Poor Parler and its users. Where will the right congregate online now and talk about white supremacy and how patriotic it is to engage in armed insurrection?
It was already having a bad week with Google and Apple pulling its app and then Amazon deciding to no longer host its data. But things then got really crazy.
PARLER GOT FUCKING OWNED BAD…and I mean BAD 😂
"This group of Internet Warriors then used that account, to create a handful of other ADMINISTRATION accounts, and then created a script that ended up creating MILLIONS of fake administration accounts."
HOLY SHIT HAHAHA 😂🤣 pic.twitter.com/bS3GSRsxET
— B̤̿it̺̕B͓̚ur͍̒neȑ🔥 k33p !7 m0v!n (@bitburner) January 11, 2021
What happened is described by David Gilbert in Vice:
Right-wing social network Parler was taken offline in the early hours of Monday morning, but not before hackers found a way to download all data posted by users — including messages, images, videos, and users’ location data — shared during last week’s attack on the Capitol.
The data taken from Parler is still being processed, but Trump supporters are already voicing their concerns about what the data dump could expose about them and their activity in Washington, D.C. last week.
Imagine the book that could be written from this data.
A hacker who goes by the name Crash Override on Twitter claims they were able to reverse-engineer the Parler iOS app, in order to find a web address that the application uses internally to retrieve data.
That allows the hacker to make a list of all posts, videos, and images uploaded to Parler — including posts that users had deleted, such as those referring to the Capitol attack last Wednesday.
Like most online services, Parler didn’t actually delete user posts; they simply marked them as unviewable and omitted them from search results.
Initially, the hacker worked on downloading the data herself, but when Amazon announced it was going to shut off access, [she] urged her followers to join in by publishing a list of all the posts.
The hacker set up a crowdsourcing system where multiple people could help download the content. The downloaded data is now being processed before being uploaded to the Internet Archive, where anyone will be able to view or download it — including the open-source intelligence community and law enforcement agencies.
And the possibility of everything coming out has scared some Trump supporters.
“Bad news. Left extremists have captured and archived over 70TB of data from Parler servers. This includes posts, personal information, locations, videos, images, etc,” a Telegram account called North Central Florida Patriots said on Monday morning.
“The intent is a mass dox and a list to hold patriots ‘accountable’. It is too late to scrub your data, and it’s already archived. There is nothing you can do to prevent what’s already happened. All you can do is prepare for the fallout. Accountability may come in many forms for our free speech, doxing, jobs might be called, addresses leaked and people coming to your house, etc.”
To be honest I am not sure how much effect this will have and it seems like many of the protesters have already doxxed themselves. And the ethical considerations are complex. But the fallout will be interesting.
For law enforcement the information is gold. The US Government has killed people based on metadata. Photos with time stamps and location data linked back to an individual are wonderful ways to prove who was where and when. And contemporary information on what they were wearing that can be cross referenced against other photos and videos is wonderful information for law enforcement to have.
As an example this guy has been identified and arrested already. In part because he took his mum along. But the data will allow for many more to be identified.
This guy has a pistol on his right hip and zip ties in his left hand.
He was planning to take hostages. pic.twitter.com/mMR7d5HJCp
— Chris Dimond (@dimond_chris) January 7, 2021
There is a debate to be had about the role of social media in our lives and what has happened here. And what regulations should be in place in the future. I am pretty confident that allowing the unfettered spread of fake news and conspiracy theories are not inimical to our collective best interests.
But for now we can all have have a quiet chuckle that the the self styled master race do not appear to be so masterful.