SLC Police Department hack: hackers delete their own files after reiterating pledge not to expose residents’ personal info
Hacktivism raises all kinds of ethical issues. In an unusual move, hackers responsible for the hack of the Salt Lake City Police Department have deleted their copies of some of the files they had acquired from the PD’s web site.
In announcing the hack on Tuesday, the hackers known as Kahuna and CabinCr3w indicated that their motivation was a bill proposed in the Utah legislature by Sen. Karen Mayne that would have criminalized possession of graffiti tools with the intent to deface property.
Although they acquired files containing citizens’ personal information, the hackers did not dump any of those data on the Internet, repeatedly asserting that they would not dump it and had no desire to do anything that would harm “innocents.” A paste with over 1,000 officers’ names, usernames, titles, e-mail addresses, and hashed passwords was publicly dumped, however.
The bill, SB 107, was defeated in the Utah Senate yesterday by a vote of 11-17.
This morning, this blogger asked Kahuna whether they would consider deleting the files in light of the Senate’s action. Shortly thereafter, the hackers agreed to delete the files they held that contained information from those providing crime tips or other information. Their decision was announced on Twitter:
Due to privacy concerns of innocents, all files taken from the SLCPD have been deleted. We no longer have the files in our possession
— Kahuna (@ItsKahuna) February 3, 2012
I contacted the Salt Lake City Police Department to ask for a response to this latest development but have received no response by the time of this publication.
Although one of the hackers indicated to DataBreaches.net that they realize that the press and others may not believe their statement that they have deleted files, they reiterated to this blogger that they would not have dumped the data under any circumstances.
DataBreaches.net commends them for not needlessly exposing personal information and for not retaining data that they no longer need as proof of hack.
I realize that there are many who will say that their ethical action doesn’t matter and that they engaged in criminal activity by hacking the SLCPD, but I think it’s important for hacktivists to consider whether they, too, should be showing the kind of restraint Kahuna and CabinCr3w displayed by not needlessly exposing uninvolved individuals’ personal information and by deleting it when it is no longer needed as proof of hack.