Law enforcement use of surveillance drones has proliferated across the United States in recent years, sparking backlash from privacy advocates. But newly leaked aerial surveillance footage from the Dallas Police Department in Texas and what appears to be Georgia’s State Patrol underscore the breadth and sophistication of footage captured by another type of aerial police vehicle: helicopters.
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.
DDoSecrets gained notoriety in June 2020 when it published a massive leak of law enforcement data stolen by a hacker associated with Anonymous. The data, dubbed BlueLeaks, included emails, audio, video, and intelligence documents from more than 200 state, local, and federal agencies around the US. The release got DDoSecrets banned from Twitter, and Reddit banned the r/blueleaks subreddit. The group, which essentially sees itself as a successor to Wikileaks, has also courted controversy by publishing leaks of sensitive data taken from the far-right platform Gab and a trove stolen in a ransomware attack on a gas pipeline services firm.