AntiSec leaks 10GB of law enforcement data

AntiSec dropped a 10GB dump of information this evening, hacked from dozens of law enforcement agencies. Promised in the cache are hundreds of compromising email spools, personal information about officers, police training videos, and the contents of insecure anonymous tip systems. [Pastee via @ioerror]


  1. great news!  I want to start filming my new internet show “bad cops
    bad cops
    bad cops,
    what cha gonna do when the beat on you
    bad cops
    bad cops

    true stories of americas finest acting like terrorists in police costumes on the streets of america
    on bad cops – to night the tazer terrorists..officer friendly

  2. Is this really private information, or just collected public information like the material from the US chamber of commerce(now they would be a good target)?

  3. Hope that this thread is not going to become a tirade against law enforcement. It’s just like any other profession – just like everywhere else, there is a small fraction of people who are a mix of genuinely incompetent with genuinely ill-meaning, and then there are the rest who, just like most of us, keep on making stupid mistakes from time to time.

    It’s just human nature. The average cop will not be worse than the average human being, or, for that matter any one of us on here.

    1. If the fact that the police didn’t have such power over their fellow citizens(and non-citizens of all types) it wouldn’t be such a problem-however they are very powerful(by design and necessity) and any recourse against abuse by them is most likely to end in failure. That’s why police are held to a higher standard-to perform their duties they need more power, but that power is easily abused. If anything it should be considered acceptable that a police officer would be considered to have broken the law for less while on duty because they can cause much damage with less effort.

      1. I fully agree with your identification of the problem, but I am not very optimistic on the feasibility of “holding to a higher standard”. Law enforcement officers are humans, so any higher standard will inevitably run into the (somewhat low) ceiling of general human nature. The only way we have soy far found to raise this ceiling is to create very narrowly defined conditions in which the level of human input is anyway minimised (e.g. airline piloting). Obviously this cannot be done for police work.

        The recourse question you raise is, in my opinion, much more important. I see no particular reason for why individuals cannot be highly empowered in some instances (e.g. police officers on duty), and then disempowered when their performance is evaluated and compensated for after the fact. Indeed, only one exception here needs to be made for law enforcement. Namely, because of their ’emergency’ role, they function in situations requiring decisions to be made under significant time pressure and high uncertainty. The stronger the time pressure and the higher the uncertainty, the greater the likelihood of a soundly executed decision turning out to actually be the wrong one, in hindsight. As a result, we need a system that does not prevent emergency responders from fulfilling their emergency function, while at the same time minimising the costs that their wrong-in-hindsight decisions unfairly cause. Some no-fault restitution fund that recompenses the thusly injured bystanders might be a solution.

    2. The average cop will not be worse than the average human being, or, for that matter any one of us on here.

      Back that up with a reference or source. Statistically, that would only be true if people were grabbed off the street at random and given badges and guns. Which I somehow doubt to be the usual hiring method.

      1. Bah. It’s just that in my experience when it comes to questions of good and evil (as well as to questions of unintentional incompetence), most human beings are surprisingly similar to one another. In any case, whatever your belief about the selection process of law enforcement officers is, it cannot be significantly worse than grabbing random people off the street. 

    3. “The average cop will not be worse than the average human being.”

      Bzzt. Wrong. Have you ever heard of ‘self-selection’. Cops aren’t all bad, but policing attracts people who enjoy exercising authority, and currently there is little effort on the part of training programs to weed out the over-aggressive. The result is that running into a cop is a lot riskier than running into an ordinary citizen even if you are doing nothing wrong. This is true even in Toronto where supposedly we have ‘good cops’ — it just ain’t true. Any random cop is likely less trustworthy than the average human being.

      1. Sadly true.  And the self-selection occurs in police departments as well.

        My father-in-law was a great guy and a great cop. But he took early retirement because he couldn’t “get along with” his supervisor.  That supervisor subsequently served time in prison for corruption.  But that didn’t bring back any of the good cops who left while he was in charge.

      2. Especially for anyone who’s disabled or otherwise vulnerable. The cops recently killed a man with brain damage while he was out on a walk with his mom. They tackled him (for some reason), screamed at his mom as she tried to explain he couldn’t hear or speak, then forced her to take a cab to the hospital while her son died in the ambulance. I’d like to think it was an isolated incident, but there was another brutal beating not too long ago involving a man who had trouble walking and a speech impediment – the cops assumed his unsteady gait meant he was drunk and beat him half to death on his doorstep. They’re still on the force after being convicted, and were given no jail time because the judge said they wouldn’t be able to handle prison.

