that phrase

Re:Outed? (2)

jythie (914043) | about 9 months ago | (#46472519)

I am thinking to a while back when gun owners were outraged at the idea of the addresses of anyone with a registered fire arm being made public.

Even if you are not ashamed of what you are doing, one can still fear potential repercussions and thus 'outed' sounds about right.

Re:Outed? (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | about 9 months ago | (#46472697)

It's a lot safer if a random thief breaking and entering your home does't know for certain if you have a gun. For one, he won't be going specifically to steal your gun. And he won't necessarily pack any heat of his own if he doesn't expect that level of violence.

And of course there are plenty of people who would like to lynch gun owners as a matter of policy. A bit ironic, but that's the kind of hysteria the U.S. experiences every time someone goes on a rampage.

Re:Outed? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46472169)

As a gun-hating Democrat, I just want to take this opportunity once again to thank George W. Bush and his Republican Congress for building this incredible surveillance state. You've finally given us Democrats the full database of every gun owner in America (and a list of guns they own) that we always dreamed of. One day in the future, when a Democratic or Republican President finally puts that list to good work, we'll have you Republicans to thank. Kudos!

Re:Outed? (2)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 9 months ago | (#46472521)

As a gun ambivalent Democrat, I'd like to thank the current president for doing so much to stop these abuses.

Re:Outed? (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 9 months ago | (#46473171)

I'll bite. Which abuses are you talking about?

Re:Outed? (4, Insightful)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 9 months ago | (#46473295)

You don't hate guns. You hate the people who own guns. Hating guns is illogical as hating chairs or hats or the air you breathe. They are inanimate objects and if you "hate" them, then you're clearly unable to deal with reality.

That being said, you don't hate guns, you hate "we the people" having guns. As a liberal, forcing people to join your collective under threat of government guns is what you depend upon. Your support of Government owning guns, is very likely. You likely support army, police and other national security people owning and bearing guns, even to protect the President (Republican OR Democrat) and high ranking officials like Feinstein, Reid and so on.

I have YET to meet a "gun hating democrat" that wants to disarm EVERYONE (including the government). Therefore, you don't hate guns. You hate average people having guns. And that speaks higher volumes about your hypocrisy than anything else.

Re:Outed? (-1, Flamebait)

plover (150551) | about 9 months ago | (#46472115)

Right, because who needs to pass a law requiring a gun registry when we can just ask the NSA for a list on demand?

Oh, wait, maybe this is a BAD thing.

You gun nutjobs would probably be a lot more successful at making your case if you could string together at least 140 characters that make sense. Right now, people like you are actively keeping the phrase "gun nutjob" alive, and you're turning off people like me who actually support your position. I know it's asking a lot of someone with a room temperature IQ, but could you at least try to think before you click "post"?

Re:Outed? (2)

clay_shooter (1680300) | about 9 months ago | (#46472183)

How did this get mod'd up. Its less coherent and more of a rant than the parent.

Right, because who needs to pass a law requiring a gun registry when we can just ask the NSA for a list on demand?

Oh, wait, maybe this is a BAD thing.

You gun nutjobs would probably be a lot more successful at making your case if you could string together at least 140 characters that make sense. Right now, people like you are actively keeping the phrase "gun nutjob" alive, and you're turning off people like me who actually support your position. I know it's asking a lot of someone with a room temperature IQ, but could you at least try to think before you click "post"?

Re:Outed? (3, Informative)

Euler (31942) | about 9 months ago | (#46472333)

I agree, but I think 'gun nutjob' applies to both ends of the spectrum. A majority of Americans believe in the right to own _some_ guns. I assume you are pointing out the right-end of the spectrum. But among the left end, there is a double-speak that is equally counter-productive. Conservatives are aware of this, but most centrists don't realize it. i.e. News headlines and quotes from the left state things like "Common sense" gun laws. But conversations among liberals or progressives are decidedly 100% anti-gun. "Gather them all up and throw them away" This is part of the reason that seemingly reasonable people dig in their heels on any proposed gun laws.

