Online leak reveals private information of stars and govt officials

Online leak reveals private information of stars and govt officials

Authorities and celebrities were grappling today with how to respond to a website that posted what appears to be private financial information about top US government figures and stars such as Jay-Z and Mel Gibson.

Los Angeles police is investigating how the social security number, address and a credit report of its chief ended up on the site.

The site also posted the same information about FBI director Robert Mueller. The bureau said it was aware of the site but declined to say whether it was investigating.

The website also targeted stars such as Beyonce, Ashton Kutcher, Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton.

Info posted about US vice president Joe Biden and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton did not include credit reports, but contained addresses and other sensitive information.

Social security numbers posted on Gibson, Jay-Z and others matched records in public databases.

The site, which bears an internet suffix originally assigned to the Soviet Union, expanded throughout yesterday to add entries on singer Britney Spears, former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and others.

It did not state how the information was obtained or why the 11 people targeted on the site were selected, describing the records only as “secret files”.

A Twitter profile linked to the site and created after its existence was first reported by celebrity website TMZ included an anti-police message in Russian.

Several of the purported credit reports appear to have been generated last week.

Representatives for each person targeted either declined to comment on the accuracy of the information that was posted, or they did not return messages seeking comment.

Commander Andrew Smith of Los Angeles police said the LAPD was investigating the posting of police chief Charlie Beck’s information and would also investigate the posting of information on any celebrities living in the city.

He said confidential information on top police officials had been posted online at least twice before.

“People get mad at us, go on the internet and try to find information about us, and post it all on one site,” Mr Smith said.

“The best word I can use to describe it is creepy,” he said of the practice known as doxxing. “It’s a creepy thing to do.”

Frank Preciado, assistant officer in charge at the LAPD online section, said the postings were also illegal. He said the information was probably taken from what was supposed to be a secure database of city employees.

Several of the pages featured unflattering pictures of the celebrities or government officials whose information was posted.

The site’s page on Mr Beck includes a taunting reference to former officer Christopher Dorner, who apparently committed suicide after he killed four people during a multi-day rampage.

Mr Beck’s page included the message “(hash)YouCantCornerTheDorner” and an image of a woman protesting at police corruption.

While government officials often have to disclose details on their finances - and celebrity divorces sometimes feature public financial data – the information posted online exceeds those disclosures.

Social Security numbers are now rarely included in public records because they can be used for identity theft.

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