At the behest of the US government, German authorities have seized a computer server that hosted large amounts of files from scores of US federal, state and local law enforcement agencies obtained in a Houston data breach last month.
The server was being used by a WikiLeaks-like data transparency collective called Distributed Daniels of Secrets to share documents – many tagged “for official use only” – that shed light on US police practices.
The data, dating back to 1996, include email, audio and video files and police and FBI intelligence reports. The data is called “Blue Likes”, said Emma Best, founder of DDoSecrets, which comes from more than 200 agencies. It has been said that sexual harassment cases and references to children have been snapped up, but the names, phone numbers and emails of police officers have not been rewritten, said Best, who uses his / her pronoun .
Best said that DDesocerus obtained data from an outsider who sympathized with the nationwide protest against police killings of unarmed black people. Some files provided insight into the police’s response to those protests, he said.
Hacking into computers and stealing data is a federal crime, with US courts consistently ruling that journalists can publish stolen documents as long as they are not involved in their theft. DDoSecrets states that it is a journalist organization that shares documents in the public interest.
The documents surfaced through an infringement of Houston web-design company Netacial, which hosts portals for law enforcement agencies and “fusion centers” to share threat intelligence with local and state police on 9/11 State-run operations and private sector partners created after the attacks.
The prosecutor’s office in Zwickau, a German city near the Czech border, said in an email statement Wednesday that the server was seized on July 3 in the city of Falkenstein following a request from US authorities.
The FBI declined to comment. A spokesman for the US Embassy in Berlin did not respond to phone calls and emails.
The statement from Zwickau prosecutors said it would be up to the German judicial authorities to decide whether to hand over the servers to the US authorities.
It said that it would not give a reason for the request of the US. Nor will it be representative of the server hosting company Hetzner Online.
Best stated that he felt the seizure was related to the posting of the BlueLikes documents.
He said the files were “a lot of things that are completely legal and common and scary,” including police surveillance and intelligence of suspicious origin. Best said no one has been classified.
The document dump helps uncover “the underdeveloped police intelligence system of the United States,” Brendan McQuade, a delinquent professor at the University of Southern Maine, has looked at the documents.
The files do not include high-level intelligence, but provide a window into the relationship between law enforcement at all levels, he said – one believes that the FBI does not want the public to see it “in protests Add more fuel “against brutality and racism in policing.
Best said the files remain publicly accessible through more complex means such as BitTorrent and Tor networks, both complicating censorship efforts. Best said the organization is now rebuilding its infrastructure for public access. He said, “Those are all the times we spend. ”
Shortly after posting data by DDoSecrets, Twitter permanently suspended the organization’s account for publishing links and images from links, citing a ban on posting of hacked content.
Affected by breech is the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy, a US law enforcement agency.
Its director, Judy Bradshaw, reported a violation of The Associated Press that the academy’s courses have students’ names and their drivers licenses, but no financial information.
He stated that the nativial had scores of clients in law enforcement, where it was a strong niche provider. Netshell itself confirmed the breach in an informal statement on its bare bones website and said it was assisting in the investigation, but would not provide any further information “due to the sensitivity of the customer’s information”. Officials at the National Fusion Centers Association did not respond to emails and phone calls asking if any sensitive investigations had been compromised by the breach.
But the Maine State Police said in a statement on June 26 that the FBI was investigating and the affected bulletin “may contain information such as full identification and date of birth of people under investigation by other law enforcement agencies.” It said that they could also “include persons wanted for criminal activity.” DDoSecrets was created in late 2018 as Best, a journalist specializing in liberty-of-information petitions. It has worked on various investigations with established media organizations including the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel and the American news organization McClatchy.
Data from previous DDoSecrets releases used as tax havens on offshore Hammas accounts, hacked files from the Chilean police and data from a British provider of offshore financial services on the 2016–17 Panama Papers leak Are drawn from.
Report by hindustantimes.com