Jun 24, 2020 - Technology

Anonymous digs up vast tranche of U.S. police documents

Protester wearing guy fawkes mask

Protester in India wearing Guy Fawkes mask. Photo: Sanchit Khanna/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Individuals affiliated with Anonymous, the loosely organized hacker collective, pilfered a massive amount of data from police organizations nationwide that was later made public, Wired's Andy Greenberg reports.

Driving the news: Anonymous provided the tranche to Distributed Denial of Secrets (DDoSecrets), a transparency collective that serves as a repository for prior hacks. On Friday, DDoSecrets posted the tranche, known as “BlueLeaks,” to its website.

Details: The hack involved 269 gigabytes worth of police data, including “emails, audio, video, and intelligence documents, with more than a million files in total,” according to Wired.

  • “Over the weekend, supporters of DDOSecrets, Anonymous, and protesters worldwide began digging through the files to pull out frank internal memos about police efforts to track the activities of protesters," Wired reports. “The documents also reveal how law enforcement has described groups like the antifascist movement Antifa.”
  • While the leaked data includes information from "more than 200 state, local, and federal agencies," much of the stolen tranche appears to draw from documents from law enforcement fusion centers nationwide, which serve as hubs for intelligence-sharing between police departments and state and federal organizations.
  • DDoSecrets members did edit out “more than 50 gigabytes” of material before publishing the documents, but group members left in banking information as well as personally identifiable information of police officers.

Our thought bubble: Though nothing in the leak appears to be classified, the potential sensitivity of the data reflects a growing understanding that even government documents that aren't designated "secret" can have significant intelligence value — especially when disclosed in bulk. 

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