Privacy SOS

Bank of America employs 20 full-time social media spies, watches anarchists and occupy protesters

Bank of America works with fusion centers, the FBI, state and local police, and campus security to monitor public protest in the United States, newly disclosed documents confirm.

A Washington state public records request has unearthed an email chain which includes a message from a Vice President of Global Corporate Security for Bank of America, describing efforts to combat economic justice organizing. The official explains that the powerful financial institution employs a staff of 20 full-time social media spies, and references public-private surveillance efforts directed at activists who aim to hold banks accountable for social crises like the foreclosure disaster.

The bank official, Kimberly Triplett-Kolerich, says she is a former Washington State Patrol officer with 25 years of experience in law enforcement. On September 23, 2013, Triplett-Kolerich wrote:

I am [now] the Operational Criminal Intel Analyst for Bank of America for the 14 western states and also am the NW Executive Protection Market Manager. From time to time I will see items that I believe will be of use to my friends at WSP–especially during session. May Day I will pick your brain for intel and I will give you a lot also–the Public-Private Partnership worked great last year and hopefully being ahead of the Anarchists will protect all of you from protests/arrests/injury.

If you find any intel on Anarchists or Occupy Protesters please let me know–I will most likely find it first as Social Media trolling is not what the WSP does best–Bank of America has a team of 20 people and that's all they do all day and then pass it to us around the country!!

The documents returned in the records request pertain specifically to police preparations for the Million Mask March in Seattle, Washington. According to the documents, the protestors, many of whom identify as anarchists, set out to oppose “the corporate control of all aspects of our daily lives,” and “the use and expansion of the FBI, DHS, NSA and other government agencies for the sole purpose of silencing free speech, and treating us like terrorists.” Little did the activists know that ‘homeland security’ agencies were busy monitoring their protest preparations, in cooperation with one of the most powerful banks in the country.

A 2013 report on corporate espionage directed against protest movements and NGOs asserted that as many as one in four corporate accountability activists might actually be a private spy.

As the Bank of America corporate security VP said in her email to a Washington State trooper, "the Private-Public Partnership [works] great"! But who does it work for, the powerful or we the people?

© 2021 ACLU of Massachusetts.