German authorities have seized a server hosting a huge cache of files from US federal, state and local law enforcement agencies following a request from the US government.
The server contains a wealth of data including emails, audio and video files as well as police and FBI intelligence reports dating back to 1996.
The data transparency collective Distributed Denial of Secrets or DDoSecrets (opens in new tab) was using the server to share documents from law enforcement agencies with the general public. According to DDoSecrets founder Emma Best, the data dubbed “BlueLeaks” comes from over 200 agencies and even includes the names, phone numbers and emails of police officers.
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Best says that DDoSecrets obtained the data from an outside individual who sympathized with the nationwide protests in the US following the death of George Floyd and that some of the files it contains could provide insight into how police have responded to the protests.
The BlueLeaks documents were acquired from a data breach at the Houston-based web design company Netsential which hosts portals for law enforcement agencies and fusion centers that allow local and state police to share threat intelligence with private sector partners. In a statement on its website (opens in new tab), Netsential confirmed the breach, saying:
“Netsential can confirm its web servers were recently compromised. We are working with the appropriate law enforcement authorities regarding the breach, and we are fully cooperating with the ongoing investigation. We have enhanced our systems and will continue to work with law enforcement to mitigate future threats. Netsential will continue to work with clients impacted by the intrusion. Inasmuch as this is an ongoing investigation, and due to the sensitivity of client information, Netsential will provide no further statement while the matter is pending.”
According to an emailed statement from the prosecutor's office in the German city of Zwickau, the server hosting the BlueLeaks data was confiscated on July 3 in the town of Falkenstein following a request from US authorities.
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Via Associated Press (opens in new tab)