“At the end of the day, the vast majority of the use of this data is extremely positive,” said de Montjoye, citing the utility of metadata in city planning, emergency response and other areas. He said he wanted to help researchers and the public develop a better “understanding of what can be done as well as the limits of privacy. This is really why we do this.”
From a national security perspective, the use of metadata remains a powerful tool for finding links between people, including potential enemies. However, despite the reassurances of Ruppersberger, President Barack Obama and others that the data isn’t “personal,” it lends itself easily to creating windows into private lives.
Look, it’s not as though Obama weaponized the IRS, say, to hurt his political foes, or decided to run the country by executive fiat rather than obey the law of the land, so what could possibly go wrong here?