The Intercept Says Happy Holidays to Thomson Reuters

December 23, 2019

I read “How Ice Uses Social Media to Surveil and Arrest Immigrants.”

DarkCyber’s reaction to this story was, “What did Thomson Reuters do to warrant this Happy New Year greeting?” The good folks at Thomson Reuters are not the largest nor the only source of information for analysts—both commercial and governmental. The write describes a routine method of cross correlating items of information. The write up mentions a number of other outfits selling data to organizations. Hello, this is the commercial database business. The sector includes hundreds of companies, not just those who had a mostly forgotten connection to Lord Thomson of Fleet.

engraving food

Please, sir, may I have some rich, hearty soup, not thin gruel?

A few observations:

  • What other firms provide commercial data services to government agencies? Hint: LexisNexis, Experian, other government agencies, and lots, lots more.
  • When did this business begin? What were the first commercial firms operating in this business sector? Hint: History can be interesting if one goes back to the the days of RECON and SDC.
  • What are the sources of data available to entities which are not allies of the United States? Hint: Singapore’s information sector is booming for a reason.

But the big red herring in the write up is the failure to address the one important weakness in most of the existing data services. What do we get? Thin porridge like that fed Tiny Tim.

My point is that focusing on Thomson Reuters is a misrepresentation of how data can be cross correlated. What happens if a new service becomes available which provides a meta service? That’s a story.

If you want to obtain a copy of a report which describes one new service taking shape, send an email to darkcyber333 at yandex dot com. A government or company email address is required. Will there be exceptions? Nope.

No Happy New Years to Thomson Reuters from the Intercept and none from me for those wanting a document without the required email type.

I know, “Humbug.”

Stephen E Arnold, December 23, 2019


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