Dallas Police Surveillance Footage Leaked

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Video apparently stolen from American law enforcement agencies in Texas and Georgia has been leaked online by transparency collective Distributed Denial of Secrets (DDoSecrets).

The collective shared 1.9TB of data it says consists of 600 hours of aerial surveillance footage taken by police helicopters in and around Dallas, Texas, and Atlanta, Georgia.

“The extensive footage reveals the capabilities of the ‘military-grade’ technology behind police surveillance,” states DDoSecrets on their website.

“It also highlights the voyeurism inherent in surveillance and how it often focuses on protected first amendment activities and people who have no idea they’re being watched and who’ve done nothing to justify the intrusion of surveillance.”

Emma Best, a co-founder of the collective, said that the video footage had been sent to them by an anonymous hacker. The unnamed source reportedly targets unsecured data stored in the cloud. 

“In some of the videos (like gsp 2peachtree 64), they use infrared tech to look at people inside buildings with thinner walls,” she wrote on Twitter. “The video provides no justifying context.”

Best went on to write: “I’d post screenshots, but I’m pretty sure Twitter would jump on the excuse and ban me over it, so.”

Aric Toler, a volunteer at the independent international collective of researchers, investigators and journalists Bellingcat commented: “The surveillance footage is as terrifying as you imagine it being. The helicopter zooms in super close to a bunch of people’s yards. 

“Not posting it here, but one point the helicopter focuses in on an elderly woman unloading groceries from her car, in super-high resolution.”

Following the release of the footage, the Dallas City Council scheduled a closed session on Wednesday with its lawyers to discuss a “potential data breach” within the Dallas Police Department (Dallas PD).

The alleged leak occurred three months after Dallas County prosecutors confirmed that 22 terabytes of case data belonging to the Dallas Police Department had been mistakenly deleted.

Data including millions of archived videos and images was lost when an individual employed by the city’s IT department messed up the transfer of files from cloud storage to a server owned by the city. That employee was fired from their job in August. 

While many files were later recovered, the Dallas County District Attorney’s office and the Dallas PD said that more than four million files were permanently lost, affecting around 17,500 cases.

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