The hacktivist group, Anonymous is claiming to have leaked volatile data, over 14GB, from a server located in Israel where, in part, was stored information on Bank of America’s spying activites on private citizens. The Anonymous intel group group Par:AnoIA, claims this was not a hacking mission, but rather data stored on an unsecured server.
In addition to the BofA data, the cache also has information linked to Bloomberg, Thomson Reuters, TEKSystems, and data mining software company ClearForest, owned by Thomson Reuters. In the PDF Press release, Par:AnoIA notes the following noteworthy aspects of the data cache:
- Detailed data about hundreds of thousands of executives and employees from various global corporations, including salary information.
- That BofA and others are contracting other companies (Thomson/Reuters/ClearForest)to spy and collect data on private citizens
- The overall quality of the research is poor and potentially false; termed by the hacker group as “sloppy, random, and valueless”
- The collected data was stored insecurely and could have been retrieved by anyone.
- The data, stored on an open misconfigured server in Tel Aviv, the base of ClearForest.
- Probably more disturbing: the location on the same server of ClearForest’s text analysis software, OneCalais—and source code that appears to be a version or module for BofA (based on the file naming conventions).
Several useful points to consider, pending the release of the details of this data cache:
- While Par:AnoIA terms the data mining as “poor, potentially false…sloppy and valueless”, we would not concur with that final term, “useless”. Large corporate data mining and aggregation, by definition is inaccurate, and even false. Its exact potential is not in its accuracy, but in its deployment against persons whom it could adversely affect.
Anyone who has ever seriously checked their credit reports from major credit bureaus KNOWS that not only is the information highly questionable, but much of it is false, and even contrived. Understand, there is no such thing as “True Data” in the world of electronic records. It is the RECORDS, themselves, which hold power as they are assumed to be “authoritative”, especially emanating from corporate entities such as ClearForest (what an ominous name!)
- That exotic software, such as OneCaalais—and the source code for application-specific modifications are deposited on an unsecure server, along with mined data, indicates that this rampant orgy of data collection represents a menace to every person, free or bond.
Consider, that OneCalais is actually an artificial intelligence algorithm which, according to ClearForest’s own description: “use(s) Natural Language Processing (NLP), text analytics and data mining technologies to derive meaning from unstructured information, including news articles, blog posts, research reports and more.” In other words, it is surveillance technology harvesting profiles from the internet for corporate intelligence. It is the “and more” which should concern us.
Key word search “INSLAW, PROMIS, CIA”, or read the Wired Magazine archive article on “The INSLAW Octopus”, and then ponder we are now three decades past that technology which was described as: “Converted to use by intelligence agencies, as has been alleged in interviews by ex-CIA and Israeli Mossad agents, PROMIS can be a powerful tracking device capable of monitoring intelligence operations, agents and targets, instead of legal cases.”
Read the history of INSLAW and PROMIS, and understand that in the 1970s software had evolved to a place then, which is being lightly hinted at now by ClearForest’s OneCalais software. Assume that by now it is entirely AI, and capable of heurisitics unimagined by the Reagan spooks like Ollie North. AND—it is in the hqnds of international corporations, specifically Israelis.
Evening the playing field a bit: Anonymous has released the OneCalais software onto the web as a torrent. May the geeks on the side of light now begin their exploits. We need them. Cheers!
Wired Magazine article: The INSLAW Octopus
Wikipedia article: INSLAW