Re:Outed? (0, Troll)

Jawnn (445279) | about 9 months ago | (#46472529)

But conversations among liberals or progressives are decidedly 100% anti-gun. "Gather them all up and throw them away"

Holy shit. Stereotype much, asshole?

Re:Outed? (1)

jythie (914043) | about 9 months ago | (#46472543)

That is why straw men are such a useful rhetorical device. It is so much easier to get the supporters of your party or platform to dig in their heels and be suspicious when they believe they are fighting something simple and extreme.

Re:Outed? (2, Interesting)

dgatwood (11270) | about 9 months ago | (#46472635)

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? (1)

Quila (201335) | about 9 months ago | (#46473449)

Even for what you want to mandate, there are concerns.

like gun safety classes for anyone purchasing a firearm for the first time

How do you propose to prevent this from becoming a poll tax? They must be free. How are you going to make sure localities don't schedule classes erratically in order to prevent people from taking them? What do you do for the woman who just got a restraining order against a violent man threatening to kill her? Sorry lady, class is in three weeks, good luck. Education is important, but in order for this to work without violating rights or killing people, it must not prevent lawful, timely ownership.

electronic fingerprint safeties on all new firearms

The first person who can't defend himself because of that 3%+ fingerprint false rejection rate, and gets killed, who gets to be blamed? If you are not willing to have a non-matched person grab the loaded smart gun, point it at your head, and pull the trigger, then you should not be willing to risk the lives of others on the bet that the system will read their prints perfectly in time of need.

I wouldn't even think about these until all police and military have been armed with such weapons for years and they've proven themselves in the real world. To make only the people do it is a good sign of an authoritarian state.

Anyone who believes otherwise is a progressive authoritarian, not a progressive liberal.

Both of your proposals are fairly authoritarian.

Re:Outed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46472155)

Guns are illegal for some people (the ones who can't pass the Brady Law background check). Now who's the one with the stupid agenda, huh?

Re:Outed? (1, Informative)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 9 months ago | (#46472351)

Good point. Instead of pussy footing around with this metadata crap, lets just have searches of everyone's homes. Sure most of them can legally own firearms, but who knows who is keeping a ton of C4, liters of weaponized anthrax, or a pair of box cutters in their basement. Search everyone - there is nothing to worry about if you've got nothing to hide.

Re:Outed? (0)

Capt.Albatross (1301561) | about 9 months ago | (#46472321)

"Outed" an assault rifle owner?

Never trust a /. summary. They confirmed the participant's ownership of a firearm through public sources.

Re:Outed? (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 9 months ago | (#46472539)

Which could easily be the same thing.

Re:Outed? (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 9 months ago | (#46472407)

"Outed" an assault rifle owner? I wasn't aware guns had been banned in the United States.

I would love to see the NRA get involved in this. They're well organized, have a lot of influence, and are hardly considered left-wing nut jobs.

P.S. I don't belong to the NRA, own no firearms, and have mixed feeling about the organization. However the NRA on one side, and people concerned about calls to abortion clinics and labor union organizers on the other would make a formidable coalition. Something for everybody to hate except the Stasi wannabees.

Re: Outed? (2)

heypete (60671) | about 9 months ago | (#46472537)

Actually, the NRA is involved [slashdot.org] and has joined with the EFF, ACLU, and other groups in opposing NSA snooping.

Re: Outed? (2)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 9 months ago | (#46472783)

Excellent!

On the downside, if a coalition of the NRA and the ACLU can't get anywhere, then we're well and truly fucked. I am curious about how many Americans were awake in history class. I was boiled in the Bill of Rights, and the reasoning and historical justification for it. If you're going to wave the flag, you really should know what it stands for.

Re:Outed? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 9 months ago | (#46472469)

They are banned in some areas of the country. But i agree, 'outed' shows a bias against gun owners by the people writing the story.

Re:Outed? (1)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about 9 months ago | (#46473381)

"Outed" an assault rifle owner? I wasn't aware guns had been banned in the United States. Stop trying to act like perfectly legal actions are illegal to further your already-weak agenda.

