The Mail on Sunday (MoS) reports about the Police using the Regulatory of Investigative Powers Act (RIPA) to secretly access MoS journalists phone records.
The records were accessed while they investigated claims from the disgraced former cabinet Minister Chris Huhne that the MoS was involved in a conspiracy against him. Huhne was convicted of perverting the course of justice in a 2003 speeding case following a story in the MoS.
By accessing phone records, Police were able to identify the Journalist Andrew Alderson as the mail on Sunday’s source for the story, even though his identity was protected by the order of a Judge. The identity of the source, along with details of phone calls between him and MoS News Editor David Dilllon, were then passed onto Chris Huhne’s defence lawyers by prosecutors as part of the process of legal disclosure.
Keith Vaz, chairman of the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee responding to the revelations said:
‘It is deeply disturbing that the police have hacked into offices of a major UK newspaper. They have struck a serious blow against press freedom.’
Note: there is another recent Newsblog article about the Police secretly accessing the phone records of the Sun Political editor using RIPA.