News

Japenese policeman fired for accidentally leaking data over P2P

Antony Savvas

A Japanese policeman has lost his job for accidentally leaking confidential information via peer-to-peer

(P2P) file-sharing software installed on his PC.

According to reports, the fired policeman worked for the Metropolitan Police Department in Tokyo, which confirmed recently that personal information regarding 12,000 people related to criminal investigations had been distributed across the internet from the officer's PC.

The police officer had installed the Winny file-sharing software on his PC, and did not know that confidential data was being made available to other users via the P2P network.

About 6,600 police documents are said to have been compromised, including interrogation reports, statements from victims of crime, and classified locations of automatic licence plate readers.

Among the files was a list of the names, addresses and personal information concerning 400 members of the notorious Yamaguchi-gumi yakuza criminal gang.

The officer had claimed, in an internal survey taken before the leak, that he was not using the Winny P2P software on his PC.

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at web security software firm Sophos, said, "It is no surprise that the Japanese police have taken a hard line against this officer for disobeying advice about not running P2P file-sharing software - the authorities have been trying to enforce a ban following a number of similar embarrassing incidents in the past."

The authorities may also hand out disciplinary action to some of the officer's superiors.

In May 2006, it was reported that a virus had leaked Japanese power plant secrets via the Winny network for the second time in four months.

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