By now you may have heard that Trump’s Justice Department Justitie secretly confiscated the phone data of journalists working for The New York Timess, CNN, and The Washington Post, hoping to reveal their sources and stop leaks to the press. But the NOW reports now that Trump didn’t stop at journalists — in 2017 and 2018, it forced Apple to cough up metadata on at least two Democratic members of the House Intelligence Committee, including current chairman Adam Schiff, and as many as a dozen people associated with that committee in all, including family members and at least one child.
Like the media, Apple was under a gag order and couldn’t tell anyone until it expired this year — the only reason we’re learning this now is because the new administration’s Justice Department has decided to release the subpoenas and gag orders to the press. to reveal .
While one of the NYTs sources claim that Apple only provided metadata, not photos or the content of emails, it has been known for years that metadata is data: you can learn a lot if you know where, when and who a particular person is talking to, especially if you that combines with other insights. (An earlier NOW research showed that the amount of location data that smartphones already reveal to data brokers is enough to identify someone personally.)
Last Saturday, the Ministry of Justice promised it would no longer secretly subpoena journalists’ records to eliminate leaks.