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Thinking error!

Many messengers are organized centrally. This means that even without knowing the encrypted content, very detailed knowledge about the users and the relationships among them is collected and used (in the company’s interest):

  • who knows whom?
  • who communicates?
  • with whom?
  • when?
  • for how long? but also:
  • in which periods of time is communication * not* taking place?

The information does not come from the actual content of the messages, but from the transmission itself. Many providers praise “complete end-to-end encryption”. However, in this context it is irrelevant whether the communication is encrypted or not. The unlimited collection, storage and evaluation of transmission data is concealed/played down. This is often overlooked.

By matching databases and applying mathematical and analytical methods, it is possible to very quickly and easily reveal background information.

  • on the personal and professional environment
  • on social interaction
  • to the health condition
  • to the economic situation or also
  • to the political attitude

determine. This information has a very high hit probability, which is why it is then traded for a lot of money. This collecting, enriching and evaluating of information is reality and corresponds to the daily practice.


Concrete examples that can be derived or unambiguously determined from the address book and the (content-encoded) transmission data:

  • Gender
  • Approximate age
  • Nationality
  • Place of residence
    • purchasing power
    • Creditworthiness
    • Ownership status
  • marital status
  • social environment
  • political affiliation
  • employed yes/no
  • socially engaged yes/no and
  • * changes:*
    • behavioral changes
    • relationship changes
    • Changes/development in the other characteristics mentioned above.

Article on the subject

Privacy at risk (2020)
In a collaborative effort of the TU Darmstadt, the TU Graz and the University of Würzburg it is shown that currently used methods for mobile contact tracing massively threaten the privacy of users.
Among other things, it says:\
… Transferring virtually all personal contacts to a service provider poses a significant privacy risk and also a legal challenge …
Source: (external)

Here is a small exemplary overview of which corporations collect which data:

Source: (external)

Videos on data collection

Nice video (with German subtitles) in which a bakery saleswoman behaves just as brazenly (friendly but rude) as many popular apps: (external)

Threema also has a nice video about this (‘free’ ice cream against payment with data): (external, English subtitle)

Thought experiment on privacy

At “” data is not “collected”, “enriched” and “sold”.

  • Would you still just provide me with all your contacts and tell me when you communicate with whom?
  • … or their friends?

-> Then why give it to a for-profit company that runs a centralized system?

Privacy affects everyone and is important:
Not without reason there are curtains for the windows or apartment and house doors, which are an external sign of privacy. They protect against prying eyes or the entry of strangers into one’s life.

Privacy <-> Convenience
Everyone must decide for themselves what value privacy has and when it is sacrificed for convenience.

Definition of metadata

“Metadata or metainformation is structured data that contains information about characteristics of other data.”

Data described by metadata are often larger collections of data such as documents, books, databases, or files. Thus, information of properties of a single object (for example, “person’s name”) is also referred to as its metadata.

Computer users are often unaware that data has metadata that is not immediately recognizable and that it may have greater utility to computer criminals or government agencies than the data itself.”

*Source: Wikipedia