"The company, Sqrrl Data Inc., was founded by six former employees of the National Security Agency. They had helped build the massive database the NSA uses to store and analyze the billions of bits of information it gathers on Americans and people around the world…. It has generated lots of buzz in the technology world, no less because its investors include the venture capital wing of the Central Intelligence Agency, which is also a customer…. Ely Kahn, a Sqrrl cofounder, was director of cybersecurity at the National Security staff in the Obama White House."
They also funded Ron Paul's campaign and got all his campaign contributors on file.
"NSA veterans’ start-up offers secure data mining; For this firm, spying uproar a plus" by Michael B. Farrell | Globe Staff, November 04, 2013
The National Security Agency’s digital snooping may have inflamed a national debate over privacy, but it has been a godsend for a tiny start-up in Cambridge.
I'm starting to wonder about the debate, especially since it is so prevalent in my agenda-pu$hing paper.
The company, Sqrrl Data Inc., was founded by six former employees of the spy agency. They had helped build the massive database the NSA uses to store and analyze the billions of bits of information it gathers on Americans and people around the world. Sqrrl (pronounced “squirrel”) had planned to release a new commercial version of the NSA database, called Accumulo, in mid-June, timed to a prominent technology conference that would be full of potential customers.
But just before the launch, Edward Snowden dropped the bomb on the NSA.
The Sqrrl guys and their financial backers were swiftly besieged with calls from reporters asking if they were connected to the surveillance, and suddenly what had been a selling point of their business — their NSA pedigree — looked like a toxic association.
“It was an ‘Oh crap’ moment,” recalled Chris Lynch, the venture capitalist who helped the former NSA employees get Sqrrl going.
For the next few days, as one Snowden disclosure after another rocked the country, the Sqrrl founders went into lock-down, refusing to talk to the outside world while assessing whether the burgeoning scandal would doom their business….
They were even worried how the scandal would affect friends and former colleagues at the NSA.
But it turns out — much to their surprise — that there was little danger to their business. Quite the contrary. Far from being tainted by their NSA past, the Sqrrl team is benefiting from the exposure.
And I always ask, who benefits? Who truly benefits from all the hacking and spying other than software and data collection companies? Is it possible that the indu$try and government could be the ones behind the problem as they often are in so many cases? The same problems they say are threats for which they have the $olution?
Indeed, the surveillance controversy put a spotlight not just on the NSA’s practices, but on the agency’s ability to develop highly sophisticated tools to handle data from every corner of the Internet.
“The private sector is looking at this and saying, ‘Wow, we’d really love to have what you guys have over there,’ ” said Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, an Oxford professor and technology expert. “So many companies sit on huge data troves, and they are wondering if there is anything else they can do with it,” he said. The NSA “just showed the way forward.”
In the highly evolving, highly competitive world of Big Data, Sqrrl had what few other companies could offer: a military-grade program that could sift vast troves of data like no other, and, just as important, provide fortress-like protection from hackers and data thieves….
Tell it to Target.
Related: Hacking is Good Bu$ine$$
Security firm traces malware back to Russian teen
First Al-CIA-Duh is threatening the Olympics, then Snowden was a spy for Russia (no evidence, of course), and now a Russian kid is responsible for the massive hacking attack on consumers -- that is going to benefit banks!
Six Zionist Companies Own 96% of the World's Media
Declassified: Massive Israeli manipulation of US media exposed
Why Am I No Longer Reading the Newspaper?
I sure think so. That's who is telling me all this, and I don't believe a f***ing word!
Since June, Sqrrl has been on a fast ascent. It recently closed deals with several major health care providers and telecommunications companies, and it has a pipeline of more than 100 potential contracts, representing revenue in excess of $10 million. It’s hiring more engineers and sales people, moving into a larger office in Central Square, and just banked a $5.2 million investment from two of Boston’s leading venture capital firms.
In many ways, what the government does with data technology is the same thing private industry wants.
The pure$t form of fa$ci$m.
Both are eager to use massive amounts of digital information being collected on people and glean new insights from it. The government wants to detect terrorist threats, while marketers, retailers, and Internet companies are looking for new customers or information on buying habits….
It's not about "terrorists" and marketing! It's about the total $urveillance $ociety.
Another hot data analytics company that straddles the worlds of government and commerce: Palantir Technologies Inc., which was founded by engineers associated with Stanford University and PayPal. It offers software that government agencies and businesses use to collect and rapidly analyze data. It has generated lots of buzz in the technology world, no less because its investors include the venture capital wing of the Central Intelligence Agency, which is also a customer and has used it to help hunt for terrorists.
The other key thing federal agencies and companies want from these new data tools is security. While the government built Accumulo with security in mind, many of the commercially available Big Data tools did not have the same level of encryption and protection that Sqrrl’s product offers. And given that hackers have stolen sensitive customer information from many companies, businesses are keen for any product that would better safeguard their data.
So, far from being put off by the privacy implications of the NSA controversy, some big companies with digital warehouses full of information saw something in the Sqrrl version for themselves.
“A lot of customers believe it’s the right solution, since it came from the NSA,” said Will Gaskins, managing director of Efiia Group, a Washington computer consulting firm that vets commercial software products for companies and government agencies.
At least a dozen Efiia clients are considering using Sqrrl — many of them since the NSA revelations surfaced.
If anything, the privacy debate had a corollary benefit for Sqrrl because it served to showcase the high level of security its Accumulo product had because of its NSA pedigree.
“Customers aren’t really concerned about the privacy debates around the NSA leaks, they are concerned about what the technology can do,” said Ely Kahn, a Sqrrl cofounder who was director of cybersecurity at the National Security staff in the Obama White House.
Related: President offers plan to curtail surveillance
So much for hope, change, and transparency. At least we know who will be getting the contracts.
Sqrrl is reluctant to talk about what its customers are using its technology for, or exactly what Accumulo was used for at the NSA. That information is still classified, said Khan, the company’s director of business development.
Moreover, the company pointedly says it has not tried to exploit the NSA scandal to promote its product.
Nonetheless, all the attention on Sqrrl has been validation for its executives….
Time to Sqrrl away this post.
Related: Globe Backs Down on Liberian Dictator Story
Pretty much invalidates anything you see in their pages, doesn't it?