When we store timestamps (for example as part of the row key or part of the column name for an event), the bytes are used as is without any encoding. If the byte value happens to contain a separator character we use (e.g. "!" or "="), it causes a parse failure when we read it.
I came across this while looking into this error in the timeline reader:
I traced the data that was causing this, and the column name (for the event) was the following:
Note that the column name is supposed to be of the format (event id)=(timestamp)=(event info key). However, observe the timestamp portion:
The presence of the separator ("=") causes the parse error.