September 10, 2007

Paterva Evolution is dead, long live Maltego

Author: Joe Barr

As noted in the update to our review of Paterva Evolution, a personal data mining tool, Roelof Temmingh has removed the binaries for the application after having received legal threats over its use. In an email on the Paterva announcement's mailing list over the weekend, Temmingh revealed more about why the binaries
had to be removed and unveiled his plans for future work on the project.

Temmingh explains:

On Thursday August 30, soon after the article, I received an
aggressive mail from someone (that will remain unnamed) that told me
I'll be hearing from Novell lawyers real soon - because of alleged
trademark infringement on Novell's Evolution. Note - this person was
not actually from Novell, but did CC three addresses at I
responded to the email, and CC-ed the 3 other email addresses saying
that I never intended confusion (and doubt it very much), have no
intention of stealing Novell customers, and if they have a problem
with the name they should let me know and I'll make a plan to change
it. I have not heard from either Novell or the individual that wrote
the email. But - this is not the reason why I took down the system or
changed the name.

Later the same day, I received a letter from a lawyer representing a
large social network.The letter was very official looking and said
'cease and desist'. I had to Google it - but from the tone of the
email it was clear that they were not pleased with what I did with
Evolution. They had a couple of demands - one being that I stop the
offending transform immediately. This was a wakeup call - and I
pulled the plug. It was indeed a tragic day and I taught me a great
deal about what the Internet has become.

That's the bad news. For users of the tool, the rest of Temmingh's announcement contained more positive news. Although he requests that previous versions no longer be used because it violates the terms of use of some providers of data sources, there will be a new version -- with a new name -- that will avoid that problem.

Temmingh says the new version of the application will not use any Google-related sources, opting instead for the Yahoo search engine. He said in his note that "It appears that the Yahoo TOU allows for automation without heavy restrictions. Currently the queries from the web interface are limited to a couple of thousand a day but I'll apply at Yahoo for more queries
in a bit (so if you don't get any results it might be that we're out of queries for the 24h period)."

There were also problems with the terms of use at some of the social networking sites, and some of those have had to be removed from the new version. Temmingh says that work is going on behind the scenes that may result in access to those sites once again.

The new version -- called Maltego -- is available now on the Paterva website. Temmingh says the new name is pronounced "maal tee goh," adding that you can use "My Alter Ego" to help remember it.


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