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Online Hackers Target Portland Police Officers

Wednesday, December 03, 2014


Photo Credit: iStock

Portland's social activists and some hackers have "targeted" 22 police officers for their activity on social media.

The officers were named as targets for an upcoming release of their personal contact information, according to individuals affiliated with Anonymous - a politically-influential collective of activists, social organizers and hackers. The reason the officers were targeted was for allegedly having shared a photo on Facebook of a Portland Police badge covered with a wristband that read “I am Darren Wilson” across the front. Some of the officers targeted on the list were included because they chose to “like” the photo, sources said.

Darren Wilson is the former Ferguson, Mo. police officer who wasn't charged for shooting and killing 18-year-old Mike Brown Aug. 9.

The release of personal information for all 22 law enforcement officers will likely be completed within several days, Anon-affiliated social media accounts stated. The personal information of some officers has already been obtained but hasn't yet been released.

The officers' details will only contain publicly available information, like public records and contact information. No laws will be violated while members put together the report because no aspect of their research involves any hacking at all, an individual affiliated with the cause said to GoLocalPDX. 

The listed officers are employed by four separate law enforcement agencies. The targets include one special agent with the Oregon Department of Justice who investigates sex crimes against children. The list also includes 19 officers from the Portland Police Bureau, one officer from the Marion County Sheriff’s Office and one Oregon State Trooper.

Several of the officers on the list have been the subjects of past media reports which have detailed alleged accusations of excessive force or other misconduct. 

Anonymous announced Nov. 29 that it was launching OpAnonVerdict, one of several national operations being carried out simultaneously by members of the collective. The goal of the operation is to expose, destroy systemic corruption and officer misconduct in law enforcement agencies, according to Anonymous. 

A number of police officers have aided Anonymous by disclosing information directly to the group; similar to whistleblowers. A press release from the collective stated the officers who have aided Anonymous in their efforts had "nothing to fear," and encouraged more officers to choose to stand on the right side of history.

"You know, as well as we do, that these rogue officers are a disgrace to your profession," Anonymous said to the nation's police. "Realize that even in your departments and federal agencies, there are more allies with our operations than you could imagine."

The role taken during the protests by Anonymous in Portland, however, differs greatly than the strategies of most national operations. Nationally, the group is on the offensive - spearheading coordinated attacks against state agencies and rogue police officers. Meanwhile in Portland, a member of the collective said they're protesting in solidarity with the rest of the community and is not taking a leadership role in the protests.

"It's not for us, it's for the people - and that's what we're all about," Anon Klown said of Portland's protest movement.

Anon Klown made it explicitly clear that although he self-affiliates with the Anon cause, he only speaks for himself and not for colletive of Anonymous.

Many of the people protesting in Portland are not affiliated with anonymous, which has taken an ally role in the demonstrations.

A small number of Portland police officers in 2011 had their information released online when they were accused by protesters of using excessive force.

“It’s perceived as a threat,” Portland Police Sergeant Pete Simpson said. “How credible it is - or not - is in the eyes of the beholder.”

Simpson said the Bureau encourages its officers to be vigilant about their activity on social media and to take proper security measures to prevent hacking.

“The protest movement is made up of a variety of people passionate about different causes. Certainly we have seen splinter groups hijack a peaceful event about one thing and turn it into something more disruptive,” Simpson said. “What you saw (Nov. 26) was a good example – a very peaceful and productive rally and march with a couple of thousand people, later splintering into a group of a few hundred who were disruptive to the public, involve in assaulting a man in a vehicle, and confronting police officers.”

Simpson said he feels like the protests in Portland are waning.

“Portland has a very long history of people engaging in civil disobedience, most of it peaceful. I don’t suspect that will change, it is one of those things that makes Portland ‘Portland,’” Simpson said.




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