Be careful about your Metadata! Sounds like a dire warning…but then you wonder what is Metadata, and what importance does it hold for us – the average users. Here, we introduce you to Metadata and discuss it’s relevance to your privacy as a netizen.
What is Metadata?
Metadata is popularly known as the data which is related to data. You can think of Metadata as any information pertaining to data. It’s like a map’s “legend” that defines what the lines, dots, and various marks mean.
Metadata defines the data and what it means so that we can analyze it correctly without having to check it ourselves.
Metadata improves the accuracy of processes around the globe. You may not think much of Metadata, but it can have many legal repercussions. Read on, to know more!
The Three Major Metadata Types
Now that you have the answer to “what is metadata,” you need to know that Metadata is more prevalent in your life than you may imagine. Metadata has a wide variety of applications, from the books in the library to archaeology. But, here we are going to discuss the online aspects of Metadata relevant to you.
Any database of photos, art, advertisement, and so on, maintained by you online is sorted as per the date, size, author, location, by the Metadata.
Apart from the text appearing to you as you open a page, there are parts of data that are invisible to you that enable the search engine to crawl it. For instance, author, date, subject, and other tags help Google understand how relevant the page to what the users are searching at any given time.
Have you noticed how third-party apps you sign up for on Facebook always ask for access to your personal information such as friend list and email? Moreover, when you post something, you create a title, description, and image – all of whom can be considered as personal Metadata and is used to identify you. It is used to target ads towards you and give you suitable suggestions.
Marketers utilize the browsing metadata to decide whether or not their targeted marketing efforts should be focused on you. They may not know what you are doing on a gaming-related forum, but if you spent 2 hours there, it’s a good enough reason to believe that you are a good target for gaming-related ads. All advertisers in the modern era show you ads relevant to your searches and tastes – information that they have gathered through your Metadata.
Relationship between Metadata and browsing
Apart from knowing “What is metadata” you also need to understand the relationship between Metadata and browsing. Once you are online, all activity that you do is routed through servers managed by your Internet Service Provider (ISP). They can track your activity and keep logs too.
For instance, your geographical location, your device’s information, email addresses, and the time you are spending on particular websites or forums comprise just some of the Metadata being recorded by your ISP at any given time.
Why is Metadata important (Metadata Issues Related To Privacy)
By now, you must have understood why Metadata is useful apart from getting to know, “What is metadata.” However, there’s still more that you need to know about it.
Metadata is valuable for advertisers and government agencies both. It may not be as sensitive as the content of your email or online communication overall. Still, it enables them to develop an overall profile of you and determine your likes, dislikes, and preferences. This is because of your social networking, browsing, and other online activities carry personal information about you.
How Does A VPN hide the Metadata
The best way to ensure metadata security is to get an Anonymous VPN. A VPN uses encryption to mask the information you send or receive and gives you an alternate IP address.
Once you install a VPN on your device; all the data you receive or send becomes hidden; making you invisible to the ISP or any other third party; since they cannot tell what places of the Internet you visited and for how long.
Ivacy: A No Logs VPN
Ivacy is one of the select-few “no-logs” policy VPNs out there, meaning that it does not keep any record of what you do online. Since Ivacy is based out of Singapore – a country without any data retention laws, you can trust Ivacy VPN as a No logs VPN that can protect your Metadata better in comparison to the other VPNs.
Hopefully, you have now come to know, “What is metadata”, what it means for your privacy, and what you can do to eliminate the risks arising out of it!
It may seem like an alien concept that is hard to grasp but isn’t. The presence of Metadata acts like bread crumbs that you leave online – trackable by various organizations that can accurately predict your behavior online. Fortunately, you can deal with this situation by using a reliable VPN service that hides your tracks.