This is some potentially explosive information.

Data Talks

Leaks from a sketchy data broker have seemingly revealed the locations of hundreds of people who visited Little St. James, the notorious US Virgin Islands haunt owned by convicted — and now deceased — sex criminal Jeffrey Epstein.

In an ongoing investigation, Wired has found that the firm in question, Near Intelligence, not only collected data that points to Little St. James' visitors returning home to their wealthy neighborhoods all over the US and the world, but also to lower-income areas — some of which were known to be hunting grounds for the pedophile's trafficking scheme.

Near Intelligence filed for bankruptcy last December after the Wall Street Journal reported that it not only collected and compiled so-called "geofenced" data, or data from location-based targeted ads, but also that it sold some of that information to military contractors.

Shell Game

When you see any targeted ad on a website or app, you're experiencing the end result of a complex and automatic bidding process in which data about your demographics and shopping preferences are sent lightning-fast to a marketing platform. The highest-bidding ad wins, and in exchange, advertisers — and, in many cases, firms like Near Intelligence — get your data to do with as they please.

Throwing geofencing into the mix means that firms like Near Intelligence are privy not just to who you are, but also to where you go. In this case, location data from multiple cell tower "pings" allowed Near Intelligence to track each individual users' movements and create maps of where they went.

Using a product called Vista, which has since been purchased and folded into another product named Pinnacle, Near Intelligence produced data reports, which included cross-referenced maps, for all kinds of locations — including, as Wired discovered, multiple maps related to Little St. James' visitors. The magazine learned of this data when looking through Pinnacle's public source code, which linked to reports like those gleaned from Epstein's so-called "Pedophile Island."

In a statement to Wired, a spokesperson for Near Intelligence declined to comment on why those specific maps were created or if the data they contained were sold to anyone. As the report indicates, the firm has quietly resumed its operations since filing for bankruptcy.

The magazine has declined to provide specifics about the location data it accessed via Near Intelligence's insecure vendors to protect the privacy of those who might have been Epstein's victims. The report does, however, detail some of the tonier locations the data firm had information on, including Martha's Vinyard, a Miami nightclub, and — fascinatingly — Trump Tower in Manhattan.

More on Epstein associates: Stephen Hawking Implicated in Jeffrey Epstein Documents

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