How this Australian software company helped analyse 11.5 million Panama Papers documents

General image of a data room. Photo: Sean Gallup/ Getty Images.

An Australian company is behind the software used to analyse the data from this week’s Panama Papers scandal.

Nuix, an Sydney-based software company, supplied document processing and investigation technology to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) to help them process the 11.5 million documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.

German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and the ICIJ used Nuix software to “process, index, and analyse” the data, which was then published as the first set of results on April 4.

“Investigators used Nuix’s optical character recognition to make millions of scanned documents text-searchable. They used Nuix’s named entity extraction and other analytical tools to identify and cross-reference the names of Mossack Fonseca clients through millions of documents,” Nuix says on its website.

“Nuix donated the software to Süddeutsche Zeitung and ICIJ for the purposes of the investigation. A Nuix consultant also advised the investigators on hardware configurations and workflows. Nuix employees never saw or handled any of the leaked data—that task was undertaken by the journalists involved in the investigation.

“Nuix technology was an indispensable part of our work on the Panama Papers investigation, as it has been with Offshore Leaks and many of our other in-depth investigative stories,” said ICIJ director Gerard Ryle.

Carl Barron, a senior solutions consultant at Nuix, was the lead for the Panama Papers project.

In a video posted on YouTube, Barron explained how Nuix got involved and also the Optimal Character Recognition (OCR) technology used to digitise the documents, giving investigators “a single window into the data” to break down into results.

See it here.