UK Government admits pre-2016 journalist surveillance was illegal

The UK Government has admitted that its pre-2016 surveillance regime under which police accessed journalists call records in order to identify confidential sources, violated human rights laws.

Press Gazette revealed in 2015 that police had widely used the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) to secretly view journalists’ call records and identify lawful confidential sources.

According to two European Court of Human Rights decisions, the UK Government has now acknowledged that section 8 of RIPA was “not compliant” with Article 8 (privacy) or, in relation to treatment of confidential journalistic material, Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention on Human Rights.