Protecting the press from the police

Idiot / Savant

Idiot/Savant is an anonymous blogger living in exile.  He blogs about human rights, international affairs, and politics from a left - liberal perspective. Check out his blog

Over in the UK, police are increasingly abusing anti-terror laws to seize journalist's phone records in order to uncover their sources (today's example: they obtained the Sun's phone records for a year in an effort to identify one source). Now, the Interception of Communications Commissioner has launched an inquiry into the practice:


Acting Interception of Communications Commission Sir Paul Kennedy announced this morning that he has written to all chief constables and ordered them to provide full details of use of RIPA powers to identify journalistic sources. Head of is office Joanna Cavan acknowledged the role Press Gazette has played in bringing about the inquiry, saying the campaign had "helped to highlight public concerns".


"My office will undertake a full inquiry into these matters and report our findings to the Prime Minister and publically so as to develop clarity in relation to the scope and compliance of this activity.”

He also said: “I fully understand and share the concerns raised about the protection of journalistic sources so as to enable a free press.

Its good to hear, and maybe it'll result in a search power which respects journalistic privilege.

So what are the chances of a similar inquiry to combat such abuses here? Zero. For a start, there's no-one monitoring the police's use of search powers, no body with the task of ensuring they obey for the law. And then there's the problem that the police don't even keep records of how many times they use these powers (let alone how many times they use them against journalists).

We need to tighten the law here. A statutory reporting regime (as exists for surveillance warrants), limiting the seizure of telecommunications data to serious crime, and requiring the protection of privilege would be a good start.

Sort by

No one has commented on this page yet.
Post your comment to be the first.

Post your comment

Want to have your say?

It's quick, easy and 100% free.



Endorsed Events

  • SpringBreak FIJI SpringBreak FIJI

    Surrounded by nothing but tranquil water, SpringBreak Fiji brings together the best of everything

  • The Fijian Cup The Fijian Cup

    The Pacific Touch Rugby festival (Fijian Cup and Kava Cup) is underway on November 2, 2017 and with support from Touch Fiji and...

  • Rock Island VANUATU Rock Island VANUATU

    Rock Island is an all inclusive fully immersive travel experience which was brought into the music festival scene by The Rock and...

  • TourismHQ TourismHQ

    With seven years and growing under their belt; TourismHQ has established and continues to deliver on their extensive wealth of...