        Then there was the G20.. haha.

        Otherwise it’s a pretty nice city.

    4. That is true only to a certain extent. I thought the same about good and bad apples until I started  attending protests. Then i saw that when your commanding officer tells you to do something bad, youre all bad apples. When your commanding officer speaks on the radio (as ive seen this) “Were going to beat them back to the subway” talking about peaceful protesters as if they are hunting rabbits, and you obey him, they are all bad apples. When you see some monkey in a suit with a giant shit-eating grin stamped on his mug because he knows hes about to beat up “hippies” with his baton, and you dont walk out of that police line, youre a bad apple.

      Ive seen a policewoman cry through her helmet as she was advancing on us at the Quebec summit of the americas in 2001. That didnt stop her from following unjust orders because she wanted to keep her job.

      Or maybe it was just the copious amount of tear gas they threw at us during that weekend, that you could smell from 10 blocks away?

      So on a day to day basis, i agree. Some good, some bad. But in my experience, when their job is on the line at protests, and they are ordered to do something unlawful or unjust, they are all bad apples.

      1. I don’t disagree with that. I just think that a lot more of us than would admit it, would, tragically, behave in much the same manner if we found ourselves in their shoes. That was the point I was trying to make from the first post onwards. Cops are not a different breed of people.

    5. It is NOT just like any other profession.  I’m not sure what you do, but I do not carry a loaded gun, Taser, baton, pepper spray, handcuffs and the authority to use those items against other citizens.  Yes, cops are probably 95% decent and 5% bad apples, but “the thin blue line” bullshit that keeps the 95% protecting and covering up for the 5% skews that ratio of good to bad a lot more than it should.  If I screw up at my job, no one is going to die, be injured, humiliated, tortured and jailed because my wife pissed in my cornflakes at breakfast.  Cops are supposed to be the best of the best – trained relentlessly to separate emotions from their actions, yet time and time again we see evidence of them acting more like high school bullies than paid protectors of the people.  And to make it worse, instead of trying to cull the bad apples, they become aggressive to people videotaping them and documenting their actions and try to pass more laws to make what should be (and probably is) a constitutional right illegal so they can go about their business unseen.  

      1. This is, indeed, the crux of the matter. We are putting people who are, more or less, averagely motivated, averagely capable, and averagely ethical into positions with highly non-average power (which both tempts to malfeasance and amplifies its impacts), and highly non-average stressors (which knock behaviour off balance).

        As a result, the fact that abuses happen is unsurprising – indeed it would have been more surprising if they did not. However, the abuses do not happen because cops are more evil than the average human, nor do they happen because scope for abuse has been designed into the system. Rather, the abuses happen because we have not yet figured out a way how a naturally occurring propensity for abuse (putting people into positions of power and stress that human beings have not really evolved for) can be designed out of the system.

        In my opinion, a major stumbling block to figuring the latter out is our current unwillingness to admit that perfectly good human beings are, under specific circumstances, liable to occasionally commit atrocious acts. Instead, we give large leeway for the good to act as they wish, but anyone who is ever caught abusing this is immediately classed as inherently untrustworthy.

  4. Zimbardo.  Milgram.  State-sanctioned use of violence, amplifying the effects of any misbehavior.  Not a tirade.

  5. And it’s completely meaningless because it’s too much information to sort through.

    Just like the wikileaks garbage, it’s boring and inconsequential because it was ill-gotten and could have been faked.

    1. Actually far from it, if one is a unix power user and knows Perl it is a fairly trivial task.

      In regards to it being boring, depending on what is there it can be far from it.

      The more interesting question is if it was done properly, along the lines of the Afghanistan Wikileaks stuff or the pathetic Iraq and later stuff. The Afghanistan leak was definitely verifiable and you could definitely see what was going on to some what of a degree. The Iraq and later stuff was completely useless given the editing(AKA redacting) of it, which made pulling any thing of any notable value or use from it.

