Hacking Team (previously) was an Italian cybermercenary company that sold surveillance tools to the world's most vicious autocrats and dictators, only to collapse when all of its internal documents were hacked and dumped online by an unknown person who claimed to be motivated by a desire to expose their complicity in human rights abuses including torture and murder.
The Hacking Team mercenaries keep turning up anew in rebranded startups, but anyone who was involved with Hacking Team should be permanently disqualified from any role involving information security, the same way that ex-KGB officers should be permanently disqualified from roles in politics or policing (yeah, I know).
The latest group of Hacking Team war criminals to find themselves reaccepted into polite society is the staff of Neutrino, a startup acquired by the cryptocurrency company Coinbase, to do forensic tracking of blockchain transactions.
Many Coinbase users have concluded that they do not want to entrust their finances to a company that includes these unsavory characters, and so was born the #DeleteCoinbase movement to coordinate divestiture from the company.
However, Coinbase will only allow you to delete your account if it has a zero balance, free of "dust" (infinitesimal residues left behind from fractional cryptocurrency transactions) and users are finding it impossible to rid themselves of their dust, which Coinbase insists is merely an accident and nothing to do with not wanting disgruntled users to leave.
Self-described Bitcoin maximalist Jeremy Seaside participated in the #DeleteCoinbaseTrustChain, cleared all of his Coinbase accounts out, but still couldn't close his accounts, he told me in a Twitter direct message.
A screenshot shared with Motherboard shows that he completed all the necessary steps to close his account, but an error message nonetheless tells him, "You can't complete the account closure quite yet."
"I have completed 12 different steps, only to be told I still cannot close my account," Seaside told me in a Twitter direct message. "I am currently waiting for their customer support to help resolve the issue—but in the meantime, I am still a user, subject to their terms of service, which now apparently involves unprecedented levels of personal financial surveillance."
Coinbase Users Struggle to Delete Their Accounts in Protest [Jordan Pearson/Motherboard]