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2010年12月28日 (火)

警察資料流出 対応の遅れが被害拡大招いた

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 28, 2010)
MPD's delayed response worsened info leak damage
警察資料流出 対応の遅れが被害拡大招いた(12月27日付・読売社説)

The Metropolitan Police Department eventually admitted last week that some of its internal documents on investigations into international terrorism were leaked onto the Internet--nearly two months after the leak was revealed.

In the meantime, the MPD failed to take necessary action, allowing the online spread of personal information such as names and addresses of informants to continue. A senior MPD officer apologized over the matter, saying, "It's extremely regrettable." But the MPD bears heavy responsibility for having worsened the leak damage.

Investigative authorities must take all possible measures to ensure the safety of those whose personal data were leaked as well as conduct thorough investigations to determine who leaked the information online in the first place.

The leaked data included information provided by foreign investigative organizations. The MPD had adamantly refused to admit the leaked information was part of its internal data because it feared it would lose confidence abroad if it referred to the attribution or genuineness of leaked data.

Because of this, the MPD could not even file a complaint when a book carrying the leaked data, including personal information, was published. Faced with mounting criticism over the department's stance of sticking to its position to save face as an organization, the MPD probably had no alternative but to admit the leak of its internal information and apologize.


No leniency for colleagues

Although pointing out the possibility that the leaked information includes some belonging to its Public Security Bureau, the MPD has avoided specifying which data came from the bureau. The MPD could have acknowledged this much immediately after the leak of the data came to light.

In any case, the bureau's sloppy administration of data was also revealed.

The leaked information is believed to have been compiled by the bureau's Third Foreign Affairs Division, which is in charge of investigations into international terrorism. Personal computers for common use by division personnel reportedly included some from which information can be taken easily with the use of a private-use external memory device.

The MPD has been questioning about 400 members, including some current and past members of the division. The investigation should be conducted strictly without leniency for colleagues.

The MPD has investigated the case on suspicion of obstructing police business through fraudulent means. But the allegation should be switched to a breach of confidentiality in violation of the Local Civil Service Law.


A way to regain confidence

The Public Security Bureau, in many cases, has narrowed down lists of suspects based on the information collected from informants. Therefore, the information thus gathered is highly confidential. Extreme care should be taken in its handling.

We live in an era in which international cyberterrorism is rampant. Without improvements to prevent leaks of investigative information, it would be difficult for the domestic investigative authorities to regain the confidence of their foreign counterparts.

In the process of promptly reexamining its information management system, the MPD must fully secure the confidentiality of electronic information as well as enhance its ability to investigate cybercrimes.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 27, 2010)
(2010年12月27日01時27分  読売新聞)

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