Nicola Sturgeon quizzed after Police Scotland caught spying on journalists

Here’s something that should worry everybody.

Tapping people’s communications in order to keep journalists under control is a Tory strategy, don’t you know?

Let’s all keep a close eye on this.

The Scottish government is under growing pressure to clear the air over alleged spying on journalists and their sources by an elite unit within Police Scotland.

Scottish Labour has tabled a parliamentary motion calling on Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, to reveal what she knows about the allegations.

“We need full transparency from the first minister about exactly what SNP government ministers know about these allegations and whether they have authorised any surveillance of journalists and their sources by Police Scotland,” said Hugh Henry, Scottish Labour’s shadow justice secretary.

The political row follows a report in the Sunday Herald that named Police Scotland as one of two forces which used the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (Ripa) without judicial approval to find sources. Ripa was amended in March, requiring judicial approval before officers can gain access to journalists’ phone records, texts and emails.

The Herald reported that Police Scotland’s elite counter corruption unit (CCU) used its spying powers to try to uncover a journalist’s sources without getting approval.

Source: Nicola Sturgeon told to reveal what she knew of Police Scotland spying claims | UK news | The Guardian

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2 Thoughts to “Nicola Sturgeon quizzed after Police Scotland caught spying on journalists”

  1. allicient

    Hugh Henry seems to have got himself mixed-up there: the Scottish Government could not have authorized these uses of RIPA as they don’t have the power to do so. On a very cursory reading, it seems the relevant sections of the revised code start on p47 of https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/426248/Acquisition_and_Disclosure_of_Communications_Data_Code_of_Practice_March_2015.pdf

    The Scottish Government could potentially instruct an investigation into the running of this “Counter Corruption Unit” – which by the sounds of it, would be welcome – but they cannot actually deal with the RIPA items as that is under the jurisdiction of the Interception of Communications Commissioner Office or Home Secretary, afaik.

    I’m open to correction by reference to legislation or similar but if the First Minister has to complain to the Prime Minister over MSPs protection from surveillance then it strongly suggests the power over this issue is indeed reserved.

    1. Mike Sivier

      Nobody is saying that this surveillance has been authorised correctly. The question is whether somebody in the Scottish Government has behaved improperly.

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