Paedophile Island:  How publically available advertising data revealed who visited Epstein’s island

Most visits to a secluded tropical island would be something you’d likely want to humbly brag about to your friends and family.  You might even want to blast them across social media and not care in the slightest if the internet collected data documenting your exclusive trip.

Unless of course the island in question was the notorious “paedophile island” of Little St James, where Jeffrey Epstein allegedly trafficked, groomed and exploited children as young as 12 years old.

A recent Wired investigation documents how data collected from Near Intelligence, a location data broker embroiled in allegations of mismanagement and fraud, reveals the exact locations and routes of nearly 200 devices visiting his property on the island over a number of years.  In many cases this data also reveals the personal homes and offices associated with these devices.

The coordinates also point to various Epstein properties beyond Little St. James, including his 8,000-acre New Mexico ranch and a waterfront mansion on El Brillo Way in Palm Beach, where prosecutors said in an indictment that Epstein trafficked numerous “minor girls” for the purposes of molesting and abusing them. 

This data is derived from “advertising exchanges”.  Before an advert appears on your phone or website, your devices send information about you to advertising exchanges, which are a bit like ebay for adverts. Advertisers use this data about you to determine in real-time how much to pay for an advert to target you at that moment.  This data about you frequently includes your location data.  While this in itself may not be particularly alarming, many companies like Near Intelligence amass this data about you, package it up, and sell it to whoever wants it, depending on the privacy laws

Interestingly, in the above case, the data does not contain any information for European locations or citizens as these individuals are protected by more stringent privacy laws.  

This raises a huge ethical question.  Everyone has a right to privacy, but do you forfeit that right when you commit such a heinous crime?  Who decides?  And does this stealth tracking perhaps help identify such victims and protect them?

On top of that consider Near claimed as far back as 2019 to have information on roughly 1.6 billion people in 44 countries… 

Is this ok?  Let us know your thoughts…