16:39 GMT02 December 2020
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    Australian police accessed information containing journalists and their investigative work.

    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.

    Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ)
    © Photo : British Ministry of Defence
    "AFP requests for accessing a journalist's metadata are rare," the AFP said in a statement adding that it has received a total of 13 referrals over the past year and a half.

    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.


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    metadata, classified documents, journalists, Australian Federal Police, Australia
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