What is Metadata?
What is Metadata? Metadata is data that describes other data. Unfortunately, that is a redundant definition. Simply put, metadata is information stored inside of computer files, such as PDFs, Word documents, webpages, images, and emails. Just about every electronic document has metadata stored in it. This is information that describes that file. We’ll talk about some specific examples.
The one thing you need to know is that metadata is added to a document automatically. A great example is that phones will geographically tag a picture. So the photo’s metadata reveals where you took the picture. When you upload photos to the web, Google knows that this is a restaurant photo and other important information such as the approximate location. Google can then share similar images of that area.
Metadata is not always obviously visible. It is hidden inside a file’s properties. We will look at some examples of that, but it is this hidden data that we must be concerned about when we talk about privacy and data breaches.
Some examples of the type of data stored in your files include your name, your initials, your company name, the computer name, the document’s location on the server’s network, or the internet. So, where it is stored, including the file name, is hidden text. However, even though it’s not visible to someone just reading the document for its content, it is visible if you know where to look for it.
Most attorneys and people using Microsoft Word are familiar with its ability to track changes that contributors make to the document. It is common to have that feature enabled during the editing process. Those changes are metadata. While we have that feature turned on, we can see who commented in a document, for example. Comments are Metadata in documents. They share file properties, its size, its location, its name, and things like that.
We talked about a few types of metadata that cameras and software can add to our electronic files. This may include the location where an image was taken, the author of the document, the document’s title, and the file’s name. Some additional data that may be embedded in your files include timestamps and last known changes. Next, we will talk about metadata in your emails. This should also be considered protected or private information and considered metadata that we may want to protect and clean up. If you’re interested, head over to https://lnkd.in/dZnNG2A before the end of the day and sign up for a free scan.