Liberal Democrats ensure government gives added protection for journalists’ records

Police will need to get a judge to give them permission before they access journalists’ phone records, according to the BBC.

A temporary measure means officers must follow the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 and get legal permission to obtain any communications data.

The move comes after strong criticism of the way police were using the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (Ripa) to access journalists’ sources.

The Home Office said it was an “interim solution” ahead of the next parliament.

It was the Liberal Democrats and Nick Clegg in particular who pushed for this change:

A spokesman Mr Clegg said: “We’re glad the Tories have finally found some sense and have at least agreed to ensure temporary measures are put in place to protect journalist sources.

“Whilst temporary measures are better than none, we will not stop pushing to ensure permanent safeguards are put in place.”

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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5 Comments

  • Tony Greaves 21st Feb '15 - 9:49pm

    Just don’t expect any journalists to be grateful. No mention of the LDs in any o f the coverage I’ve seen so far.

    Tony

  • Philip Thomas 21st Feb '15 - 9:56pm

    The BBC’s lead story mentions one Nick Clegg. True, they don’t reveal his party affiliation…

  • Tony – it was mentioned favourably in the Sun, of all places, with a photo of Julian Huppert. To be fair, neither you nor I would usually read that rag but it was lying about as I was waiting to have my hair cut …

  • Tony

    Liberal values are not being pushed for personal gain surely everyone should see this as a simple matter of principle for any liberal.

  • This is in the right direction but it’s only a very small step. There is all sorts of scope for confusion – deliberate or otherwise – about who is or isn’t a journalist and then there is always the other party to a conversation who presumably remains at risk.

    Surely the principle should be that to access private information the police must have a warrant just as they do to enter your home. That means a starting position of reasonable suspicion, not just a shopping trip. I would be sympathetic (subject to what others might say) to a system that automatically allowed that initial warrant to extend to collecting metadata (but not listen in) from contacts of the suspect to see if they are perhaps part of a network but to go further should require a new warrant.

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