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Technology / Data

GCHQ open sources Gaffer code to GitHub

GCHQ has released open source code on the popular code-sharing website GitHub.

The British security organisation uploaded a project titled, "Gaffer" which is a graph database for storing different kinds of data.

Gaffer has been labelled on the site as a framework that: "makes it easy to store large-scale graphs in which the nodes and edges have statistics such as counts, histograms and sketches."

The move is an uncommon one for agency which is well known for monitoring communications.

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The tool uses Accumulo, which is a low-latency, large table data storage and retrieval system with cell-level security that was originally developed at the National Security Agency.

Gaffer can be used for the creation of graphs with summarised properties within Accumulo, with low levels of coding required.

It also allows for the easy addition of new types of nodes and edges; quick retrieval of data on nodes of interest, and allows data to be dealt with that holds different security levels, with all data having a visibility.

This last feature can be used to restrict who can see data, based on their authorisations.

Gaffer2 is in development but GCHQ does say that the hope is that a more general purpose graph database system will result from it being on GitHub.

GCHQ recently took to advertising on pavements in Shoreditch, with the hope of trying to recruit developers from the area.

The release of the source code on GitHub may be another way for it to try and attract or detect talent.
This article is from the CBROnline archive: some formatting and images may not be present.