Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

Arizona Confirms LulzSec Docs Are Authentic, Worries About Officer Safety

Officials in Arizona have confirmed that the documents dumped by the hacker group LulzSec are authentic. They also say they’re concerned that the release of personal information about some officers could compromise their safety.

Steve Harrison, a spokesman for the Arizona Department of Public Safety told Dow Jones Newswires last night that the documents appear to be the real deal, and that the hacker group probably penetrated the email accounts of as many as eight officers, obtaining the names of spouses, mobile phone numbers and home addresses.

State cops condemned the release, speaking this morning through the Arizona Highway Patrol Association. “Law enforcement officials go to many lengths to protect their identities,” said AHPA president Jimmy Chavez. “These individuals maliciously released confidential information knowing the safety of DPS employees, and their families, would be compromised. A threat to release more DPS files demonstrates how heinous the hackers are willing to act. The AHPA would like to see the people brought to justice and prosecuted to the highest degree of the law.”

LulzSec, having pivoted from attacking Sony and other video game companies to suddenly making grander politically-motivated gestures, singled out the agency because of LulzSec’s opposition to SB-1070, a controversial piece of legislation in Arizona that would require people to carry proof with them at all times that they’re in the U.S. legally, in case they’re stopped by police. The legislation also gives police a lot of latitude in stopping people they suspect of being illegal aliens, which critics of the law say encourages racial profiling. It also seeks to crack down on people helping illegal aliens by giving them shelter, work or transportation. It’s currently the subject of a federal lawsuit challenging its constitutionality.

The AZDPS Web site appears to be down this morning as its IT crew combs through its system to assess the damage. The Arizona Republic reports that Gov. Jan Brewer has been briefed on the incident. The agency says that no information that would compromise a current investigation was part of the leak.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald