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November 11, 1998 letter by Mr. Yaman Akdeniz to the PRG
My November 11, 1998 dated letter to the PRG about the Internet Detective. I have written this letter following the receipt of the first (more censored) version of the publication.

11 November, 1998

Dear Mr J-

Thank you for the censored version of the Internet Detective and also thank you for the e-mail message you have sent me (dated November 9) following the receipt of my cheque and letter. First of all, I found the publication very useful as it has been written clearly and includes useful information such as the full list of UK Internet Service Providers among other things. I would like to congratulate its author and the Home Office for commissioning such research.

I now understand that Parts 8-10 and Appendices C and D are removed under Part II, paragraph 4 of the Open Government Code of Conduct entitled "Law enforcement and legal proceedings". I am fully aware of the Code of Conduct and please consider my letter as an appeal to the decision taken by the Home Office.

I would now like the Home Office to reconsider its decision to remove Parts 8-10 and Appendices C and D of the publication Internet Detective for the following reason:

You state in your e-mail message dated November 9 that the "unseen parts of the publication are witheld for operational reasons" and that "the version of the document released to the press in July 1998 had these sensitive parts removed with the agreement of The association of Chief Police Officers and the National Criminal Intelligence Service."

I have been aware of this publication since mid summer 1998 following its distribution to the media and the coverage of the book by the press. I can name at least three press stories covering the Internet Detective together with a BBC Online coverage (see at http:/news.bbc.co.uk). These are namely:

Weaver, M., Guide to the Internet for police launched," The Daily Telegraph, 4 July 1998, Campbell, D., "On the bit beat: PCs are getting to know their PCs," The Guardian, Online Section, 9 July, 1998, and Ward, C., "Netheads: DI David Davis," (1998) .Net Magazine, November, 31-32.

I have contacted one of the authors of the above articles namely Mr Duncan Campbell earlier this week to compare my version with his version of the Internet Detective. Mr Campbell’s letter is hereby enclosed and obtained through e-mail correspondence and Campbell states in his letter that he obtained a copy through the press office of the Home Office. Further, Mr Campbell states that (see his digitally signed letter below):

"I was surprised by the suggestion in your letter that Sections 8-10 and Appendices C and D were deleted before it was sent to us. This is incorrect. Only section 10 was deleted from the copy sent to us. Section 8 on ‘Hiding Information and Identities on the Internet’ and Section 9 on ‘Internet Investigative Techniques’ were included. So were Appendix C on ‘Types of Crime’ and Appendix D on specific case studies."

Mr Campbell’s statement contradicts the information you have provided me and he does possess a "less censored" version of the publication Internet Detective.

Moreover, the above mentioned .Net article of November 1998 does refer to Operation First-Out, Operation Starburst and other operations which are mentioned in the Internet Detective. However, there are no signs of those section in my copy of the Internet Detective even though I can read about these "sensitive parts" through a popular monthly publication. So far, I was not aware of what was removed from my "censored version" of the Internet Detective, but I am now at least aware of what is missing apart from section 10 of the publication.

Part II, paragraph 4(b) of the Open Government Code of Conduct states that:

"Information whose disclosure could prejudice the enforcement or proper administration of the law, including the prevention, investigation or detection of crime, or the apprehension or prosecution of offenders."

And if that is the case with the excluded sections from my copy, why does the media get a "less censored" version of this publication. I believe the release of the publication to the media is for publicity purposes and if these parts are so sensitive why did the media get it in the first place ? Moreover, how can the Home Office claim that a publication with over 2000 copies distributed will remain confidential ?

As I said to you in an earlier communication, I am not after favours but I would like to be treated reasonably and equally for receiving a copy of Internet Detective through the Home Office under the Open Code of Government. Therefore, I would like you to reconsider your decision to exclude Sections 8-10 and Appendices C and D.

Yours sincerely,

Mr Yaman Akdeniz

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