Stanford University researchers used call records to uncover heart problems, marijuana habits of volunteers.
Phone metadata doesn’t reveal what people say, but such records of calls and text messages can help spy agencies, businesses or hackers discover private information about someone’s relationships, shopping interests and even health problems, according to a study published on Monday.
The research published
in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showed thatscans of call records help create detailed maps of not just the person being investigated, but also the lives of contacts in their phone history.
Metadata is the term used for the receipt of a call or a text message included in the history of a phone, and these records are often maintained by a telecom service provider.
"Once a participant was labeled as in a relationship, we found that identifying the participant’s partner was trivial,
” according to the researchers. “Our results suggest that, even without human review, a business or agency could draw sensitive inferences from a significant share of telephone records.” more