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McArthur: new commissioner must defend privacy rights vigorously

July 25, 2016 1:53 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesman Liam McArthur MSP today said Scotland's new Surveillance Commissioner must protect the freedom of journalists and others who have had their communications data accessed unlawfully.

Mr McArthur was speaking after answers to Lib Dem parliamentary questions revealed that senior judge Lord Bracadale has been appointed as as the Surveillance Commissioner for Scotland.

The appointment comes as it was reported that the Investigatory Powers Tribunal may launch a new independent probe into the breach of communications data guidelines by officers in Police Scotland's Counter Corruption Unit.

Commenting on the appointment, Mr McArthur said:

"The fact that a commissioner is now in place will mean nothing unless he vigorously protects the freedoms of journalists and others who have had their communications data intercepted unlawfully.

"Units within Police Scotland played fast and loose with the rules to identify journalistic sources and in many respects seem to have ignored them altogether. This cannot be allowed to happen again. A free press is vital to our democracy."