Digging through the data dumps

When two of the biggest global corruption stories of the decade were broken earlier this year, ANU alumni were at the heart of them, as DR PHIL DOOLEY, BSc (Hons) ’90, PhD ’99 reports.

When The Age investigative journalist Nick McKenzie obtained 27 gigabytes of computer data from Unaoil, the head of his unit Michael Bachelard, BA (Hons) ’91 was jubilant.

“Nothing is as good as documentary evidence. For journalism that’s gold,” says Bachelard.

“Unaoil won’t deny that the emails were sent; they cannot deny it, the evidence is all there.

“This kind of data is a great way of getting hard evidence of wrongdoing. There will be charges laid as a result of our investigation.”

Allegations of global corporate corruption within the oil industry were at the centre of the data dump, and police have since raided the Monaco-based company as a result.

A month after Fairfax Media and The Huffington Post exposed the Unaoil scandal, the Panama Papers – a data dump a thousand times larger than Unaoil – was released.

These are the latest in a series of leaks since Wikileaks began in 2006 that have dished the dirt on previously untouchable institutions and individuals.