About that metadata

This thing called metadata intrigues me (data about data). So, I have been following all the ins and outs of recent disclosures about how our government tracks metadata. What a relief to come across this tongue-in-cheek piece thanks to another friend in Facebook (I have a wonderfully eclectic group of friends and colleagues in my network at Facebook which makes me wonder what NSA could conclude about me but that’s a different post).

The writer imagines how metadata might have informed the Brits that Paul Revere was someone to watch . . . and presumably could have prevented the midnight ride and who know what else!

This is a good time to point out that Descant could use metadata. We have mechanisms to collect it now but aren’t actively doing that. Here’s our plan:

We are all about users supplying their own data into their credit profile mostly by authorizing data to stream from external sources both private and public. These data vary widely in the degree to which they have been verified. For example, financial reports from an accounting system might be prepared by the business owner or an independent accounting firm. One is completely unverified and the other somewhat verified. The other end of that continuum might be legal records collected and verified by an independent publisher.

We expect to monitor activity levels and other patterns to present a unified view of data fidelity. In other words, if you are invited to view a profile by the business owner, can you trust what you see? That’s different than using metadata to determine who is creditworthy and who is not–a use of metadata that potentially has immediate and hard-to-contest adverse effects.

All of this will be described in much more detail before we begin working with metadata in any significant way.

Government jokes and angst aside, metadata can be informative but needs to be handled with care. That includes clear disclosures to ensure confidence in our system.

I hope you’ll comment to this post or send me a message at lreimer@descantlabs.com if you have any questions. Meanwhile, enjoy a little bit of math/stats humor!


One thought on “About that metadata

  1. Ah, commenting on my own blog but shortly after posting I came across this analysis written from the vantage-point of the current Apple developer conference.


    You have to read all the way down to the last, and my favorite, line: “The longer the PRISM scandal plays out, the more consumers will consider trust to be a defining part of a superior customer experience.”

    That summarizes the gist of our philosophy about data and metadata–all about trust.

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