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Fairfax 'hacking' allegations blow up

Police raid The Age

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Australia’s own “hacking scandal”, in which Fairfax’s Melbourne masthead The Age is accused of illegally accessing an ALP member database, has blown up spectacularly with an Australian Federal Victoria Police raid on the newspaper’s offices.

The Vic Police E-Crime squad is “investigating the allegation that personal details of Victorians” were accessed by the newspaper last year, when it put together a story about how the ALP tracks citizens in its campaign database.

In November, the squad had also executed a search warrant on the ALP’s King Street headquarters in Melbourne.

The allegations have been festering for a year, ever since The Age published this story on electoral profiling by political parties.

That story appeared to demonstrate that The Age had at least viewed information in the database, since it was able to obtain records relating to intimate details of voters’ lives. The newspaper has consistently denied any wrongdoing.

The story has also created a year-long tit-for-tat between Fairfax and News Limited, with the latter apparently enjoying the chance to direct hacking allegations at a competitor.

The Age says its offices were raided at 10am Thursday December 15, and is maintaining that its actions were in the public interest and that it did not break the law. ®

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