YouTube denies IP address request in Syria kidnapping case

YouTube has denied a request from the Turkish police for the IP address of a computer that is believed to have been used to upload a video showing a kidnapped Free Syrian Army (FSA) officer, citing its privacy rules.

The kidnappers of Syrian Lieutenant Riyad Ahmed, who earlier defected to Turkey from Syrian regime forces, uploaded footage of him to YouTube to demand 1 million euros from the army officer's family. After the ransom demand was made, the kidnapped officer's brother, Selahattin Ahmed, filed a complaint against the kidnappers at the Hatay Chief Public Prosecutor's Office. Following a request from the prosecutor's office, Hatay police began to look for Ahmed and found the video on the website.

When Security General Directorate (EGM) officials contacted the headquarters of YouTube in Turkey to ask for the IP address of the computer used by kidnappers, company officials said the sole authority to make a decision on the issue were officials at the website's headquarters in the United States. As a result of talks between Turkish security officials and YouTube headquarters, company officials said that YouTube could not respond positively to the Turkish request due to its privacy rules and because the Turkish request does not involve anything relating to the security of the US. Surprised by the response, EGM officials sent the company's answer to the prosecutor's office.

In relation to the whereabouts of Riyad Ahmed, Turkish intelligence units believe that the FSA lieutenant might be being held captive either in Syria or other neighboring countries. It is not clear who is behind his abduction. Turkish intelligence officers are trying to determine his location by closely following some members of the Syrian opposition, who they suspect might have brokered his abduction.

Today's Zaman