Bodycam footage of an Australian police officer pulling out a USB drive that appears to be running TailsOS while the computer’s owner is actively logged into a darknet market is making the rounds on social media and mainstream media outlets, as well. Containing a scene described as officers “bungling a raid on his house,” Joshua Giffin, 34, of Queensland, publicly posted video footage which appears to be part of evidence released during the discovery process in a court case against him.
The video, originally posted to TikTok by Giffin on Apr. 2, has accrued over 6.9 million views thus far and is overlaid with the following caption:
“QLD Police find my laptop during a raid on my house, logged into Tor, logged into a marketplace, on an account with 4.5 years worth of transactions. Then Senior Constable Moron saves my ass by pulling out the USB running the OS and the drive wipes everything.”
The video shows three police officers looking at a laptop computer, with one officer mostly off-screen making the decision to remove the thumb drive which was running TailsOS, an operating system that is booted from the device. The computer then reverts to a blank screen as it restarts, ending the darknet market session along with the operating system session.
Video frame from the moment after the USB device was removed, causing the laptop to reboot.
TailsOS is favored by darknet market users for the anonymity its provides by routing all internet connectivity through Tor and not logging any part of a user’s session. Any data downloaded by the user during a regular Tails session is wiped from the device upon termination of the session, thus making it impossible for investigators (or anyone else) to know what it was being used for or where on the internet a Tails user was browsing.
A copy of the video posted to the r/darknet subreddit three days ago managed to gain over 1,300 upvotes and 250 comments thus far, making it one of the most popular posts of all-time for that subreddit.
Giffin has a criminal record that extends beyond his involvement with darknet markets. In Feb. 2022, he was charged with counts related to domestic violence for threatening and causing injuries to his girlfriend, while also being found in the unlawful possession of testosterone. He was released on bail in Nov. of last year.