70TB of data from Parler scraped by researcher ahead of AWS shutdown

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Last week as a new year dawned, violence broke out at the US Capitol when scores of supporters of Donald Trump stormed the building.

Many folks posted evidence of their involvement to social media which have hopefully helped to capture those individuals but one social media site no longer exists.

That site is Parler. On Sunday, AWS announced that it would suspend Parler due to a growing number of posts inciting or encouraging violence.

As you may be aware, Parler became a safe haven for far-right conspiracies, racism, and other bigoted behaviour but with the site set to be closed, evidence of any wrongdoing was in danger of disappearing.

At least it was until a hacker going by crash override on Twitter got to archiving every post on Parler thanks to a URL. Given the time crunch the hacker called on others to help download data and by the time AWS pulled the plug as much as 70TB of data had been collected.

The hacker explained their exploits on Twitter showcasing a number of concerning facts for those who might’ve posted evidence of their crimes to Parler.

For one, Parler never actually deleted content. It simply marked the content as unviewable and removed it from search results. Worse still, Gizmodo reports that the hacker discovered a trove of raw video files containing GPS metadata.

While this a privacy landmine, it could also help authorities track down culprits tied to the riot last week which claimed the lives of five people.

The hacker was able to capture 99 percent of the content on Parler and the data will be uploaded to the Internet Archive where folks, including authorities, will be able to see what folks were posting on the site.

Thanks to the work of the hackers, perhaps justice will be able to prevail.

We’re interested to see what the archive might hold but having seen a sample of what Parler contained, we’re also worried about what we might find.

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.

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