Actually owning an "assault rifle" without proper permission is illegal. Assault rifles are whatb the military uses and can be scheduled automatic, fully automated, or have the ability to switch between those and/or semiautomatic

Assault weapons on the other hand are a political term for a semiautomatic rifle, shotgun, or handgun that looks big and scary. The Intratec Tec-9 is a perfect example. It's a large 9mm handgun with a large shroud around the barrel and looks lke a military weapon. Buts it's a very poor weapon, even by handgun standards. Unless you are firing it at point blank, you're probably better off throwing it at your target.

"Metadata" is the important stuff (4, Insightful)

davecb (6526) | about 9 months ago | (#46472035)

Who you are, who you're talking to, where you are, where they are and how fast you're moving if you're changing cells.

Re:"Metadata" is the important stuff (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46472071)

It does not matter what it is describing; if it has information in it, it is "data." We should be calling it what it is. It is data about what people are doing. Calling it "metadata" only helps to obscure the issue.

Re:"Metadata" is the important stuff (4, Insightful)

blueg3 (192743) | about 9 months ago | (#46472195)

The holdover of calling it "metadata" is a little odd.

All metadata is, naturally, data. That's not the odd part; people should know that.

It's reasonable to call it "phone call metadata". That's what it is. That indicates that it is not the content of the calls, but it's other data about the calls. So in the context of phone calls, it's metadata, because it's not the phone call content itself. Once it's separated from that context, it's just "data".

Saying "it's just metadata" makes no sense at all, since the "meta-" part give you no information about the data's value.

Re:"Metadata" is the important stuff (1)

erikkemperman (252014) | about 9 months ago | (#46472899)

Saying "it's just metadata" makes no sense at all, since the "meta-" part give you no information about the data's value.

Agreed. Yet that is precisely what Feinstein (et al) are saying.

Re:"Metadata" is the important stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46472971)

Metadata is important. In modern public safety communication systems, P25 is widely used in the US. The Feds do not like that their radio IDs (the unique ID that identifies their radio) are sent in the clear for encrypted communications in these systems. They know what metadata is obviously.

Re:"Metadata" is the important stuff (4, Insightful)

Sockatume (732728) | about 9 months ago | (#46472259)

For "metadata" read "your entire itemised phone bill". I think the layperson will grasp the implications of giving those to the NSA.

Re:"Metadata" is the important stuff (1)

davecb (6526) | about 9 months ago | (#46472401)

Er, I forget know what's in my itemized phone bill, so it doesn't mean much. My accountant, on the other hand, would freak .

Re:"Metadata" is the important stuff (4, Insightful)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 9 months ago | (#46472461)

For "metadata" read "your entire itemised phone bill". I think the layperson will grasp the implications of giving those to the NSA.

I would sure like to believe you are correct, but I fear the layperson is much too busy (working to pay bills) to pay attention.

I do some random informal polling amongst the working class, my people, and even the most cerebrally capable lack either the will or the investment of time necessary to understand they're slowly boiling the water we're all in.

I am afraid those of us with inclination will have to speak a little louder to cover for our silent brothers and sisters.

Let The Light shine In (0, Flamebait)

Jim Sadler (3430529) | about 9 months ago | (#46472039)

Think of all the harm secrecy has done throughout history. Although I as well as almost everyone else sort of hate being spied upon there really is a vast upside to knowing what people are up to. My real concern is that some groups and classes have more privilege to spy than does the man on the street. That can get dangerous in a hurry. At the vey least we should have the same privileges as any corporation and maybe the citizen should have the same ability as government to spy back at government. I expect my military to have sufficient power to never have to be concerned about what knowledge an enemy gains. I feel that our military should be like Babe Ruth pointing at the fence showing where the home run would be hit before the pitch is thrown. Are our weapons so inadequate that other nations could build them even if we handed them the blue prints and specs? Are we so weak that we must be concerned with spy vs. spy activities?

Re: Let The Light shine In (2, Insightful)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | about 9 months ago | (#46472153)

You are clueless, and clearly have no idea about what kinds of things get classified.

