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Naughty Foxy reveals lax Hong Kong Police procedure on confidential documents

In May 2008, a user on file-sharing tool, Foxy, leaked secret Hong Kong Police documents over the Internet. The controversy sparked concerns that Government policies are not stringent enough to protect privacy of user data.

On March 7, 2009, a Foxy user calling himself Foxy King did it again this time posting sixty-nine files believed to come from the Sheung Shui police station Saturday and passed the information to local mainstream media.

According to local media reports, those data include records of drugs seized and personal information of suspects from 2004 to late 2008.

The files also contain personal information of the officers who created them and drug-trafficking suspects, plus an operation leading to the arrest of those suspects.

In addition, one of the files has name and identity-card number of a 14-year-old girl who had been in the temporary custody of the Social Welfare Department.

"We are very concerned about every case of government confidential documents leakage, and have reminded our colleagues not to install Foxy software on computers for work and personal use," Secretary for Security Ambrose Lee was quoted as saying Sunday.

Lee was quoted by local daily, The Standard, as saying "There are times when colleagues have to work at home. An officer's personal computer might have the program installed, or his children might have installed it without his knowledge. Nonetheless, officers should not take any confidential documents from the office without a superior's approval."

A police spokesperson was also quoted as saying that they are investigating whether the data available on the Web is a result of previous leaks or a recent one.

The spokesperson added that the Police had purchased encrypted USB thumb drives for use inside police stations and banned the use of USB thumb drives owned personally by staffers.

The incident of leaked confidential materials is not restricted to the Hong Kong Police. Similar incidents have occured with the Hong Kong Immigration Department, the Hospital Authority and local hospitals.




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