from uncontrolled access department
Law enforcement officers have unrestricted access to vast databases containing a lot of personal information. This access is essential to law enforcement work, including ongoing investigations, attempts to locate wanted criminals, and routine details of driver’s license validation and registration.
The problem is that there is so little oversight of agent use of these databases. Time and again, this access is abused for personal gain. And abuses are far from rare. A 2013 audit found that more than half of Minnesota’s 11,000 law enforcement officers were abusing their access to driver data, with the most common abuse being searching for others with the same last name. and the “disproportionate search for people of the same sex”.
The lack of meaningful oversight at the local level led to federal charges against a (now former) Louisville police officer who abused his access to other people’s personal information to search for sexually explicit material for the apparent purpose of to blackmail. Meet Josh Wood, reporter for LEO Weekly.
According to a sentencing memorandum, Bryan Wilson used his law enforcement access to Accurint, powerful data-gathering software used by police departments to aid in investigations, to obtain information about potential victims. He would then share this information with a hacker, who would hack into private Snapchat accounts to obtain sexually explicit photos and videos.
If sexually explicit material was obtained, Wilson would then contact the women, threatening to post the photos and videos online and share them with friends, family, employers and co-workers unless more sexually explicit material was brought to him. provided.
Accurint is a powerful database run by LexisNexis, containing millions of public documents, court records, licenses, addresses, phone numbers, and (as most relevant here) network data. social. This last piece of information was integral to Officer Wilson’s scheme. The DOJ sentencing memorandum [PDF] recounts one of Wilson’s conversations with a potential victim.
Wilson: I’m curious what image you prefer I use as the focal point of a collage I’m doing. . . (pictures were attached)
Victim: Who is it?
. . .
Wilson: Are you okay with me publishing them? I tell you, everyone is going to LOVE them!
Victim: How did you get these
. . .
Wilson: . . . I had planned to send your photos to your parents, brother, grandparents, sisters, friends, facebook, pornhub, employer, etc but I would gladly keep all of this between you and me (and tell you who sent them to me) if you promise to keep me out of the drama and show me a few more pics so we can both enjoy it. . .
If he didn’t get the response he wanted, Wilson would post the pirated content online. He also encouraged others to send him information about other potential targets, providing them with his Kik details. If the hack was successful, those who provided this advice were rewarded with access to the hacked content. In at least one case (the DOJ has identified 25 hacking victims), the victim’s employer received the sexual content, which nearly resulted in the victim being fired.
And that’s not the only charge in the memorandum. Wilson is also condemned for his participation in “Slushygate”. Several officers (including Wilson and an officer involved in the murder of Breonna Taylor) apparently drove around town, throwing drinks at pedestrians. Many of these assaults were caught by cops with their own phones. At least one resident has been hospitalized after being hit with a thrown drink.
The Louisville Metro PD is currently under investigation by the DOJ for its pattern and practice of civil rights abuses. The actions of former officer Bryan Wilson show how little fear PD officers have of reprisals. Officers facing real surveillance and accountability don’t blackmail people or randomly assault pedestrians just for fun. This officer is a symptom of a much larger – and still unresolved – problem. The same festering rot that allowed officers to lie on a warrant application before forcing their way into a home and killing an unarmed innocent person is the same rot that is rising to the surface in less violent, but still heinous forms. .
Filed Under: accurint, blackmail, bryan wilson, louisville, louisville metro police, police databases