26 April 2006

Jumping the gun

Belfast Telegraph

Report on terrorist activity is available on the internet the day before it's released

By Steven Alexander
26 April 2006

**See>>IMC website

The latest report by Ulster's terrorist watchdog was made available on the internet yesterday ... a full day before its official publication.

The 10th report by the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC) is due to be published later today, but was discovered on the body's website yesterday afternoon by a member of the public.

The man said he had been able to get hold of the full report simply by changing a single digit in the previous IMC report's website address.

He said: "This is the second time I have been able to access IMC reports ahead of their publication - and it wasn't hard to get."

The caller to the Telegraph gave details on how anyone could obtain the information.

"In the address line of the link to each IMC report, there is a two digit number at the end," he said.

"I had noticed that for each report, the number increased by one. So yesterday, I just clicked on the link to the ninth IMC report, and when the page popped up, I changed the '34' to '35' - and voila.

"So even though there is no link to the new report, it can still be easily accessed. For a security watchdog, the IMC's website isn't very secure."

The report was also leaked last night on Northern Irish politics website Slugger O'Toole.

Mick Fealty, editor of the site, said: "One of our readers emailed me, and we have been able to publish details from the IMC report 12 hours ahead of the IMC.

"This also happened with the previous report, although we were only just over an hour ahead of the game last time.

"It just jumped into our lap again, and if someone else has been able to get it, it must be leaking all over the place."

It is understood that the IMC report was only available online from yesterday.

No-one from the organisation was available for comment at its offices last night.

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