I gave a talk aimed at the general public on personal data mining last night, in Maastricht. The talk is about explaining what type of information can be mined from the content of open sources (news, social media, etc) using state of the art search and text mining technology. And the focus is on extracting personal information, whether this is location or music listening behavior or health or personality traits. It’s not the first time I’ve given this talk and follow-ups are planned for later this Spring. The message is at the end of the talk is very simple: the content of open sources can be incredibly revealing and therefore incredibly sensitive.

Because of the ongoing NSA revelations, I decided to add some material on what can be mined from metadata. The message is the same: like the content of open sources, the metadata can be incredibly revealing and therefore sensitive too. There were good and interesting questions, both on the reach of search and text mining technology and also on the balance between sharing digital trails as many people stand to benefit on the one hand and ownership of such trails on the other hand. Thanks to everyone who attended!

Now playing: Dakota Suite & Quentin Sirjacq — The Side of Her Inexhaustible Heart (Part III)