I heard Alistair MacGibbon, Centre for Internet Safety (ANU) on ABC 702 Drive using the envelope metaphor on Tuesday afternoon (August 5). He specifically said that metadata includes information on the ‘front and the back’ of the envelope. Abbott only retained the ‘front of the envelope’ part which is why his mangled bullshit about ‘where the traffic comes from’ made absolutely no sense at all.
By the time he appeared on TV that night, someone had spelt it out for him (again) and he cleared up any misunderstanding with this explanation: “It’s not the content of the letter, it’s what’s on the envelope … it’s not what you’re doing on the internet, it’s the sites you’re visiting. It’s not the content, it’s just where you’ve been, so to speak.”
Maybe Abbott genuinely can’t see the difference between leaving a digital footprint and shredding or burning an envelope. Or maybe he just pretends to be this thick. Perhaps he never independently assesses any policy idea. I think he hears what he wants to see and sees what he wants to hear.
I think I got that right.
The TV quote above is from this site: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/08/06/australias_metadata_debate_is_an_utter_shambles/
The author unambiguously states that the ‘envelope metaphor’ is “a dangerous falsehood”.
I tend to agree