Australian cyber-security company Nuix, played a key role in the Süddeutsche Zeitung and International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) Panama Papers investigation.
The company supplied document processing and investigation technology that was essential to the investigation when Süddeutsche Zeitung received an anonymous data leak.
The total of the leak was 2.6 terabytes of data and approximately 11.5 million documents detailing the activities of Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, that helped clients set up anonymous offshore companies. The investigation uncovered that a couple of these companies were allegedly used for unlawful purposes such as tax evasion, drug trafficking and fraud.
According to ICIJ director, Gerard Ryle, Nuix software was ‘indispensable’ to the inquiry and was used to process, index, and analyse all data.
Additionally, investigators used the company’s optical character recognition to make the millions of scanned documents text-searchable. They also used Nuix analytical tools, specifically its named entity extraction to identify and cross-reference the names of Mossack Fonseca clients throughout the documents.
“This is a huge trove of data by investigative journalism standards. It is around 10 times the data volume and five times the number of documents of ICIJ’s Offshore Leaks investigation in 2013,” said Nuix chief executive, Eddie Sheehy.
“At the same time, this is only a medium-sized document set in the worlds of eDiscovery or regulatory investigations—some of our customers handle similar volumes of data every day. Nuix is the only technology in the world that can handle this much data and that many documents with speed and precision,” Sheehy continued.
Nuix donated the software to Süddeutsche Zeitung and ICIJ for the purposes of the investigation.