MOSCOW, October 6 (RIA Novosti) – British authorities have ordered UK police to reveal whether they have used their surveillance powers to identify journalists' sources, The Guardian reported Monday.
"Today I have written to all chief constables and directed them under section 58 (1) of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (Ripa) to provide me with full details of all investigations that have used Ripa powers to acquire communications data to identify journalistic sources," Sir Paul Kennedy, the British interception of communications commissioner, said Monday as quoted by The Guardian.
"I fully understand and share the concerns raised by the protection of journalistic sources so as to enable a free press," Kennedy noted, adding that his office "will undertake a full inquiry into these matters" and report the findings to British Prime Minister David Cameron.
Kennedy said that he would make public his report so "as to develop clarity in relation to the scope and compliance of this activity".
"A free press is fundamental to a free society. There are measures in place to ensure that police powers are not abused and in addition the government is planning to review investigatory powers and capabilities and how they are regulated," Kennedy noted.
According to the commissioner, "relevant codes of practice will be strengthened to make it clear that specific consideration should be given to a communications data request involving those in sensitive professions, such as journalists".
Kennedy's request to the British police comes following revelations that police officers investigating the Chris Huhne speeding points case secretly obtained the phone records of a journalist and one of his sources even though a judge had ruled that the source should remain confidential.