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Potentially sensitive files from hundreds of police departments published by hackers

Potentially sensitive files from hundreds of police departments published by hackers
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An anonymous group has published hundreds of thousands of potentially sensitive files from more than 200 police departments and FBI offices across the US.

The collection, dubbed “BlueLeaks” and made searchable online, has nearly 270 gigabytes worth of internal memos, emails, and officers' personal information. The release came from a group called the Distributed Denial of Secrets, or DDoSecrets.

In a post on Twitter, DDoSecrets said the collection includes "10 years of data from over 200 police departments, fusion centers and other law enforcement training and support resources,” and that “among the hundreds of thousands of documents are police and FBI reports, bulletins, guides and more.”

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The documents were obtained by hackers who said they were aligned with Anonymous, according to WIRED.

The data appears to be stolen from a security breach at Netsential, a Houston-based web development firm, according to a National Fusion Center Association memo obtained by security reporter Brian Krebs.

Some of the documents leaked suggest that the FBI is collecting intelligence on protests from social media and feeding it to local police departments. Others show police departments tracking down certain protesters by their tattoos or clothing.

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DDoSecrets described itself as a “stable platform for the public to access data and an anonymity shield for sources to share it," but noted it is “uninvolved in the exfiltration of data."

The FBI and the National Association of Chiefs of Police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Stewart Baker, a former assistant secretary of policy at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security told Krebs the leaks are unlikely to show police misconduct though they may “put lives at risk” as human sources or undercover police may be revealed.

“Every organized crime operation in the country will likely have searched for their own names before law enforcement knows what’s in the files, so the damage could be done quickly,” he said. “I’d also be surprised if the files produce much scandal or evidence of police misconduct. That’s not the kind of work the fusion centers do.”