For example, say we hand over the specs and signatures for the subs carrying our nuclear deterrents (MIRVs). As it is, any aggressor has no idea where those subs are, what they sound like, their physical limits or their capabilities for detecting threats. If you hand that information over, suddenly, the entire sub fleet becomes useless. Defeats the purpose of being hidden.

Now, that is a fundamental part of MAD and our second-strike capability. Not something that can just be hand-waved away to be "we should just be so strong to not need secrets". We'd bankrupt the country chasing that pipe dream, and still be no better off, given we'd be footing the bill for decades of technology and handing it over, for free, to any interested enemy.

Stealth is another good example. The only countries developing stealth aircraft other than us, were countries that stole the technology or were able to examine downed stealth aircraft we had designed. That advantage gave us at least 3 decades of air superiority, and could have been more. That is a major cost savings and powerful tool compared to building a massively more expensive army to compensate for the lack of that technological superiority(yes, I known we already have a massively expensive army).

Re: Let The Light shine In (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46472185)

Sure those are the stuff that can be remotely called legitimately classified. As opposed to the standard classification of "this is embarassing and highly illegal, classify it until we're all long dead to cover our asses".

Re:Let The Light shine In (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46472199)

Sure. There is nothing wrong with everyone knowing everything about everyone IF nobody will use such knowledge for malicious activities, nor to judge and/or segregate people into groups based on their preferences. I wouldn't mind people knowing which porn genre I prefer if they wouldn't treat me different for it. I'm sure many transsexuals wouldn't mind other people knowing that they are if people would just treat them as human beings just like any other.

The biggest issue with all information being public is that any deviation from social norm is usually met with hostility, instead of curiosity, thought, acceptance that not everyone thinks the same and that not all deviation is "bad".

Re:Let The Light shine In (5, Insightful)

jythie (914043) | about 9 months ago | (#46472571)

It is almost worth having all my other comments nulled out just to mod this up. This is exactly the problem with information being too public. In an ideal world we would all have nothing to hide, but in reality stereotypes and biases are rampant, with plenty of people perfectly happy to make your life miserable for failing to conform to norms they hold.

Re:Let The Light shine In (2, Insightful)

zerosomething (1353609) | about 9 months ago | (#46472317)

... Although I as well as almost everyone else sort of hate being spied upon there really is a vast upside to knowing what people are up to. ...

You seem to be implying that the loss of some privacy is worth the perceived safety society might get from it? Really! Then why not give up all privacy because it would benefit society so much!. That people don't understand the "right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects" is a fundamental right. Not violating that right is worth any perceived, or even real, danger to society.

"OMG he has kerosene and fertilizer in his garage he must be planning to use it for bomb making! We must investigate and watch him."

later

"OH the kerosene was for a heater but he was using the fertilizer to grow pot so that's why we did the raid and how his wife and dog got shot"

call me don't be afraid to just call me... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46472041)

maybe it's late but just call me, & i'll come around..... again... like schlapschtick & burlesque,, we'll talk about the 'weather',, we are re-runs again today being told that genuine local natives speak russian by heritage & our rulers don't lie? we are the arrogancers http://www.globalresearch.ca/weather-warfare-beware-the-us-military-s-experiments-with-climatic-warfare/7561

Of course... (4, Insightful)

msobkow (48369) | about 9 months ago | (#46472051)

Of course it's sensitive and provides "useful" information. If it didn't provide any information, they wouldn't bother collecting it.

Stazi. NSA. CIA. CSEC. GCHQ.

All the same animal, just different flags.

of course (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46472117)

google , microsoft, att, verison

Re:Of course... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46472139)

Except, is there any proof that the NSA was doing stuff like this? Not that they could or that it would be easy to do, but actually creating these databases and lists?

Re:Of course... (3, Insightful)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 9 months ago | (#46472449)

is there any proof that the NSA was doing stuff like this?

It doesn't matter. A "we don't do that" from the NSA, even if we could be sure it was the gospel truth, would be no defense. Read up on the creation of the Bill of Rights. The authors took the approach that any power which potentially can be abused, will be abused at some point.

Re:Of course... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46472871)

And following that, a central tenet of intelligence is capability = probability. If they can, assume they are.

