I see there is a thread or two here with some discussion concerning how well insulated Xerobank is against demands from the intelligence community or law enforcement to turn over information. All the energy spent pondering this question would be a pointless exercise if…and let me be clear here…I say, IF it turns out that Xerobank happens to be a participating member or a supporting member of the intelligence community itself. The good relationship Steve Topletz apparently has with certain national intelligence agencies in the United States hasn’t exactly been a well guarded secret. Mr. Tobletz even wrote about getting together for consultations with members of the FBI on Xerobank’s own forum. He also wrote about being invited inside the AT&T building that houses the NSA’s (formerly) ultra top-secret telecommunications eavesdropping room. He even went so far as to post up a picture he took during his visit! While Mr. Topletz’s pedigree related to privacy rights is impressive (e.g., Cult of the Dead Cow’s Hacktivismo Project that brought the world Torpark) the posts on his forum did raise an eyebrow or two there among the faithful. Other bits of data and information have surfaced from time to time about Xerobank that caused more than just eyebrows to be raised. The data and information that posters here and other places have brought to light appear to be well documented. Much of it starkly conflicts with what Mr. Toplez has had to say about Xerobank’s origins and affiliations. Such conflictions quite naturally raise questions in the rational mind. Unfortunately, these questions often become escalated into full-blown assumptions due to the incomplete manner in which they are addressed, or as in most cases, not addressed by Xerobank. Instead of the point-on-point responses that Xerobank’s customers deserve and thought would be forthcoming, they received highly skilled demonstrations of how to successfully bob and weave when sparing with even the most articulate of forum participants and bloggers on the world wide web today. Mr. Topletz and his proxies are truly artful dodgers. Anyone foolish enough to wade into the deep end of the wordplay pool with them usually winds up becoming drowned in the same frustration that comes from trying to nail jello to a wall. The specific evidentiary points raised are never directly addressed. Pointed questions either get deflected or outright ignored. One has to wonder if this is a natural skill or the result of some special training. Unfortunately, whatever Xerobank’s true affiliations have been or are will more than likely continue to remain a mystery. Should Mr. Topletz or any of his numerous shadows come swooping down on this thread to do a little damage control, I feel certain we’ll learn very little more from them about what’s behind the mask that Xerobank continues to display. However, if we’re resourceful, perhaps we can learn a little on our own. Care to join me? This is a recent media document apparently issued by Xerobank to an organization for one reason or another. Perhaps it was related to an event at which Mr. Topletz made a presentation, or perhaps not. It doesn’t really matter. What I find particularly appalling in this document is that Mr. Topletz openly and cheerfully invites members of this organization to meet and talk with him and other members of Xerobank. He later graciously invites them to email him or his team members. An excerpt from the link reads, Meet Us XeroBank team members can be found all over the world. We will be hosting an event at the DefCon convention in Las Vegas in August, presenting at the IPCybercrime Bootcamp in September, and speaking at the ISS World conference in Washington DC in October. We encourage you to attend, and any of our team members would be happy to meet with you. This has to be particularly galling for Xerobank customers. The Xerobank “team” apparently has plenty of time to flit around to different cities in the US to do presentations and put on training workshops for intelligence gathering organizations, but not a moment to spare to take care of a single support ticket. I didn’t look to see what Mr. Topletz’s presentation was about at DefCon, but the agenda for his next presentation was a little more informative…even has a right smart picture of him on it as well: IPC Cybercrive Boot Camp Seems the private online investigative firm, IPCybercrime mentioned in the link liked having Steve at its investigator training “bootcamp” so much last year, that it invited him back again. IPCybercrime, by the way, uses cutting edge technology and uses innovative techniques it developed to track and locate individuals online. The firm and its flamboyant owner have previously been profiled on national news programs. As these two events are already over with, I suppose the only opportunity left for Xerobank customers to get a word with its “Operations Advisor” is at the ISS World Conference in Washington DC coming up this October. ISS’ full title is, “TeleStrategies’ Intelligence Support Systems for Lawful Interception, Criminal Investigations and Intelligence Gathering”. According to theagenda, ISS World Americas is the world's largest gathering of North American, Caribbean and Latin American law enforcement, intelligence, homeland security analysts and telecom operators responsible for lawful interception, electronic investigations and network intelligence. This event is huge! A workshop or presentation will be given on every conceivable subject one can imagine related to communications intercept and internet forensics. The event is so big, in fact, that the workshops will be split into seven different training segments or, “tracks”. The event flyer states that each track will target a “different segment of the lawful intercept market”. The sponsorship list reads like a Langley, Virginia Who’s Who list. Mr. Topletz’s presentation will be part of Training Track 6 and will occur on Wednesday, October 13, 2010 at 2:45. Track 6 is described in the agenda as follows: Track 6: Special OSINT Sessions - Naked Intelligence ISS World and Naked Intelligence have partnered to create the world’s most unique Intelligence Support Systems and Intelligence Gathering conference track. This track combines hands-on access to intelligence support systems solution providers with valuable insight and know-how presented by experienced practitioners of intelligence. Now...granted, not knowing the full context for the motives surrounding Xerobank’s obviously cozy relationship with the intelligence community, all one can do is speculate. Perhaps the biggest question of all is, why would the very people who have shouted the loudest warnings about how governments around the world continually violate the basic human right to privacy be offering them information and training? What are the driving factors at work here? Has idealism been replaced by misguided pragmatism or, worse, by materialism? As someone in one of the other threads pointed out, logic dictates that Xerobank’s business model isn’t sustainable. With far-flung operations in a foreign country far away from its main customer base, along with huge communication and server costs, it does not seem realistic that a large enough customer base could be out there to support it…especially now when its customers are being driven away by a complete and total lack of support. Presenters for events like these cited aren’t paid all that much, if at all. Which makes one wonder, where does the income for the "team members all over the world" come from? Folks…I don’t know what the answers to these questions are, but I think its fairly obvious by now that the credibility gap that has surrounded Xerobank for awhile now just got a bit wider. Could it be that just as the words night and day go together, that we have a case here where words like honey and pot do also? If so, given the human rights issues Mr. Topletz and his associates proclaim they stand for, it would be a betrayal of the highest and most foul order.