Metadata is one of the most well-known unknowns of the online world. Unless you work digital marketing and some related domain, you probably do not know about meta data. However, you also probably use it more often than you recognize.
What Is Metadata?
At its most basic, metadata is a description of any link or data on what the link provides. As such, Google and other search engines use it for SEO purposes. This makes it very important from an SEO perspective. At the same time, it can serve a number of other functions. Let us look at what these functions are and how they make metadata important.
What Functions Does Metadata Serve?
Metadata is used as a measure to define the scope and purpose of any other data. So, it is data on the subject or essence of other data. This is very important for search engines as it helps them discover and classify data more easily.
The origins of metadata lie in library database classification systems. Using a simple algorithm, library science experts developed models for maintaining digital libraries more effectively. When search engines emerged to manage and facilitate internet access, metadata was adopted as a key crawling component.
In fact, if you are online right now, you are by default generating metadata. All your online actions and even your minute-by-minute presence may come along with a tagged metadata. Here are some of the most common functions we perform online which generate metadata:
Every email that is sent or received by any address has a digital trail attached to it. One of the biggest pieces of these digital trails is the metadata that comes along. Your email meta data is going to contain details about you and your email address. Things like server location, the origin of the email, intended recipient etc. will be part of the metadata. As such the meta data will be used to deliver the email.
Calling options available through conventional cellular networks as well as VoIP software lead to the generation of metadata. This allows for a faster connection and better logging of the call itself. The metadata for advanced calling can also include other important information like GPS location of parties involved.
Social media uses a tremendous amount of metadata simply because of the richness and versatility of its content. All media on it require their own trail as well as authorization for use as pera galaxy factors and policies. This necessitates the use of very lean meta data which can both facilitate efficient use of media and proper record. There are also varied types of metadata based on the target of the dataset it is describing. These can range from individual datasets to datasets for any cross-section of the social media demographic.
Web pages are the original online medium which used metadata. They have continued to do so till now. Each page and each element in each page has its own metadata. This can make web pages really heavy depending upon the sum total of elements in them. Also, this impacts their search engine rankings and how easily they can be crawled.
Digital Media Libraries
All kinds of media are classified and used on the basis of metadata. In fact, metadata forms the core of all classification, storage and retrieval functions. Virtually any kind of digital storage system will use some form of metadata to provide more easily accessed data.
What is the Purpose of the Metadata for the Internet?
Metadata in the larger context of the internet works the same way as addresses work for post offices. They are meant to be used for delivery of the right data packets at the right destination as quickly as possible. In case there is a data relay, metadata serve an even bigger function by providing the right information for delivery.
So, in essence, all the communication that conduct online heavily relies on the metadata. And without the presence of this data, efficient communication, logging and information retrieval would not be possible. With that said, the use and presence of metadata do pose a degree of risk for your privacy. Let’s look at how metadata from your online activities can be used against you.
How Does Metadata Impact Online User Privacy?
Since all metadata is based on personal activities, the user is compromised to a degree by it. This is problematic only when the meta data goes beyond gathering the minimum required information to make the data transmission.
Further, meta data is a prime source of information for the usual trio of snoopers online – government surveillance agencies, hackers, and advertisers. They can use your data to understand what you like and don’t like and compromise your online security as a result. In certain cases, this can also compromise your real-life security.
Sadly, metadata is virtually omnipresent and if you use the internet in any way, you are going to need it. For efficient functioning online, the need for metadata is indispensable and so, your privacy will be compromised. However, there are some things that you can do to ensure that you expose yourself as little as possible to online dangers.
How Can a VPN Enhance Your Online Safety?
VPN or Virtual Private Network is software which establishes a private tunnel for you over the internet. This tunneling protocol protects you and your device from external intrusion. The protocol uses advanced encryption to secure your connection and mask your online activities. This means that only you are aware of what you are doing.
Further, only you and your intended recipient can see the messages you are exchanging. VPN offers a number of other uses like accessing information blocked in your IP area, accessing services not available in your region etc.
While VPN cannot prevent meta data generation, it can mask your activities and thereby make the metadata inaccurate. This makes using it to locate and create an information bank on you much harder. Choose a reliable paid VPN to ensure your online safety today.
Summer is an established author when it comes to everything tech. She frequently analyses various software and has reviewed many apps in the process. As a technology enthusiast, Summer has worked in many IT-related industries. She follows cybersecurity news closely and published articles related to the latest tech-trends from around the world.