Journalists under surveillance
Thursday 22 January Australian federal police are being asked to track the sources of stories questioning the way boats full of asylum seekers are being treated, the Guardian reports.
Paul Farrell of Guardian Australia writes that at least eight stories have been referred to the police by the country's customs chief because he suspects that they were based on classified material.
Farrell quotes one letter as saying: “I would be grateful if your agency would accept the responsibility for investigating this matter with a view to identification and, if appropriate, prosecution of the persons responsible.”
The stories, published by the Guardian, the West Australian and news.com.au, relate to Scott Morrison's time as immigration minister after the election of the coalition government in September 2013.
Morrison immediately imposed tighter restrictions on asylum seekers and within weeks the Australian authorities stood accused of being too slow to respond to distress calls from a boat that went down off Indonesia, killing at least 30 people. The following week the Sri Lankan navy had to rescue 70 people from a fishing trawler found drifting in high seas.
See Farrell's report and links to the referrals and commentary here
1,700 mobile records checked 'in error'
Wednesday 26 November Almost every News International journalist with a company mobile phone between 2005 and 2007 will have had records of the calls they made scrutinised by Metropolitan Police working on Operation Elveden.
The Times's crime editor Sean O'Neill reports today that Vodafone handed records relating to 1,757 phones to the police, who were seeking information under RIPA about a single reporter's calls. The phones had been used by journalists, lawyers, secretarial staff and senior executives.
When Vodafone realised the error, it asked for the records to be returned and later wrote to the Met expressing concern that it continued to retain them.
The records were sent to the police in October last year, but it was not until police analysts burnt the material on to a CD in March that they noted that they had "excess material". Three months later, after reviewing the data and making a spreadsheet, the force contacted the Information Commissioner to make an error report. In the meantime it had, according to the Times, returned to the material to find out information about five more journalists, lawyers and sources.
Read the original article here and Roy Greenslade's view here
Six challenge Met's 'extremist' database
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