Twitter has permanently banned the group that published the 'BlueLeaks' police files obtained by hackers

REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson
  • Twitter has permanently banned DDoSecrets, a Wikileaks-style group that published a trove of sensitive police documents that were leaked by hackers.
  • The leaks included hundreds of gigabytes of files that showed police departments exchanging information about George Floyd protesters.
  • A Twitter spokesperson said DDoSecrets broke Twitter’s policy against “distribution of hacked material.”
  • It’s not clear why Twitter banned DDoSecrets but hasn’t banned Wikileaks – which similarly links to hacked files – or any of the news outlets that linked to DDoSecrets’ BlueLeaks page.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Twitter has permanently banned DDoSecrets, a Wikileaks-style publisher that linked to a trove of hacked police files dubbed “BlueLeaks” this week.

The leaked files were not classified but were previously unpublished, and showed police departments and the FBI exchanging information about the names, appearances, and Twitter handles of George Floyd protesters. DDoSecrets did not carry out the hack that leaked the police files – instead, similar to Wikileaks, the group merely hosts files that hackers pass along.

Twitter permanently banned DDoSecrets Tuesday night and retroactively applied warning labels to tweets that link to the BlueLeaks database. The warning labels say the BlueLeaks database “may be unsafe,” but a security check from web firm Sucuri found no malware on the site.

A Twitter spokesperson told Business Insider that DDoSecrets was banned for violating Twitter’s policy forbidding distribution of hacked materials.

But it’s unclear why DDoSecrets was banned for republishing hacked material while Wikileaks has been doing the same for years while retaining its Twitter account. Dozens of news outlets, including Business Insider, also published stories that included material from the BlueLeaks hacks. Twitter did not answer Business Insider’s questions about what makes DDoSecrets’ case different from those other outlets.

DDoSecrets cofounder Emma Best criticised Twitter’s decision Tuesday, calling it retribution against whistleblowers.

DDoSecrets editor-in-chief Lorax B. Horne also drew attention to Twitter’s uneven enforcement, listing more than two dozen news outlets that have published stories that include data from DDoSecrets.

The BlueLeaks files were released after hackers targeted a Texas-based web service provider. The files were hosted by fusion centres, or state agencies that allow police departments to share information across jurisdictions. DDoSecrets said the files were submitted to them by hackers affiliated with Anonymous.

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