Further, if they aren't today, what is to stop them from starting tomorrow? Certainly not the courts, or Congress.

Re:Of course... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46472705)

It's no accident that the acronyms of the National Security Agency and Double Penetration combine to NSDAP.

Hypocrite (4, Insightful)

GoCrazy (1608235) | about 9 months ago | (#46472061)

Dianne Feinstein is the same senator who complained that the CIA searched congress's computers.

It was obvious before that it was a violation of privacy, this is just an illustration. Do you think politicians will care if it doesn't have anything to do with them?

Re:Hypocrite (2)

dgatwood (11270) | about 9 months ago | (#46472701)

Given her low approval ratings, the only reason Feinstein is in office at all is because the Republicans keep miraculously finding people even more unelectable.

Who Calls Anymore (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46472063)

Stanford researchers ... 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.'

My word people, have you never heard of Google?!?

Re:Who Calls Anymore (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46472329)

I guess now we need "Tor for phone calls". Then again, the person calling the strip club may have even been a salesperson calling to see if they needed to buy more booze. The metadata can give you patterns that may be suggestive - but they don't necessarily prove any certain use case.

Re:Who Calls Anymore (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46472507)

No way dude, the booze salesman always stops by the strip club in person.

Re:Who Calls Anymore (2)

jythie (914043) | about 9 months ago | (#46472599)

Yeah, but 'suggestive' is all that is needed to potentially make someone's life difficult. As a society we put a lot of emotional stock in 'red flags' that indicate someone is a threat, and are quick to take very limited information and combine it with some authority or socially reenforced magic 8 ball and conclude that 'something is wrong there'.

'new' age call for medical appt. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46472077)

hello, can i have your name please?

not on the phone

ok i have your # do you need an appt.?

yes

what's the problem?

can't say it on the phone..

silly puddy again ok...... shall we bill your 'insurance'?

yes if you can find it, all i have is threats of being untreated..

ok we'll see you on....???

that would be fine

don't forget to bring a stool sample..

arrggghhh

The summary lies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46472089)

The term assault rifle (illegal to own) isn't mentioned anywhere.
The weapon was an AR (most likely legal).

Re:The summary lies (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 9 months ago | (#46472465)

assault rifle (illegal to own)

The term "assault rifle" is not clearly defined, and hence they're not illegal. What is illegal is firearms with certain characteristics. After all you can massacre a lot of school kids with a rifle that has a 10 round magazine, but rifles with 7 round magazines are harmless.

Re:The summary lies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46472695)

That's "Assault Weapon", which means "scary and maybe black"

Assault Rifle means selectable fire, which is indeed illegal in the base case.

Re:The summary lies (1)

redmid17 (1217076) | about 9 months ago | (#46472851)

An assault rifle has a well-known definition. They are select fire, use intermediate cartridge, and feeds from a detachable magazine. They are highly restricted and unavailable to civilians unless they were registered as an NFA weapon before 1986.They are very expensive for non-government purchasers. An assault weapon has many, poorly thought out definitions. Generally speaking it's a semi-automatic rifle with any number of mostly irrelevant characteristics (feeds from detachable magazine, threaded barrel, bayonet lug). These are legal to own in most states and smaller jurisdictions, but obviously one's situations may vary.

What people seem to forget... (0)

AndrewCWiggin (1360369) | about 9 months ago | (#46472141)

Is that the metadata has no names or content. Who is contacting all these people? By looking at area codes and googling phone numbers you could determine a city, but that's about it. Why are they contacting these people? Do they contact an abortion clinic because they or someone close to them want an abortion? Perhaps they are anti-abortion. Maybe they are part of the press. Or they could be informed citizens trying to gain more information.

Metadata analysis is an art, not a science.

Of course, I am still not for metadata collection...I'm just saying that fears of metadata abuse are overexaggerated.

Re:What people seem to forget... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46472225)

Mrs. Feinstein, please get off of Slashdot.

