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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Company Alleges CIA Knowingly Bought Flawed Software For Use In Drones

Two Massachusetts companies are at the center of a debate over whether or not the CIA willingly purchased flawed software to run in tandum with illegally re-engineered hardware for use in predator drones. The combination is said to impact the accuracy of missiles fired from the drones, by up to 39 feet. 

A lawsuit has been filed by Massachusetts-based Intelligent Integration Systems (IISI) and involves Netezza, a data warehousing company who's software is said to be incompatible with current versions of IISI's code. According to the allegations Netezza  "illegally and hastily reverse-engineered" IISI's code and the CIA knowingly purchased the offering.

"My reaction was one of stun, amazement that they want to kill people with my software that doesn't work," IISI Chief Technology Officer Richard Zimmerman is quoted as saying in a deposition.

In it's defense Netezza CEO Jim Baum is quoted as writing "We believe that the claims made against Netezza by IISI are without merit, and we intend to vigorously defend ourselves against those claims in court," a statement said. "We did not rely on IISI's trade secrets or confidential information in developing our own geospatial product."

The CIA obviously considers 39 feet an acceptable margin of error when it comes to lobbing explosives at important targets, that's about the distance between my house and my neighbours. Yikes!