Animal New York brings to attention this website by MIT Media Lab called Immersion, which shows you exactly "the metadata Google hands over to the NSA every day." Simply log-in with your Gmail account and be amazed at what can be figured out using only the From, To, Cc and Timestamp fields of the emails in the account.
As you can see, you can paint a pretty vivid picture of someone without even looking into the contents of their emails. Brian Fung at the Atlantic, whose email account is much older than mine, was able to map the kinds of associates in his life -- family, college friends, friends from D.C. -- based on the colors assigned to them by Immersion.
And as The Atlantic's Brian Fung notes, just five years of GMail use yielded some astonishing discoveries:
In all, MIT counted 606 "collaborators" in my inbox, totaling some 83,000 e-mails. But you can also break down that data by year, month, or even the past week. Pretty amazing stuff -- and a good reminder not only how much information Google knows about you, but what that information can uncover about other people. If you can learn this much just from looking at one account, imagine what crunching hundreds or thousands of interconnected accounts must be like.
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