24 October 2014

BofA offers to monitor Occupy protesters' social media activity for police

07 January 2014  |  5469 views  |  0 Bank of America signage

Bank of America offered up the services of its "social media trolling" team to US police last year, boasting that it could help gather intelligence on anarchists and Occupy Wall Street activists ahead of a planned demonstration.

In e-mails published thanks to a Washington state public records request, Kim Triplett-Kolerich, a vice president for global corporate security at the bank, offers help to the Washington State Patrol (WSP) ahead of 5 November 2013's 'Million Mask March' in the city of Olympia.

Triplett-Kolerich, a former WSP sergeant, asks an officer charged with policing the event for intelligence on "Anarchists or Occupy Protesters" but adds: "I will most likely find it first as Social Media trolling is not what the WSP does best--Bank of America has a team of 20 people and that's all they do all day and then pass it to us around the country!!"

The 5 November Million Mask March saw demonstrators wearing the Guy Fawkes masks synonymous with the Occupy movement and Anonymous hacking collective gather in hundreds of cities around the world.

The three hour Olympia event attracted around 100 protesters and passed off peacefully despite the concerns of BofA and the WSP, according to Storyleak. Nevertheless, local activist Andrew Hendricks - who brought the e-mails into the public light - says authorities spent 600 hours of response time and $28,000 on policing it.

Bank of America has a history of tangling with the Occupy and Anonymous movements. Last February an Anonymous-affiliated group leaked what it claimed was a cache of e-mails and internal reports proving that a bank sub-contractor was spying on hactivists.

Anonymous also targeted BofA with cyber-attacks for cutting off donations to WikiLeaks amid claims that the whistle-blowing site had a cache of sensitive documents on the bank. At one stage, rattled by the expected leak, BofA snapped up hundreds of abusive domain names for its senior executives and board members before critics could.

KeywordsSOCIAL MEDIA

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