UK Home Secretary Theresa May was explaining the new Draft Investigatory Powers Bill to MPs in Parliament on Wednesday afternoon when she let slip that if the bill becomes law, she will be able to identify journalists’ sources without getting authorisation from a judge.
She outlined the new method that will make it possible for her to sign off on a warrant for a journalist’s source to be identified.
“There will be an urgent process, so it will be possible for a Secretary of State to sign an urgent warrant for it to come immediately into effect, and then there will be a period of time within which the judge will have to review that and then make a decision as to whether it should continue or not.”
Here’s the video:
Journalists are furious that a politician wants to grant themselves the power to snoop on sources. The news editor one of the UK’s biggest online media organisations told Business Insider:
Despite the abuse of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, which was used by the Metropolitan Police to access journalists’ telephone records, we are now expected to just hope that these new powers will be used appropriately. It gives politicians an unprecedented ability to identify sources, the protection of which should be one of the fundamental rights of a free press.
Journalists are very serious about keeping their sources confidential and will interpret Theresa May’s plans as an attack on the free press. It’s likely that May will face heavy criticism over the issue in the papers.
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