Monday, December 16, 2019

Metadata and Network Analysis

This weekend, I had linked to an article on "Smartphone Surveillance And Tracking Techniques." Here is another article on a similar subject from Privacy International with the title, "A technical look at Phone Extraction." However, unlike the first article, this second article looks at how law enforcement can extract data from a cell phone through electronic forensics. The author begins by relating:
Mobile Phone Extraction technologies, known also as mobile forensics, entails the physical connection of the mobile device that is to be analysed and a device that extracts, analyses and presents the data contained on the phone. Whilst forensics experts, hackers and those selling spyware may be able to access and extract data, we look at a number of the most well-known commercial companies who sell their products to law enforcement, such as Cellebrite, Oxygen Forensic Detective, and MSAB.
Anymore, it is not just what is on the phone, but is accessible via the phone, including data stored in "the Cloud."
A developing area is Cloud extraction which we look at in more detail in a separate article. This development makes for disturbing reading, as we grasp how much is held in remote servers and accessible to those with no forensic skill but the money to pay for push button technologies that can grab it all.  Cloud extraction, a leap from what is on the phone to what is accessible from it, is a reaction to encryption and device locks that make traditional mobile phone forensics hard if not impossible and a response to the volume of information stored in the Cloud.
If you scroll to the end of the article, there is a link for downloading a PDF version of the article.

     Another article to which I had linked was Lizard Farmer's classic article, "How They Hunt", on the basics of using network analysis to discover your social networks. A found a few other articles discussing the basics of network analysis using Paul Revere as an example:
Using metadata, I’ll also explore a political network of colonists with particular attention paid to Paul Revere, using built-in Wolfram Language functions and network science to uncover some hidden truths about colonial Boston and its key players leading up to the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
Again, the metadata is membership in various organizations, and by this he was able to identify Paul Revere and Thomas Urann as key members linking the various groups together.
    So why is all of this important? "Former CIA director: ‘We kill people based on metadata’"--RT.
      “Of course knowing the content of a call can be crucial to establishing a particular threat. But metadata alone can provide an extremely detailed picture of a person’s most intimate associations and interests, and it’s actually much easier as a technological matter to search huge amounts of metadata than to listen to millions of phone calls. As NSA General Counsel Stewart Baker has said, 'metadata absolutely tells you everything about somebody’s life. If you have enough metadata, you don’t really need content.'

      “When I quoted Baker at a recent debate at Johns Hopkins University, my opponent, General Michael Hayden, former director of the NSA and the CIA, called Baker’s comment 'absolutely correct,' and raised him one, asserting, ‘We kill people based on metadata.’”
 The NSA has already been collecting this metadata on citizens. 

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