Sunday 19 November 2017

Protect journalists' phone sources in law, say civil liberties groups

Dáil Éireann. Stock picture
Dáil Éireann. Stock picture
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Civil liberties groups want to see specific protections for journalists included in a proposed law on how State agencies can access an individual's phone data.

The Oireachtas Justice Committee will today scrutinise the Government's planned data retention Bill and is to hear a joint submission from the Irish Council for Civil Liberties and Digital Rights Ireland.

Supreme Court Judge John Murray conducted a review of the existing 2011 law after it emerged that the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (Gsoc) obtained the phone records of two journalists following a complaint from an associate of the late model Katy French.

Among recommendations relating to journalists in the review was a provision "expressly prohibiting" access to phone data for the purpose of identifying a journalist's source be considered for inclusion in any new law. The civil liberties groups will today tell TDs that the Government failed to include steps to protect journalists' sources, and they say the bill should be modified to include these measures.

Irish Independent

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