MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The Australian Federal Police (AFP) confirmed Tuesday it accessed journalists' information containing a document's author(s), date of creation and a short summary – known as metadata – but rejected claims that it "regularly" engages in such acts.
On Monday, the journalist union Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA) quoted AFP Commissioner Andrew Colvin as saying that his agency "has been repeatedly asked to hunt down journalists' sources" by acquiring their metadata.
The clarification by Australian police comes amid debates in the Australian legislature over a data retention bill. On Monday, Prime Minister Abbott conceded an amendment, requiring law enforcement officials obtain a warrant to access metadata in order to identify journalists' sources.
In its statement, MEAA claims even the amended bill allows at least 20 government agencies to "trawl through a journalist's metadata" in pursuit of a confidential source.