Good piece by the NYT’s Tom Zeller Jr on metadata and the downfalls it’s caused: Sleuths mine information by reading between lines – Technology from the International Herald Tribune:
If you use Microsoft Word, open a document, go to the File menu and choose Properties. You should see some metadata. Third-party programs are available that will crack open even more. According to some technologists, including Dennis Kennedy, a lawyer and consultant based in St. Louis, Missouri, metadata might include other bits of information like notes and questions rendered as “comments” within a document, or the deletions and insertions logged by features like Track Changes in Microsoft Word and other modern word-processing programs.
an unsigned document circulated by the Democratic National Committee was mined by Mike Krempasky, who writes a Web log at RedState.org, which threw up juicy tidbits that identified Chris Prendergast, who works for the committee;
when the United Nations issued a long-awaited report on Syria’s suspected involvement in the assassination of the former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri, it contained the identities of those alleged to be involved in tracked editing changes;
and when SCO Group filed suit against DaimlerChrysler “charging violations of their software agreement, [a] carelessly distributed Microsoft Word version of the suit revealed that the company had spent a good deal of time aiming the suit at Bank of America instead.”