A researcher has archived Parler user posts, photos and videos in the wake of the platform being accused of fueling the recent Capitol riots. According to Giz Modo, the researcher, @donk_enby, archived every post from January 6, the day of the Capitol riot, with the goal of documenting "very incriminating" evidence.
Over the weekend, Apple, Google, Amazon and other companies announced Parler would be removed from the app stores because it failed to moderate posts that encouraged violence and crime. Knowing this, the researcher worked quickly to archive 99.9% of Parler's content. Some of the content contained "original, unprocessed, raw files as uploaded to Parler with all associated metadata," the researcher said, confirming the raw video files included GPS metadata tracking the location of where the videos were taken.
This should be an example that content posted online can be archived long after the platform is removed, says Terence Jackson, Chief Information Security Officer at Thycotic, a Washington D.C. based provider of privileged access management (PAM) solutions. "Many organizations claim to provide privacy and safety, however, those claims should be meticulously investigated before posting. This should also be a lesson to us all, as we engage with social media, to be aware of what we post as it can have endless consequences."
Brandon Hoffman, Chief Information Security Officer at Netenrich, a San Jose, Calif.-based provider of IT, cloud, and cybersecurity operations and services, notes that his understanding of the takedown related to the Parler app is that the application does not meet the technical guidelines for censoring or removing content that is highly inflammatory or dangerous. "What this means is not that Parler should or should not censor it, but rather that the technical controls to do so do not exist in the application, he says. "If that is the case, it begs the question as to why this issue did not come up previously. Arguably, these guidelines need to be met to exist on the Google Play Store or Apple Store. It also calls again into question Section 230 which was heavily debated this past year as to whether technology platforms providers are responsible for the same way a publisher would be. As far as I know, there has not been resolution on that point.”
Jack Mannino, CEO at nVisium, a Falls Church, Virginia-based application security provider, notes, “In letting their strong emotions trump their better judgement, many people committed questionable unlawful acts, and appear to have left behind quite a large digital trail of evidence. Parler grew quickly, with high visibility and scrutiny, however, they did not have the same level of sophistication as the bigger players in social media to ensure privacy and reasonable security for users. As a result, there is potentially a great amount of value in this data set for law enforcement to sift through in the aftermath of last week's events.”