German authorities have confiscated a server hosting the “BlueLeaks” data dump, a 269GB trove of internal police documents that leaked last month.
The Wikileaks-style group Distributed Denial of Secrets (DDOS) had been using the server to enable the public to download the files, but prosecutors in Germany recently seized it, according to Emma Best, a journalist and co-founder of the group.
DDOS says it obtained the files from the “hacktivist” collective Anonymous, and then made the files searchable on a dedicated website on July 19. However, the site now appears to be down.
According to Best, German authorities seized the “primary public download server” hosting the data dump without supplying an explanation. The hosting provider has only said the takedown came from the “department of public prosecution Zwickau,” which didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
DDOS published the data to shine a light on police practices in the US. “The server was used ONLY to distribute data to the public,” Best added. “It had no contact with sources and was involved in nothing more than enlightening the public through journalistic publishing.”
However, the same data has been sourced back to a breach at Netsential, a company that provides web services for law enforcement agencies across the US. “Netsential can confirm its web servers were recently compromised,” the company said in a statement. “We are working with the appropriate law enforcement authorities regarding the breach, and we are fully cooperating with the ongoing investigation.”
Twitter has also been blocking users from posting links to the BlueLeaks data dump, citing a 2019 policy that forbids hacked materials from being shared on the social media site. According to Twitter, the data dump also contains unredacted information on various people, which could put them in harm’s way.
Despite the server’s confiscation, Best is indicating the BlueLeaks data dump won’t remain offline for long. “Don’t worry. I’ve been planning for this for days. And days,” she said in a tweet. In addition, DDOS had been sharing the 269GB trove of information via a torrent download.