Please read the first 2 parts before reading this.
Q5 Is there any independent verification?
Screenshots.com takes screenshots of websites at various times, using the Wayback Machine. It has two screenshots for CEOP that fall into the gap. These show that WM had completed saves around 22 Nov 2007 and 11 Dec 2007.
These show that CEOP and the WM were both working fine around those dates, but that this information has dropped out of the WM at some subsequent time.
Further, the screenshots capture of how the WM displayed the CEOP page in the period from Mar 2008 onward is intact, whereas the equivalent in the WM is currently broken.
The WM entries from 19 Mar 2008 on are text only.
Here is the Screenshots.com capture from 20 Mar 2008.
Once again, the current WM data is in error, while Screenshots shows it was working properly at the time.
Q6 Is it only the McCann information that is affected?
No. From the evidence available the whole of the CEOP history from around mid-October 2007 was captured correctly, but has subsequently been mangled. One commentator has used the WM to estimate the percentage of CEOP captures that ended up in the 30 April 2007 destination, and the result is about 30%.
Given the lifetime of the CEOP site this is ridiculously high. It suggests there were other CEOP saves from the period 12 Oct 2007 to 5 Mar 2008, and that these have now been misfiled as 30 Apr 2007. As the 30 Apr 2007 entry is no longer accessible, this cannot be proved, except by staff working for the WM.
Q7 Is it only the CEOP information that is affected?
I don’t know. To prove that other sites are affected one would have to find a second site where the capture is corrupt, which requires trying out thousands of sites and hoping. To prove that is only CEOP that is affected, one would have to try out thousands of other sites and not find a second site where the capture is corrupt.
Given that the evidence is clearly that the CEOP trail is corrupt, this seems like a futile exercise.
Q8 Why do other sites show correctly re 30 April 2007?
There is no reason to believe that all of the captures reported for 30 April 2007 are in error. Many examples have been found for popular sites, which show that these were captured correctly on 30 Apr 2007.
Try is yourself with sites using frequent date changes e.g. news sites.
Q9 Will the WM explain how this error occurred?
Personally, I doubt that a clear explanation will be given. I would expect a fairly glib explanation, followed by an assertion that the data has been cleaned up, with an assurance that steps have been put in place to make sure the error is not repeated. That is the standard PR response, and the WM does not report in to Madeleine McCann forums, despite some people clearly thinking this is the case.
Q10 Will this sink the WM?
No. The WM is a small, not-for-profit organisation. It does not farm out history records for cash. That is why you get to use it for free.
If you look at the terms and conditions of the WM, they are very clear that the WM will state only that this is what they have on their system. They will not state that they guarantee the capture reflects the site 100% accurately. The person using the information is required to verify that it is accurate.
Q11 Will cases that used WM data be re-fought?
Given that WM does not certify accuracy, and given that the American legal system had already recognised this issue and put the relevant checks and balances in place, I doubt it.
To be honest, I don’t care.
Q12 Why has this anomaly surfaced only recently? Surely someone else had used to WM to check CEOP re Madeleine?
I was suspicious as to why this surfaced recently, but we have information that shows that WM was displaying CEOP correctly for years.
The evidence here is the screenshots data captures, as they work seamlessly in time giving continuous screenshots from just before the incident to well after.
Therefore, it is not a crawler fault. The continuous, valid site captures after October 2007 on screenshots.com prove that the crawler was working properly and capturing the CEOP page properly.
It is not a hack. The whole of the CEOP data from mid-October on would need to be hacked. Removing at least 2 captures and then breaking down dozens from Feb 2008 on is not what a hacker would do. All of this would have been left pristine, giving us only the rogue April 30 entry to debate.
It is a later corruption of data that was good on the WM at the time it was captured.
Q13 When did the corruption occur?
A Sep 2010 capture of ceop.gov.uk shows the WM started redirecting to ceop.police.uk. From that point on the CEOP records show correctly in the WM.
It is highly likely that the corruption occurred from Sep 2010 on. A highly unlikely scenario is that there was continual creeping corruption up to that point, with the WM getting its captures right for long enough that screenshots.com could pick it up, then the WM copy ‘disintegrated’.
Since the WM currently shows correct data from that point on, it implies that the ceop.gov.uk trail got corrupted, while the ceop.police.uk trail is intact.
I cannot cut the date down beyond Sep 2010. That would require someone popping up with a screen capture in the past, showing at that date the data was corrupt or the data was intact.
I don’t know why the discoverer was searching. It could have been directly re Madeleine, or it could have been for paedophile information, since CEOP seems to be a good public source in this area.
Q14 When will the WM be fixed?
That depends entirely on the scale of the problem and how they decide to fix it.
For example, if it is ceop.gov.uk only, a quick fix would be simply to erase the faulty records from Oct 2007 to Sep 2010, as it is no great loss.
If it is affecting a significant number of sites, and the WM has the base data to fix it, a more sophisticated approach would be used, taking a longer time.
Without knowing the scope of the corruption and the corporate mindset of the WM, I cannot say.
Q15 What is the bottom line?
Option 1. The WM is wrong, whether it is broken or otherwise. It is a technical error There is ample evidence, and all the evidence points to a technical error that has re-filed an October 2007 page in a 30 Apr 2007 folder.
Option 2. The WM is accurate, and CEOP knew Madeleine would go missing before she went missing. Or Madeleine had gone ‘missing’ by 30 Apr 2007. This requires a global conspiracy involving CEOP, and the WM which is now covering it up. Plus numerous staff and guests at the Ocean Club. Plus the media, who are not reporting this scandal.
Make up your own mind.
Personally, I believe we have just seen the creation of another Madeleine myth that will circulate the Internet for years.