Tabloid hack scum face jail
Journalists and private investigators who illegally obtain and trade in personal information will face jail sentences under planned changes to the Data Protection Act.
Ministers want to replace the current maximum sentence of an unlimited fine next April with a spell of up to two years inside.
The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has repeatedly called for tougher penalties for those who blag telephone, medical and other records.
On Thursday justice minister Michael Wills launched a consultation. Alongside harsher punishments, a new public interest defence will aim to protect legitimate journalistic inquiry.
Wills said: "The Government have no intention of curtailing responsible investigative journalism, so we are also consulting on commencing the new defence under section 55 for those who can show that they acted for the purposes of journalism, art and literature with a view to publishing journalistic, literary or artistic material, in the reasonable belief that the obtaining, disclosing or procuring was in the public interest."
The ICO highlighted abuses by journalists and private investigators in its 2006 report What Price Privacy? The unlawful trade in confidential personal information.
It took this summer's high profile tabloid celebrity phone hacking scandal to prompt action, however. As El Reg pointed out, the issue of dodgy gumshoes listening in on unsecured voicemails was relatively insignificant compared to burgeoning trade in data obtained by pretexting and corrupt insiders.
The consultation document is here. ®
ICO Has No Balls At All
Remember that this is the ICO which did jack shit to prevent Phorm & BT from carrying out its illegal interception of BT customers' internet activity data. This is the ICO which admits it does not employ Information Security qualified staff. This is the ICO which has no balls at all and is completely unfit for purpose.
I'd like to see newspaper editors do time as well as the journalists and other specimens who break the law. But it won't happen. Waste of time spin headline which won't result in anyone being brought to account.
Our scum bag elite gaming the legal system...
"who illegally obtain and trade in personal information"
So in other words, MP expenses. Which is what this is really about. Protecting their personal information, just sold to us with a pack of lies and misinformation as usual, about how its all for us. Rubbish, its all for them, to help them silence anyone speaking out against them with evidence to back it up.
So once again, the scum bag elite in power change the law to help them clamp down on everyone.
They treat us like we are to be seen and not heard. Proles don't have any rights. How dare anyone even think of showing decent against our ruling elite.
They are openly gaming the legal system, to help them once again clamp down on us all even more.
Aw fer Gawd's sake, how's anyone going to earn a decent living now? (£45k plus £30k expenses per annum).
That's what the 'Royal Correspondents' of posh newspapers like News of The Screws get for their journalistic experience (sic) and insights gleaned via sleazy private defectives (not a misspelling.)
Celebrity reports by people Who Know The Stars (though rarely, the English language) earn even more, and embark on a heady career that, like that doyen of British journalism, Piers Morgan, leads them first into the Editor's chair and thence the lucrative world of high quality British television.
Actually, it gets even better than that: the Editor's chair, of a world renowned, influential and responsible newspaper even gets you £100k a year job with a political party. Like, er, the Conservatives.
I have just invested in all kinds of spy equipment as well as a raincoat and sunglasses so as to satisfy the requirements of British newspapers seeking to appoint journalists to positions on their celebrity news pages (that's, er, 50% of the news content) and Royal news pages (that's the other 50%.)
This proposed change in legislation is a vicious attack on freedom of speech and an individual's right to work, and I do not expect El Reg to be so sanguine about this. I shall write to Norman Lamont forthwith.