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Piracy Lawsuit Could Ground CIA’s Predator Drones

Al Qaeda and the Taliban haven’t been able to bring down the CIA’s Predator drones. But a new lawsuit alleging parts of their targeting software are pirated (and faulty) could. On December 7, 2010, Massachusetts Superior Court Judge Margaret Hinkle is expected to issue a decision on a complicated contract and intellectual property-related lawsuit that could ground the CIA’s Predator drones.

Intelligent Integration Systems (IISi), a small Boston-based software development firm, alleges that their Geospatial Toolkit and Extended SQL Toolkit were pirated by Massachusetts-based Netezza for use by a government client. Subsequent evidence and court proceedings revealed that the “government client” seeking assistance with Predator drones was none other than the Central Intelligence Agency.

IISi is seeking an injunction that would halt the use of their two toolkits by Netezza for three years. Most importantly, IISi alleges in court papers that Netezza used a “hack” version of their software with incomplete targeting functionality in response to rushed CIA deadlines. As a result, Predator drones could be missing their targets by as much as 12m.

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