Ton Siedsma is nervous. He made the decision weeks ago, but keeps postponing it. It’s the 11th of November, a cold autumn evening. At ten past eight (20:10:48 to be exact), while passing Elst station on the way home, he activates the app. It will track all of his phone’s metadata over the coming week.
Metadata is not the actual content of the communication, but the data about the communication; like the numbers he calls or whatsapps, and where his phone is at a particular moment. Whom he e-mails, the subject of the e-mails and the websites he visits.
Wall Street understands the value and meaning of metadata. That’s how they make their money. Metadata allows you to see relationships, to make connections, to see what’s otherwise hidden.
That dragnetting metadata is permitted without a warrant is a violation of rights that would cause our Founders to launch a new revolution.