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Parler is an online social media platform that has become known for hosting far-right, even extremist content, and it was an organizing and rallying point for the far-right, including many of the Capitol Hill insurrectionists. After the armed insurrection on January 6th, Amazon Web Services, Google, and Apple deplatformed Parler. Its erasure from the internet threatened to destroy months of posts that could be used to better understand the attack on the Capitol. But the quick thinking of a self-described hacker by the name of donk_enby and a host of amateur data hoarders - independent, unaffiliated online volunteers - preserved more than 56.7 terabytes of data from Parler that donk_enby and others believe could be useful in piecing together what happened last Wednesday and in the weeks and months leading up to it. In a monumental effort, donk_enby and a few other fellow hackers and researchers - online volunteers - managed to capture and archive nearly every post, photo and video on Parler before it was shut down.
donk_enby was able to scrape and capture and archive nearly the entire content of the website.
When news of donk_enby's archival efforts broke, several viral tweets, Reddit posts, and Facebook posts claimed that she had captured private information, scans of drivers licenses and IDs, and other highly sensitive information. She said those posts are “not at all” accurate.
“Everything we grabbed was publicly available on the web, we just made a permanent public snapshot of it,” donk_enby told me.
After donk_enby tweeted about the content she was scraping from Parler, the Archive Team, a volunteer collection of hackers and data researchers who have saved a host of other dying sites, took notice and joined in her effort. “The Archive Team deserves a lot of credit for orchestrating the big pull,” donky_enby told me, saying that he group paid the steep server costs and constructed a tool that allowed anonymous Twitter users to volunteer their own bandwidth to help speed the transfer, which at one point peaked at 50 GB per second. The extra speed proved critical—the group-effort managed to capture 96% of Parler’s content by midnight.
Here is the full story from VICE.
Why does it matter?
-=-=-=-=-=- Jayne Cravens Author, The LAST Virtual Volunteering Guidebook
When hackers exploited a bug in Parler to download all of the right-wing social media platform's contents last week, they were surprised to find that many of the pictures and videos contained geolocation metadata revealing exactly how many of the site's users had taken part in the invasion of the US Capitol building just days before. But the videos uploaded to Parler also contain an equally sensitive bounty of data sitting in plain sight: thousands of images of unmasked faces, many of whom participated in the Capitol riot. Now, volunteers have built Faces of the Riot, a web site cataloging and publishing every one of those faces in a single, easy-to-browse lineup.
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