The RIPA Act Makes Us Cheer For The Daily Mail And Fear A Police State
BE afraid. The police are hacking the Daily Mail’s phones. With tabloids portrayed as the scum of the earth, the police are freer to eat into your freedoms that little further. The Leveson Inquiry has legitimised a police state.
The journalists who eavesdropped on your voice mails were wrong. But now the State’s law enforcers are at it. Who will police them? No-one. They have all the power and all guns and all the prisons.
Nick Craven writes for the Mail:
Police used anti-terrorism powers to secretly spy on The Mail on Sunday after shamed Cabinet Minister Chris Huhne falsely accused journalists of conspiring to bring him down. Detectives sidestepped a judge’s agreement to protect the source for our stories exposing how Huhne illegally conspired to have his speeding points put on to his wife’s licence. Instead they used far-reaching powers under the controversial Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) – originally intended to safeguard national security – to hack MoS phone records and identify the source.
Not worried? You should be. A free press is a sign of a free country. This smells of a police state.
They trawled through thousands of confidential numbers called by journalists from a landline at the busy newsdesk going back an entire year, covering hundreds of stories unrelated to the Huhne case.
Any stories about police corruption? Any about miscarriages of justice? Any about the Met’s failure to investigate the murder of Stephen Lawrence, a case the Mail challenged them on?
The Mail is correct:
It strikes at the heart of one of the bulwarks of a free, independent, press: the right of journalists, except in the most exceptional circumstances, to protect their sources. When the source of our stories was identified by police to be freelance journalist Andrew Alderson, his name – along with details of telephone calls and emails between him and MoS News Editor David Dillon – were passed by prosecutors to Chris Huhne’s defence lawyers.
Police files include an entry which reads: ‘Landline attributed to David Dillon for the period 14/11/2011 to 13/11/2012. Checked for contact with all numbers…’
Freedom of speech has been given a kicking.
We now live in a country where the police can snoop on your emails. If a journalist wants to dig into a story, expose a truth the powerful want hidden, they cannot. But the police can spy on that journalist. So too can your local council. They are in total control.