by Mike Masnick
Tue, Dec 2nd 2008 3:45am
An interesting and important ruling came out of the UK last week, as a journalist had a lawsuit against her thrown out by a judge, because it appears that much of the evidence came from police wiretapping her phone conversations with a source in the police department. The judge ruled that journalists have a right to protect their sources, and the police wiretaps were illegal. I'm not familiar enough with UK wiretapping laws to know if they needed a court's approval for the wiretap in the first place -- but on the whole this seems like a reasonable decision, as the case itself was quite troublesome. Basically, it sounded like the police wanted to plug leaks from within the department, and then bugged the journalist to find out who the leaker was, and with that info charged both the source and the journalist. That certainly seems like an abuse of police power to try to prevent future leaks, so it's good to see the court dismiss the whole thing.
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