      In regards to emails, provided they are actual raw maildir/mh/mbox/etc file(s) and not screen shots or the like, then it is very definitely of potential interest and is a lot more verifiable. Any thing that is GPG signed can be verified and any thing that is not can be checked to see if the headers make sense and if they do then there is a nice chance there is some grain of truth to it if. Faking email is a fairly problematic thing to do. While it is possible to fake the from header etc, getting all the headers faked can’t be done when it comes to actually sending it and if being created with out sending it it requires sitting down and doing a nice bit of research to make sure everything in the headers makes sense.

    2. If it were really so “boring and inconsequential” Manning wouldn’t be held in his current conditions and the US wouldn’t have been sloppily calling around to world leaders to apologize for mocking their moles and hair-lips. 

    1. The police officers were charged with federal civil rights violations and covering up the incident, not with murder though.

  6. *sigh*

    I remember that as a youthfully energetic college student, I too thought of the police issue only in terms of black and white, and not shades of gray.
    Up until they ran down the guy who broke my back in a hit-and-run accident.

  7. I was more amused by the claims of, they can’t have gotten anything… and well they did.

    I think any “spokesman” for these sites who lied to the press needs to be fired.
    Trying to cover up the incompetence, by pretending it wasn’t possible is not good procedure.

    While we expect the police to be held to a higher standard, most of us don’t give a shit until it effects us directly. 
    How many stories do we need to hear about someone in custody dying, and then finding out there were tons of complaints against the “alleged” beater but they were “investigated” and considered unfounded.
    How many of us want to see a cop protecting us beating the snot out of the person who harmed us, but would be pissed off if we filmed the cop beating on someone that way and the cop went after us.

    Other than the hysteria about the script kiddies owning these cops, I wonder if this might actually create a more secure system… because AnonSec did this… do you think there are no hackers willing to work for large sums of money for the bad guys?

    The world wastes time hunting down Topiary for the evil crime of slowing PayPal down for a day, and Murdoch is not in jail, The Bankers are not in jail, the world is headed into the shitter but PayPal was inconvenienced, roll out SWAT!

  8. Consider this. These are sheriff websites hosted on a single host, set up independently by these stations. While there is crucial information here, it pertains to small counties and is not major metro police. So will this dramatically change how law enforcement hosts their servers? Maybe, but only because of press attention to the matter.

    Since law enforcement is a government service, I believe the websites, and critical information should be stored on .gov sites and servers, centrally maintained. County’s and city’s can not be trusted to maintain proper security for their sites. I’m very confused as to why any government law enforcement agency is not hosted on .gov servers off somewhere. However, you can be sure that most major police/other agencies have decent security unlike podunk towns in the middle of no where.

    1. “I’m very confused as to why any government law enforcement agency is not hosted on .gov servers off somewhere.”

      States Rights!!!!!!!1  *rawr blargh blargh etc.*
      And then the concern that they will loose control over their information, it will get shared without there having to be a tit for tat trading system that we see now.
      And given how on the Federal level we can’t get information sharing because everyone uses a different system, written by a different contractor owed a favor by a different Congresscritter.
      There would be serious privacy concerns, we already have many cases of police and other officials using these databases for personal gain/vendettas.

      While a central system makes sense on many levels, it is the human factor that will always get in the way.

      And I am doubtful that major police agencies are much better off, IT is not considered a wise investment of funds (until something bad happens).  It does not add another body on the street they can show off to the public.

  9. The little song at the end made it. Somehow I doubt any of the people doing all this hacking are enslaved in the ghetto. 

    1. They were quoting a well known Dead Prez song.  For one thing, your assumption that poor black people can’t be hackers is racist.  But even assuming they weren’t claiming to be from the ghetto, they were drawing connections between the ghetto anti-police movement and their own oppression by cops in the hacker movement, which is pretty fucking astute, if you ask me.

  10. My biggest problem with police is the blue wall.  As far as I can tell, you basically cannot survive as a police officer (or at least be able to work without getting all of the worst jobs and basically discriminated against) in any medium to large police force in this country without fully subscribing to this philosophy.  I’ve seen nothing to contradict this including conversations with friends in police forces, friends in other civil service jobs that affords them deputization and anything I’ve read in the media.  I would love for someone to show me I’m wrong.

    Until this changes though, the police departments will remain unaccountable.