Re:What people seem to forget... (1)

sandytaru (1158959) | about 9 months ago | (#46472257)

Yeah, that was my first take as well. This telephone number called that telephone number. Big whoop. Unless we have the name of the person who owns that first telephone number it's still just a number. Granted, matching a name to a phone number is trivially easy, except more and more people are not putting their cell phones into the phone book so it at least requires an Internet connection.

Re:What people seem to forget... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46472377)

Do you really think that it takes anything more than a call from NSA/CIA/FBI to the phone company to get the name on the account?

Re:What people seem to forget... (1)

AndrewCWiggin (1360369) | about 9 months ago | (#46472419)

It SHOULDN'T take just a phone call, though...a court order is required, though the powers that be seem to find ways around that...

Too much opportunity for abuse.

Re:What people seem to forget... (1)

jythie (914043) | about 9 months ago | (#46472621)

Phone call? They probably do not even need that. I would not be surprised if they simply send bulk lists to phone companies to be filled in or pay PIs to find out (the FBI has been caught getting around warrant requirements that way).

Re:What people seem to forget... (3, Insightful)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 9 months ago | (#46472437)

Yeah, that was my first take as well. This telephone number called that telephone number. Big whoop. Unless we have the name of the person who owns that first telephone number it's still just a number. Granted, matching a name to a phone number is trivially easy, except more and more people are not putting their cell phones into the phone book so it at least requires an Internet connection.

Did you really just say that you think clandestine government agencies are using the White Pages?

Re:What people seem to forget... (1)

the_skywise (189793) | about 9 months ago | (#46473323)

Whew, that's a relief!

I have an unlisted number so the government can't use that metadata against me. :)

Re:What people seem to forget... (1)

u38cg (607297) | about 9 months ago | (#46472451)

You really think for a second the NSA doesn't have full use of a phone records database? Cute.

Re:What people seem to forget... (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 9 months ago | (#46472499)

more and more people are not putting their cell phones into the phone book so it at least requires an Internet connection

I've heard rumors that Internet connections aren't hard to get these days. It's also possible that telecom providers might have lists of their customers' phone numbers. Of course such companies would never share that information with the government.

Re:What people seem to forget... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46472281)

If it's so useless, then why are they collecting it under the guise of preventing terrorism? It has some use, and obviously, they're able to identify people if they want.

I'm just saying that fears of metadata abuse are overexaggerated.

It's really not.

Re:What people seem to forget... (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 9 months ago | (#46472737)

the metadata has no names or content. Who is contacting all these people?

Call 100 of these source numbers at random, and ask "Hey, who's that?" [reply] "[reply] who?"

You'd probably get plenty of hits, and that's without any fancy-schmancy social engineering. And since you know the numbers they're calling, that would be a lot easier too. "Hey, it's the abortion clinic again, just need to confirm a couple of things with you..."

Diane Feinstein (0)

DaMattster (977781) | about 9 months ago | (#46472167)

Wasn't she the Queen Bitch that was complaining about CIA spying on her computers? Wow, talk about hypocritical. Guess when it happens to you, it isn't so trivial anymore.

Wow, "science"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46472191)

Really? Caller ID and a phone book is complicated science? "Gee, this guy seems to be calling the gun shop an awful lot for someone who doesn't have a license/permit/whatever!"

Wow, someone hand me a PhD in metadata!

Right to Privacy? (1)

IDtheTarget (1055608) | about 9 months ago | (#46472211)

<sarcasm>Wait, I thought that Roe v. Wade [wikipedia.org] established my right to privacy. Don't those left-wing nutjobs believe in their own judicial activisim? Based on that legal precedent, all NSA spying of all U.S. citizens should cease, immediately!</sarcasm>

Griswold vs Connecticut (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46472421)

Actually, it wasn't Roe v. Wade.. it was Griswold v. Connecticut, and had to do with the availability of contraception. Essentially saying that what you do in the privacy of your home is none of the government's business. Importantly, there's no explicit "right to privacy" in the US Constitution, but Griswold laid the foundation for why it follows from many of the other parts.

Roe did cite Griswold and other cases and essentially held that decisions to have abortions are a *private matter* between woman and doctor

Re:Griswold vs Connecticut (1)

anegg (1390659) | about 9 months ago | (#46472767)

Importantly, there's no explicit "right to privacy" in the US Constitution, but Griswold laid the foundation for why it follows from many of the other parts.

