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Thursday, Dec. 30, 2010

EDITORIAL

MPD is slow on leak

On Oct. 28, what is believed to be 114 documents linked to the police's investigation efforts concerning international terrorism was posted on the Internet. Most of the documents are believed to have been prepared by the Metropolitan Police Department's Third Foreign Affairs Division in charge of investigation into such terrorism.

On Dec. 24, almost two months after the leak of the documents, the MPD held a news conference and said the documents included information that has "high probability" of having been handled by police officers. But it stopped short of clearly stating that they were genuine police records.

The documents included not only information on investigation targets but also the names of informants and investigators. The personal information in the documents concerned some 1,000 people, excluding police officers. The MPD says it still cannot contact about 30 percent of these people. The documents also mentioned people shadowed by investigators and the results of the checks of the immigration status of targeted people and of inquiries concerning their bank accounts.

The MPD apologized for causing inconvenience and worry to people whose names appeared in the documents. Some people have suffered serious damage. Those whose names appeared in the documents as informants fear reprisals by terrorist groups.

The MPD took too long to hold the news conference. The MPD could not take effective steps to stop the further spread of the information on the Internet since it did not admit that the documents were genuine police records. A publishing house took advantage of the MPD's inaction and published a book containing the entire content of the documents without deleting the personal information in them.

The MPD does not rule out the possibility that some people might have lifted data from the MPD division's computers by using peripheral data storage mediums. The internal investigation needs to cover some 400 people. It will take a long time. One also wonders whether the MPD has set up a system to prevent recurrences of such leaks.



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