  11. I think a lot of problems with police abuse of authority would be solved or at least alleviated if they were required by law to have little video/audio recording devices on them at all times while on the job…

  12. In my opinion, the good cop / bad cop divide is a little bit misguided, though I understand where both sides (“all cops are always bad” and “some cops are bad some cops are good”) are coming from.

    I would contend that inside each cop there lies a “good cop” who is seeking to help individuals and a “bad cop” who seeks to exert power over people. Cops, I believe by training and this comes from a number of conversations I’ve had with them, tend to view people as either wolves or sheep, and themselves as the sheepdog who protect sheep from wolves. They make this decision arbitrarily and on a moment’s notice. This is why most suburban white Americans tend to view cops as mostly good except for a few rotten apples and most inner city, people of color youth tend to view cops as their enemies: because police have, by and large, sorted these people into categories to either protect or protect people from.

    This is fundamentally flawed, as I would argue super-empowering a self-selected group will always be. I would also argue this makes more or less all cops “bad cops” simply by being cops–although I don’t expect everyone to share that opinion.

    “The most improper job of any man, even saints, is bossing other men. Not
    one in a million is fit for it, and least of all those who seek the
    opportunity.” — JRR Tolkien

    1. I find that Tolkien quote ironic since all of his books revolved around hereditary aristocracies and leadership by virtue of birth.  There was no democracy in his writing.

      1. I also find it ironic that Stephen King does not advocate taking a sledge hammer to people’s ankles or that Michael Crichton didn’t believe that we should raise dinosaurs on remote islands…

        Additionally, weren’t the people who sought power (Saruman, Denethor) shown to be the least able to deal with it, while those who did not (Gandalf, Aragorn) those best suited for the role? There is no mention of democracy in his quote, only the desire for dominion over other men.

      2. “I find that Tolkien quote ironic since all of his books revolved around
        hereditary aristocracies and leadership by virtue of birth.  There was
        no democracy in his writing.”

        Those books were fiction.  They included elves and dragons.  I don’t think they were meant to be read as civics lessons.  Just because the guy wrote some fairy tales doesn’t disallow him from making a comment on the real world in another context.

  13. This is why most suburban white Americans tend to view cops as mostly good except for a few rotten apples and most inner city, people of color youth tend to view cops as their enemies: because police have, by and large, sorted these people into categories to either protect or protect people from.

    I don’t know if I’d put it quite that way but certainly my personal experience has colored my views on law enforcement. I grew up in a small enough town that contacting law enforcement was rare, and neither law enforcement officer nor citizen had any real anonymity. Since I moved to a major city, started interacting with more officers, and reading boing boing, I’ve started being just a little more suspicious of the men and women with the badges and the guns. 

    Back to the article: I just don’t like that the leaks (these leaks or the older wikileaks; same complaint) are in discriminate weapons. Along with bad cops, you’re burning good cops, informants, and others who are trying to do the right thing, some of whom may be my friends.

  14. I think the day I lost what little respect I had for the cops in my town was the day an officer tazered a deaf guy who had just been beaten and robbed because the man wouldn’t follow his instructions (which he couldn’t hear). I personally witnessed this extraordinary act of insensitive barbarism. Sure it was only one cop out of a force of several hundred but the mindset, mentality, training and tactics were received from somewhere up the chain. And in their application (misapplication) an innocent victim of crime was tortured because of a handicap that any person of reason could have figured out after trying to talk to the guy. But what did the cop do, commanded, repeated, raised voice several times and then tazered the guy because he wouldn’t comply.

    So I now start with the admittedly biased assumption that a cop is not there to help but to bring order and control to a situation in any way possible with out regard to the fact that human beings are involved at all. All that said, I have known some good cops but it’s such a rare creature to encounter these days that their presence can be attributed to an anomaly in the system. As far as I’m concerned cop culture is rotten and feeds off of it’s own twisted priorities. And just to be clear the function of policing and protecting people looks good on paper but it’s realization is deeply flawed in many ways.

    And at the end of the day I find that I am a little conflicted about info dumps like this. Yes I like to see cops getting a nice slap but then I also have to consider that cops aren’t just faceless minions of power and that they are in fact human beings with lives and families. And of course there are just some people that shouldn’t be cops in the first place. Again the system is deeply flawed.

  15. Maybe I’m misinformed here, but didn’t they claim that this leak of US law enforcement data was payback for the arrest of Topiary, who was arrested by the UK law enforcement….? 

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