Parler Is Gone, But Hackers Say They Downloaded Everything First

VICE.com:

Including posts made during last week’s insurrection at the Capitol, which could now be used to expose and arrest pro-Trump rioters.

Right-wing social network Parler was taken offline in the early hours of Monday morning, but not before a hacker 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. 

Twitter’s decision on Friday to ban President Donald Trump from its platform permanently — together with a raft of major QAnon accounts — should have a boon for Parler, the right-wing Twitter alternative that positioned itself as a “free-speech social network” but was in effect home to hate speech, anti-Semitism, and wild conspiracies.

But before CEO John Matze could even begin to dream of Trump moving his 80 million followers from Twitter to Parler, the roof fell in.

First, within minutes of Trump’s Twitter ban, Google announced it was banning the Parler app from its app store because of lax moderation policies. 

A day later, Apple followed suit, and on Sunday, Amazon Web Services, where Parler hosts its platform, announced that it would be pulling the plug.

And so, just after 3 a.m. ET Monday morning, Parler went dark. But that’s not even the worst of it.

A hacker who goes by the name Crash Override on Twitter claims she found a web address that Parler used internally to retrieve data.

That allowed 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, they 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.

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