I've heard this claim before, and I'm confused and truly looking for an analysis. The 4th Amendment to the US Constitution says:

Amendment IV The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

The above doesn't explicitly use the word "privacy," but how is the right to be secure in my person, house, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures" not a right to privacy?

Re:Griswold vs Connecticut (4, Informative)

Zak3056 (69287) | about 9 months ago | (#46473057)

Importantly, there's no explicit "right to privacy" in the US Constitution

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects" sure sounds a hell of a lot like "privacy" to me. Of course, an "explicit" right to privacy is not required, it's already guaranteed by those pesky 9th and 10th amendments.

Re:Right to Privacy? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46472655)

This just in: Anyone using terms like "left" or "right" as if they actually mean anything important in the context of political discussions is a mindless drone.

Seriously, stop buying into that bullshit; you look like an idiot. You look even dumber when you make baseless generalizations/straw men about what the [other wise] thinks.

hard to resist (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46472217)

laughing http://cdn.rt.com/files/news/23/87/20/00/nsa.si.jpg away the stench of WMD on credit crown royal zionist nazi media generated glowbull fearmongering http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=public%20relations%20hired%20goons&sm=3 just like old berlin

I Am The Outed Gun Owner (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46472315)

Yes it was me they outed. If they want to see my gun, come to my house and I'll show it to you one round at a time. You may have to look quickly because many rounds will pass by your head quickly but at least a few will be stopped by you so you can have a closer look.

outed an assault rifle owner (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46472463)

Was it black? Omg so glad they successfuly found a hunting rifle painted black...
Seems the title of a pro 4th amendment slashdot post skipped right over the 2nd in his disdain of totalitarianism

Publish Baby Publish! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46472825)

If it is just metadata why doesnt Dianne Feinstein and the Parrots publish their own to their constituents and the public? After all they dont have anything to hide, correct?

What the hell does that even mean? (1)

tacokill (531275) | about 9 months ago | (#46472917)

What the hell does "outed an assault rifle owner" mean? Last I checked, assault rifles are perfectly legal so what would be the point of outing an owner?

Oh that's right....I forgot: sensationalism.

Re:What the hell does that even mean? (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 9 months ago | (#46473095)

No, "assault rifles" are not perfectly legal, unless you have an FFL and pay the annual fee.

Of course, they probably really meant "assault weapon", a nebulous term that seems to mean (usually) "a scary looking small calibre rifle".

Note that I am an assault weapon owner. As well as the owner of an equally scary looking small calibre rifle that is on the "exempt" list of the original Assault Weapon Ban, as well as the later one that Obama couldn't get past Congress a few years ago.

you have no idea what you are talking about.... (1)

tacokill (531275) | about 9 months ago | (#46473377)

No, "assault rifles" are not perfectly legal, unless you have an FFL and pay the annual fee. .
Bzzzzzt. Wrong. They are perfectly legal and you have no idea what you are talking about. I have many and I don't pay a fee or have an FFL.

The only rifles that are restricted to own are automatic rifles. ie: machine guns. But those have been restricted for a long time. Outside of that, there are no other restrictions to buy, own, posses, shoot, or sell an "assault" rifle/weapon (no difference). That law expired and good riddance.

The reason is was a stupid law is simple: the only thing that makes a rifle an "assault" rifle instead of a regular rifle is aesthetic characteristics like a bayonet holder, hand carrier, short barrel, etc. Basically: all the shit that doesn't matter for a gun. Outside of that criteria, they all work the same. The have long barrels. They fire bullets of many calibers. They are semi-automatic. They have scopes. Etc, etc, etc.

Congratulations... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46473023)

Did they use Caller ID or look up the numbers themselves ?

If it's just metadata... (2)

alispguru (72689) | about 9 months ago | (#46473243)

... then Ms. Feinstein should have no problem with a FOIA request for the metadata for her cellphone.

I bet it would take about an hour to find a call from a lobbyist, received during a break in a legislative session.

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