Transparency Activists Dump 1.8 Terabytes Of Police Helicopter Surveillance Footage

from the you've-let-us-down,-Dr.-Whirlington-Spinblade dept

Let’s just get right into this and let Distributed Denial of Secrets (DDoS) harvest some accolades and encouragement to continue to deploy its particular brand of intrusive transparency on historically secretive entities.

The transparency activist group Distributed Denial of Secrets, or DDoSecrets, posted a 1.8-terabyte trove of police helicopter footage to its website on Friday. DDoSecrets cofounder Emma Best says that her group doesn’t know the identity of the source who shared the data and that no affiliation or motivation for leaking the files was given. The source simply said that the two police departments were storing the data in unsecured cloud infrastructure.

The lesson here (one of many) is that if you can’t adequately protect your secrets, maybe you don’t deserve to have them. And there are plenty of secrets to be had here. It’s not that people aren’t aware police helicopters are circling overland at all hours of the day. Episodes of COPS and YouTube collections of high-speed chases have made that fact common knowledge.

The DDoS release shows law enforcement agencies aren’t just deploying choppers to keep an eye on suspects in motion. They’re also using them to engage in extended surveillance of people suspected of nothing, hovering over large gatherings and deploying infrared cameras to peer inside of buildings just for the fuck of it.

Putting your stuff in the cloud means opening up additional attack vectors for those seeking your secrets. That appears to be the root source of this new leak. What a time to be alive!

I mean, sure there’s more surveillance than ever. But the reliance on (apparently unreliable) private contractors means government secrets are only a hack away with being shared with everyone on the planet. That’s definitely good news for the policed, who often have no say in how they’re surveilled and are routinely denied access to information about government surveillance tech.

There’s an amazing amount of irony contained in this latest DDoS release. Just a couple of months ago, the Dallas PD was being raked over the coals by pissed off city officials for inexplicably deleting more than 22 terabytes of data. According to the cops, the city IT employee handling the transfer of data from the cloud to Dallas PD servers screwed things up, resulting in the mass deletion. Some of it was recoverable. Most of it wasn’t. At best, 7.5 terabytes were permanently lost during the botched transfer.

Good news is in the eye of the beholder. Transparency enthusiasts will obviously love this new set of leaks from Distributed Denial of Secrets. And this new leak may allow the Dallas PD to recover more of the data it thought it had lost forever, as David Lee points out for Courthouse News Service.

Data transparency activists released a massive 600-hour leak of mostly Dallas Police Department helicopter footage, raising more questions about the city’s data security protocols three months after DPD admitted to a 22-terabyte deletion of case data that resulted in the release of criminal defendants awaiting trial.

I hate to laugh at the turntables, but try and spin this, DJ DPDPR. RAISE ALL THE QUESTIONS!

If an entity wants to be entrusted with the power to deploy warrantless surveillance provided it has enough downwash, it should be expected to protect the hundreds of hours of footage it’s gathered. And if it can’t manage a data transfer with losing at least a third of its 22 TB of data, it should probably allow transparency activists to perform its archival duties for it, considering how much better they are at preserving data and making it easily accessible.

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Comments on “Transparency Activists Dump 1.8 Terabytes Of Police Helicopter Surveillance Footage”

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24 Comments
ECAsays:

First rule of data transfer?

DONT ERASE THE MAIN DATA FILES UNTIL YOU KNOW YOU GOT IT ALL TRANSFERRED.
This is learned when you are Being Taught how to program. the 2nd rule is to have More then 1 copy. 3 at the very least(and 1 of them OFF SITE).
If you goto school with a Copy and find its not on the Storage device, then look at your computer and Find that you MOVED the data or erased it thinking you HAD that 1 copy. YOU ARE AN IDIOT.

ECAsays:

Re: Re: First rule of data transfer?

no, Im not.
The idea is Any smart programmer has a backup.
relying on Magnetic data storage is asking for failure. In 1 form or another. from your home/business burning down to Just the failure of the hardware.
Every customer Iv dealt with I always Suggest Storing options, NOT on site. And if you really want permanent, look up bubble memory or archival DVD/BR.

After you recover a persons/business system more then a FEW times they start to get the hint. Even an off site, online system Should have some type of backup.
So there is about a 10-40% chance that the data erased IS’ out there.

Rockysays:

Re: Re: First rule of data transfer?

Most code actually have a lot of "goto’s" behind the scenes when you look at what a compiler produces. There are instances where goto and its brethren are perfectly acceptable to use and any teacher that just dismisses it while giving an F for its use without evaluating why it was used has subscribed to the prevalent dogma that it’s bad to use.

Rockysays:

Re: Re: Re: First rule of data transfer?

Yupp.

I would posit that when you compare "goto" to pointers, the latter should elicit a much harder scrutiny during CS courses because the amount of problems caused by people who don’t understand pointers dwarfs any problems there is with goto by several magnitudes.

Rockysays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: First rule of data transfer?

The only time goto leads to spaghetti code is when it’s used by a bad developer, and I prefer spaghetti code before code containing pointers done by a bad developer – because that code invariable leads to pants on head moments when something breaks because of memory corruption/leaks.

As with all tools, it’s use and the resulting quality is mainly due who uses it, not the tool itself.

ECAsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: First rule of data transfer?

The fun parts of Old programming and Not having tons of memory to play in.
Boss, got a Sinclair 8k machine and asked if I could do his business with it. I showed jim an 8 line program to put DOTS in Figure 8 pattern, and it locked 2/3 into the figure.
Told him thats about all the data he could put into the machine. Love shared memory(NOT).

That One Guysays:

No worries, they'll do it for you

Police department facing public and/or legal scrutiny: We’re terribly sorry to say that we can’t hand over that data because we don’t have it, a ‘computer issue’ resulted in a large chunk of it being deleted.

Activist/hacker group: No problem, we have it and we’ll make it available to everyone.

Police department: Dammit!

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