This is a book written by the now infamous hacker known as CygonX, former tech CEO, and international fugitive. After he accidently crippled an NSA surveillance platform, the FBI was dispatched to raid his home, business, and datacenters. As was covered by the national news media and Wired Magazine, these raids took hundreds of legitimate businesses offline, and resulted in the largest data seizure in US history. From the over 200 Terabytes collected, the US Attorney’s Office used hundreds of emails, taken out of context, to tell just the story they wanted the jury to hear. Forbe’s Magazine referred to the technique as Kafkaesque, noting this particular case involved twice as much electronic “evidence” as the Enron case. The defense was effectively buried beneath a mountain of “electronic discovery” with no technical means of searching through it to explain the context of the government’s evidence.
After his capture in 2010, CygonX (real name: M. Blaine Faulkner) spent almost 3 years fighting the case before ultimately being sentenced to 30 years in prison, ostensibly for unpaid phone bills. It was said that as he owned the company that owned a telecom company, that owed AT&T money, that couldn’t be paid once the FBI seized the company’s bank accounts. Thus, he had committed fraud. Since that time, it’s been alleged that Faulkner was actually a conman, gun runner, murderer, and the defacto Chief Technology Officer of a Mexican Cartel. An Assistant US Attorney once told a reporter that Faulkner was a genius, albeit a truly evil one. His reputation grew, and as he passed through the federal prison system he was sought out by a variety of colorful criminals for technical advice. Shortly after falling into this underworld of crime he began to notice certain patterns in the tracking, targeting, seizures, and prosecutions of these would-be criminals.
In 2013 former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked NSA documents detailing US government surveillance programs. With this information, more of the pieces fell into place. With the assistance of many unincarcerated friends, family, lawyers, and supporters, a crusade was launched to research and document the government surveillance systems involved in Faulkner’s prosecution. With his life utterly destroyed, the question was simply “why?”. Countless Freedom of Information Act requests were filed. Experts were interviewed, and thousands of hours were spent combing through case law and electronic discovery.
What was finally uncovered was far more than anyone could have anticipated, even the NSA. Big Data Small Targets is the complete account of what was found, how it works, who’s behind it, and how you can avoid it.
About the Author: M. Blaine Faulkner, AKA CygonX, is a Network Security Engineer with decades of experience in many high tech fields including database design, IT infrastructure, telecommunications, and ecommerce applications. Since authoring his first book, Invisible Banking, he’s worked full-time towards the completion of Big Data Small Targets. When he isn’t writing, he’s studying advanced mathematics, cryptography, or linguistics.