the Metropolitan Police Department 警視庁
the Third Foreign Affairs Division of the MPD's Public Security Bureau 警視庁公安部に設けられた外事3課 
the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation 米連邦捜査局
The Public Security Bureau of the MPD 警視庁公安部
the foreign affairs division of police 外事警察
the National Public Safety Commission 国家公安委員会

--The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 5
EDITORIAL: Leak of terrorism data

As Japan prepares to receive foreign government leaders who will gather in Yokohama for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, an incident that shook police counter-terrorism measures from their foundation occurred.

Confidential information believed to be internal documents of the Metropolitan Police Department and other authorities spread on the Internet through file-sharing software. Many of the leaked documents seem to have been made by the Third Foreign Affairs Division of the MPD's Public Security Bureau to investigate and gather intelligence on international terrorism. The division was set up after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States.

They include information on foreigners believed to have collaborated with police investigations and plans to question Muslims based on requests by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation. In short, police strategy on fighting terrorism has been exposed. A large volume of personal information, including the addresses and mug shots of ordinary citizens and their contacts, was also leaked.

The potential damage to people whose names have been exposed is serious. Some people who provided information to police were listed as having suspected ties with terrorist organizations. If their cooperation with investigators is exposed, their safety could be jeopardized. Under such circumstances, no one would be willing to talk to police.

The situation also damaged the international reputation of the Japanese police. Investigative organizations across the world are trying to prevent terrorism by exchanging secret information. If Japan is seen as incapable of guarding secrets, it would be left out of such networks.

Out of regard for investigative organizations of other countries, Japanese police are reluctant to admit the leaked documents are their own. But it would be preposterous to use this as an excuse to sweep the problem under the rug.

Japanese police have already lost credibility. They are urged to specify the documents and ask webmasters of the sites that still carry the leaked information to delete as much of the data as possible. They must also sincerely apologize to the people who suffered because of the leak and try to ensure their safety. And obviously, they must thoroughly check how the information leaked.

Based on an analysis of the data, it is likely that the leakage was done deliberately.

If an outsider could have access to so many internal documents, what ties did that person have with the police? If it was an insider, what antipathy or complaints did he or she have?

The Public Security Bureau of the MPD is virtually the core of Japan's intelligence activities. It has monitored the moves of people deemed dangerous and nurtured providers of information in and around related organizations.

It is difficult to see possible problems at the bureau from the outside because it tends to try to protect itself. Its methods and secretive nature have been a target of deep-rooted criticism.

However, since international terrorism occurs frequently, more people have come to understand that the foreign affairs division of police that tracks the moves of illegal foreign organizations is a requirement of the times.

To recover public trust in police activities to protect the safety of modern society, the fiasco must be immediately clarified.

As the representative of the public, the National Public Safety Commission that oversees police administration is urged to demand a report and provide guidance to prevent a recurrence.

The systems to manage information must be re-examined.

It may also be necessary to avoid computerization of sensitive information whose handling requires the utmost care.

by kiyoshimat | 2010-11-07 04:11 | 英字新聞

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