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Alabama Sheriff Demands Go Daddy Kill AntiSec Hackers’ Websites for Data Dumps

Nov 01, 20116 mins
Data and Information SecurityMicrosoftPhotography

Privacy, security, surveillance roundup: Alabama law enforcement is breathing down Go Daddy's neck for not removing AntiSec and Anonymous data dumps of police personal info; Homeland Security will hunt for "domestic threats" on Twitter; and some cops are mighty slow to catch on that photographers are NOT terrorists and photography is not a suspicious activity that indicates terrorism.

Today several lawsuits and news stories about intelligence gathering, surveillance, law enforcement or civil liberties caught my privacy and security-angled eyes as either noteworthy or ludicrous. Alabama law enforcement is breathing down Go Daddy’s neck with an injunction for not removing AntiSec and Anonymous data dumps containing personal info of police personnel; Homeland Security will hunt for “domestic threats” on Twitter; and some cops still treat photographers as terrorists and photography as a suspicious activity that indicates terrorism.

BoingBoing sounded the alert that DHS is seeking intelligence on “domestic threats” from Twitter traffic. While Homeland Security claims not to be actively monitoring any social networks, when it “receives information about a potential threat, contractors are then asked to look for certain references within ‘open source’ information, which is available to anyone on the Internet,” reported the Associated Press. DHS Undersecretary Caryn Wagner said “I can post anything on Facebook, is that valid? If 20 people are tweeting the same thing, then maybe that is valid.” She added it’s key to train “hundreds of thousands of law enforcement officers across the country in filling out suspicious activity reports.”

Many hackers are ticked and completely fed up with how things are done in the USA, including the hacker group Team Poison which recently posted a list of hackable police websites. But Alabama law enforcement is currently trying to kick Go Daddy’s butt for publishing and so far refusing to take down data dumps from AntiSec and Anonymous hackers. The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office found out it was hacked on October 21 as “part of a broad scheme to hack into law enforcement databases and release publicly the personal information of law enforcement personnel in many areas of the country.” According to the issued the statement, “Our identity theft and computer forensic units are working with federal authorities to identify and apprehend those responsible.”

So now, according to Courthouse News, “the sheriff of Jefferson County demands that Go Daddy disable the websites of hackers known as AntiSec, which may be affiliated with Anonymous, and which stole, and posted, personal information about every employee of the sheriff’s office on Oct. 21.” The injunction [PDF] states the dumped data included social security numbers, addresses, home phone numbers and shifts worked – for every deputy and civilian employee of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.” Sheriff Hale alleges that Go Daddy knows about the sensitive info that it is hosting but, despite “repeated efforts,” has “refused to shut-down the subjects websites, remove information from its server, or otherwise block the entities responsible for the hacking from posting the information on the websites enabled and hosted by Go Daddy.” The injunction and Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) also maintains that Go Daddy also hasn’t “blocked postings from the subjects Twitter account.”

Last but certainly not least, readers of this blog know full well that photography is not a crime and photographers are not terrorists. In fact, the ACLU said you have every right to photograph that cop. But hey, some law enforcement officials are mighty slow to catch on. For example, how many police officers does it take to jump and detain one photographer who the cops suspected of taking pictures from across the street of the Long Beach Courthouse? Greggory Moore said the correct answer is eight, but even though it’s legal, he wasn’t taking a picture. Just the same, Moore was detained for being “suspicious” and then investigated for terrorist activity.

The ACLU is suing the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department for “harassing law-abiding photographers, threatening to put them on an FBI ‘hit list,’ and accusing them of terrorist conspiracy and improperly searching them,” the LAist reported. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Capt. Mike Parker said, “Should we really ignore suspicious activity? We have an obligation to the public to answer questions and we are going to ask people why are you taking that picture. It is our duty to protect the public.”

Courthouse News added that the National Photographers’ Rights Organization said in federal court, the LA Sheriff’s Department “illegally arrests, searches and interrogates photojournalists for taking photos on public streets, under an unconstitutional policy that includes photography as a ‘suspicious activity’ which is one of the ‘potential indicators of terrorism’.” Multimedia journalist Carlos Miller said, another photographer, Shawn Nee, “was detained for photographing a subway turnstile and accused of being in cahoots with Al-Qaeda.” The Los Angeles Times added that Deputy Richard Gylfie said to Nee, “Al Qaeda would love to buy your pictures, so I want to know if you are in cahoots with Al Qaeda to sell these pictures to them for terrorist purposes.”

These same type of bone-headed cops who think photography is equal to terrorist activity tried to erase evidence of police brutality by forcing Google to take down YouTube videos “We received a request from a local law enforcement agency to remove YouTube videos of police brutality, which we did not remove,” Google reported. “Separately, we received requests from a different local law enforcement agency for removal of videos allegedly defaming law enforcement officials. We did not comply with those requests, which we have categorized in this Report as defamation requests.” It sounds much like accusations that law enforcement requested the removal or censoring of YouTube videos proving police violence at Occupy protests in various cities. DrJays said those accusations of censoring or removing videos are false, at least for now.

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ms smith

Ms. Smith (not her real name) is a freelance writer and programmer with a special and somewhat personal interest in IT privacy and security issues. She focuses on the unique challenges of maintaining privacy and security, both for individuals and enterprises. She has worked as a journalist and has also penned many technical papers and guides covering various technologies. Smith is herself a self-described privacy and security freak.