The Austrian branch of the Anonymous hacking group, AnonAustria, has published the personal information including addresses and dates of birth of nearly 25,000 police officials, ranging from low rank beat officers to senior commanders in the police force.
AnonAustria posted the private information as a searchable database on its Twitter account yesterday, justifying their actions in protest of a proposed change to the law that would see telecommunications companies forced to save details of all telephone and internet traffic for a minimum of 6 months, and provide them to police when requested.
Police union official Walter Scharinger expressed concern yesterday regarding the news, fearing revenge attacks against police officers from previously convicted criminals.
The Austrian newspaper, the Wiener Zeitung, said the move came only a few days after the Vienna public prosecutor announced an investigation into the attacks against websites used by Austrian political parties.
Anonymous and its Austrian branch gained headlines in Austria this summer publishing private information obtained in a wave of attacks against the websites of various local political parties, including the SPÖ (Social Democratic Party), FPÖ (Freedom Party), the Green Party and the Austrian state broadcaster ORF's charging service (GIS).
The country's biggest association of police members, the Austrian branch of the International Police Association (IPA) is now under investigation by the State Office of Criminal Investigation due to the leak. The IPA firmly denies any data leaked from them, claiming that they use an external service provider to manage member's accounts.
The State Office investigative team suspects the information was leaked, as opposed to hacked from police servers. Comments published on Twitter by members of Anonymous' Austrian branch saying the information was "made available to them" appear to add more weight to those suspicions.