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Netezza pays to shut down CIA killer drone lawsuit

Faulty targeting row hushed

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Netezza has settled a lawsuit in which it was accused of supplying inaccurate, illegally hacked software to the CIA's drone assassination programme.

The potentially explosive case was brought by Intelligent Integration Systems (IISi), a Boston-based software firm. It was seeking an injunction which could have forced the CIA to strip out targeting systems from its clandestine Predator programme.

The drones are used to kill terrorists in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen.

Under the terms of settlement, Netezza, recently acquired by IBM, will own the versions of IISi's "Geospatial" software developed for its data warehousing kit. The payout has not been disclosed.

IISi will retain rights to develop the software for other platforms. It allows real time cross-referencing of geographic information with stored data. Court documents cited the example of matching live mobile phone location intelligence to an identity database.

Such targeting methods are known to be employed by CIA drone operators.

Netezza was accused of hacking an innaccurate version of Geospatial for the agency after IISi refused to meet a tight deadline to port it to new hardware.

"My reaction was one of stunned amazement that they want to kill people with my software that doesn't work," IISi's CTO Richard Zimmerman told the court.

Court documents suggested the CIA used the version of the software hacked by Netezza, despite knowing it produced coordinates inaccurate by up to 13 metres.

The full story is here. The settlement, which ends all litigation and bars any further disclosures, is effective from today. ®

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