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Is this CD the kidnappers' friend?

Disk knocks on directors' front door

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The man behind a CD-ROM containing the names, addresses and financial details of all UK company directors has been accused of putting people's lives at risk. All of the information contained on the UK-Info Power CD is already in the public domain, but the inclusion of a route-finder on the disk has prompted allegations of irresponsible behaviour. According to the Times, the Institute of Directors' head of policy, Ruth Lea, said: "Every anarchist group in the country will just have to buy this disk." Which could be good news for the company behind the £229.95 UK-Info Power disk – i-CD Publishing Alluding to concerns that the disk will become a powerful ally to kidnappers, Lea continued: "What are people with wives and children to do?" i-CD Publishing's MD, Alastair Crawford, defended the CD-ROM, saying it would not be enough on its own to provoke someone into seeking out and attacking company directors. The most it would, he claimed, would be to "save a criminal half an hour" when tracking down directors' details. Crawford has a point here – determined criminals will go about their unlawful business regardless of how hard or easy it may be. But he is kidding himself if hew thinks no opportunists will jump on UK-Info Power as a way of targeting and harassing directors. No, it won't be enough to turn Joe Public into Public Enemy No One, but there are more than enough nutters out there to cause a few problems. The Times also quotes civil rights organisation Liberty as saying: "The right to freedom of information should take precedence over individual liberty." Sure, but The Register says freedom without responsibility is akin to oppression. Crawford's defence of UK-Info Power continues: "For anyone who is bent on attacking directors getting the address is the least of their problems." Finding the fastest route to the director of your choice could be harder, which is just as well there's a route finder included. ®

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