Law enforcement's next privacy overreach will be the metadata of things

Governments around the world are legislating to collect metadata, usually with the excuse that modern crime-fighting and national security efforts require access to records of citizens' communications.

In many nations that's sparked what I call "horizontal" scope-creep, in which, as just one example, the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) wants access to metadata in order to identify and discipline doctors who are having affairs with their patients.

There's another dimension to scope-creep that has received far less attention to date: the "vertical scope" creep of collecting machine-generated traffic that leaves a growing fingerprint to identify the user.