With the Australian Senate passing the federal government’s data retention bill last week, there has been a great deal of discussion of ‘metadata‘, what it is and whether the government ought to have access to it. However, metadata is just the tip of the data iceberg. The debate about data retention is only just beginning, and the outcome could touch on many aspects of our behaviour and society at large.
Data, data, everywhere
Metadata is one example of the emerging ecosystem of digital traces, fragments and identifiers that are created as a part of digitally mediated social interactions.
This is often talked about in terms of ‘Big Data‘. This represents the creation and collection of massive data sets, and the potential for new social and economic insights to emerge from this mountain of data.