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, reports the Courthouse News Service. Distributed Denial of Secrets — a WikiLeaks-like group known as DDoSecrets — posted over 1.8 terabytes of police helicopter footage on the group’s website, revealing random surveillance of Dallas neighborhoods with no indication that the subjects are aware they are being watched.
Federal courts have traditionally held that journalists cannot be criminally prosecuted for publishing stolen or hacked material as long as the journalist is not involved in the theft. However, the stealing of computer data through hacking remains a federal crime. City officials have faced intense criticism of the protocols in place that allowed a data loss of this size, as well as the delay in disclosure of the deletion to the public.