Hi Blog. This breaking news from the weekend compounds just how sinister the activities of the Japanese police can be. First spying on people in the name of combating terrorism because they’re Muslims or connected to Muslims, then losing control of the information to the point where it becomes a book on sale to the public. Shame on you, Metropolitan Police Department. Imagine how big a scandal this would have been if Japanese people had been treated similarly.
Now, of course, since this is embarrassing to the police, the book (as per checks with Amazon.co.jp and an in-person check at Kinokuniya Sapporo yesterday) is no longer being sold. Good. But that sure was quick, compared to how much comparative time and effort it took for the Gaijin Hanzai Ura Files Mook in 2007 (which I believe the police contributed information to) to go off-market. Seems to me less the need to protect individual NJ than for the police to cover their collective ketsu. Whatever. The book is off the market. The materials for it shouldn’t have been collected in the first place. Arudou Debito
‘Leaked MPD data’ out as book / Documents published as is; names of police, informants revealed
The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 28, 2010)
A Tokyo publishing house has released a book containing what are believed to be Metropolitan Police Department antiterrorism documents that were leaked onto the Internet last month.
Released by Dai-San Shokan Thursday, the book contains the personal information of Muslim residents in this country, such as their names and addresses.
Akira Kitagawa, president of the publisher, said he decided to put out the book “to raise questions about the laxity of the police’s information control system.”
The documents in question are thought to have been leaked via file-sharing software on Oct. 28. The book is printed in the same format as the documents.
One foreign resident whose name and address are listed in the book has called for it to be immediately recalled from bookstores. However, since the MPD has not officially admitted a leak took place, they cannot suspend publication or take other measures.
The 469-page book, titled “Ryushutsu ‘Koan Tero Joho’ Zen Deta” (Leaked police terrorism info: all data), is on sale at some bookstores, but several major publishing agents have refused to distribute it.
If the documents are authentic, the book contains the names and photos of foreign residents being monitored by the 3rd Foreign Affairs Division at the Public Security Bureau of the MPD, the names of people who have cooperated with the police, and the photos and addresses of police officers involved in terrorism investigations.
One African man whose name and those of his family are in the book told The Yomiuri Shimbun he was worried how this would affect his family, and that he wanted the police to halt the book’s publication. He said he had not yet seen the book.
The MPD maintains it is still investigating the case, and has not confirmed whether the information is authentic. A senior police official said, “At present, it’s difficult for the MPD to protest the publication or demand its suspension.”
Masao Horibe, professor emeritus at Hitotsubashi University, said the publication of the data in book form could be called a human rights violation since it increases its distribution, even though the information was already available on the Internet.
“Some might argue people have the freedom to publish or know about the data. But this book is just raw unedited data, not like a newspaper would carry. I think it’s questionable whether the publication of this book is in the public interest,” he said.
Author Go Egami said the police should halt publication of the book and admit the leaked data was genuine, because its authenticity is obvious to anyone who has seen it.
“I think the government neglected the [terror information] leak because they were distracted by the coast guard’s trouble with the Chinese fishing boat,” he said.
‘MPD data’ book wreaks havoc / Foreign residents who had private info exposed express fear, anger
The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 29, 2010), Courtesy of JK
People who saw their personal information published last week in a book containing what is believed to be police antiterrorism documents are expressing anger and fear over the fallout they could face.
Many foreign residents had their photos and family members’ names revealed in the book, which some bookstores have removed from their shelves. It also carries personal information about investigators of the Metropolitan Police Department’s Public Security Bureau, as well as data on police informants.
It has been about one month since the suspected leak came to light, but the MPD has yet to confirm the data belongs to the department, only saying it is still verifying the validity of the documents. The police have not taken any action, such as requiring the publisher to stop sales of the book.
Experts have called on the MPD to quickly admit the data is real and take action.
Published by Tokyo publishing house Dai-San Shokan, the 469-page book is titled “Ryushutsu ‘Koan Tero Joho’ Zen Deta” (Leaked police terrorism info: all data) and hit the shelves Thursday.
The book carries the names, photos and addresses of foreign residents who have apparently been subject to MPD investigations, as well as those of MPD bureau investigators in charge of international terrorism.
An African man living in the Kanto region whose photo and family members’ names were carried in the book said: “After the documents were leaked online, a disease I’ve had for a long time got worse because of the stress. I’m shocked the information became a book so soon. I was just trying to forget about it.”
Another foreign resident of Tokyo said his home telephone number was carried in the book. “The publishing company didn’t contact me in advance. Now that the information’s in a book–not just on the Internet–I wonder what’ll happen to me and my family?” he said.
The book is on sale in Tokyo bookstores and via other channels, but some retailers have voluntarily decided not to sell copies. The Shinjuku branch of Kinokuniya Co. put 60 copies on sale Saturday morning, only to take it off the shelves when it realized the contents were inappropriate, but not before several copies had been sold.
MPD making no progress
The MPD did not notice the leak until Oct. 29 when it received a tip from a private telecommunications firm. Since then, the MPD’s position has been that it is verifying whether the data found online were in fact internal documents.
The MPD is stuck, because if it admits internal information was leaked, it will likely lose the trust of foreign authorities, according to a senior MPD official. One document contains an apparent request by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation for cooperation in investigations.
The entire MPD is involved in the investigation into the leak–not only the Public Security Bureau but also the Personnel and Training Bureau, which investigates scandals involving police officers, and the Administration Bureau, which is in charge of information control.
A former senior official of the Public Security Bureau said “the data is absolutely the bureau’s internal documents” and includes top secret items. The data was leaked onto the Internet through a server in Luxembourg, making it difficult for investigators to track where it originated. The MPD has asked the company operating the server for cooperation, but it has yet to be given any communications records.
The MPD maintains it is unable to take any action against the publisher because it has not officially confirmed the data came from the organization.
Police appear to be divided on how to handle the problem. Some say the MPD should never admit a leak occurred, but others believe they should admit at least part of the documents are internal and take necessary action as soon as possible.
The data has continued to spread online across the globe via file-sharing software. NetAgent Co., a Tokyo private information security firm, said as of Thursday, the data had been downloaded onto 10,285 computers in 21 countries and regions.