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DAY OF JUSTICE: The Age raided by Victoria Police over computer hacking crime-spree

You know it’s going to be a good day when you see these words on The Age’s website:.

Police raid The Age offices

Police from the E-Crime Squad have raided The Age’s offices in Melbourne this morning.

They have executed a warrant in relation to an investigation following allegations of illegal access to the ALP database.

Six Victoria Police officers arrived at Media House in Collins Street at 10am, and were met by The Age editor Paul Ramadge in the foyer. [VEXNEWS: I think I might die a happy man.]

“Victoria Police E-Crime Squad is investigating the allegation personal details of Victorians were electronically accessed by a media outlet via a confidential political party database without authorisation,” a police spokeswoman said.

“As the investigation is active and ongoing we are not in a position to comment any further.”

UPDATE: From The Australian, which does seem to share our excitement over this important issue of public probity and compliance with our laws and the privacy rights of Australian citizens.

Police raid The Age newspaper
BY: SALLY JACKSON From: The Australian December 15, 2011 10:52AM

POLICE from the E-Crime Squad have raided the offices of Melbourne’s The Age newspaper this morning, the paper has reported on its website.

Six Victoria Police officers arrived at Media House in Collins Street at 10am to execute a warrant in relation to an investigation into allegations journalists at the paper had illegally accessed an ALP database.

They were met in the foyer by The Age editor Paul Ramadge. [VEXNEWS: Still lol-ing about this feature of the yarn]

“Victoria Police E-Crime Squad is investigating the allegation personal details of Victorians were electronically accessed by a media outlet via a confidential political party database without authorisation,” a police spokeswoman told the paper.

“As the investigation is active and ongoing we are not in a position to comment any further.”

Mr Ramadge, senior Age editor Mark Baker and reporters Royce Millar and Nick McKenzie are under investigation by Victoria Police’s E-Crime squad for allegedly accessing an ALP database of electoral roll material in the lead-up to last year’s state poll.

The Australian revealed last month that Victoria poice were preparing to interview the four journalists. [VEXNEWS: We must have missed that]

“An investigation is under way and if those individuals have not been spoken to yet, then they will be spoken to as part of this investigation,” a Victoria Police spokesman said at the time.

In November last year The Age revealed the ALP was holding the personal details of tens of thousands of Victorians in a database that was being accessed by campaign workers.

To research the story it conducted searches of prominent Victorians including former police commissioner Simon Overland, barrister Peter Faris QC and radio presenters Neil Mitchell and Jon Faine.

Mr Ramadge last month defended the allegedly illegal searches as being in the public interest.

“A person with authorised access came to us with concerns about the information being held and we sought to verify that and publish in the public interest,” he said. “I would reiterate that to Victoria Police or the electoral commission.”

However, the vice-president of Liberty Victoria, Anne O’Rourke, said journalists should not break the law.

“Hacking is a criminal offence; whether it’s in the public interest or not it is illegal,” she said. “And if they have broken the law they should expect to be prosecuted. Journalists should be subject to the law.”

Discussion

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  1. I just read The Age’s coverage of this and I think the whole thing has been overblown. If The Age wants to snoop using illegal means, then it should be left to do so without scrutiny.

    Posted by Jonathan Holmes | December 15, 2011, 10:14
  2. What a shame the Media Watch team will be perched upon deck chairs by the beach.

    Posted by Disillusioned | December 15, 2011, 11:05
  3. Oh The Age always thinks its above the law.

    Posted by Pecking order | December 15, 2011, 11:24
  4. Cops should put the bracelets on Ramadge. As Editor he is responsible for the actions of his staff and must be held accountable.

    Posted by Arrest Ramadge | December 15, 2011, 11:34
  5. Melissa Fyfe tweeted:
    “So Labor collects large amounts of info on voters, but The Age is raided for telling people about it. Madness.”

    Either The Age doesn’t get it or they are deliberately trying to deceive the public. The issue is not whether they told people about the Labor database. The issue is that they hacked the database and accessed information about numerous individuals.

    Posted by gt | December 15, 2011, 11:54
  6. So The Age thinks its outrageous that the ALP keeps a perfectly legal database of constituents.

    But The Age also keeps a perfectly legal database with all sorts of information on its subscribers and potential customers.

    Posted by Double standards anyone? | December 15, 2011, 12:05
  7. I’d like to see a class action launched against The Age by all of the people who have their name on the ALP Database.

    The People of Victoria vs The Age.

    Posted by A great day for justice in our fair state. | December 15, 2011, 13:06
  8. Melissa Fyffe you are a moron and “Double Standards Anyone” is spot on. Any good business keeps a database of their customers that they have contact wih. Electorate officers keeping the similar data for Consituents queries is ensuring good service and knowledge of clients. The imporatn things is that this information is kept private and not used outside of the organisation. So the Age hacking the ALP’s customer database would be no different to the ALP hacking the Age’s suscriber database. And what would the Age think of that?

    Posted by Right Said Fred | December 15, 2011, 13:17
  9. […] Morning HeraldPolice raid The Age over ALP database hacking allegationsPerth NowRegister -VEXNEWSall 160 news […]

    Posted by Police raid Melbourne Age office – ABC Online | MyPress.SE - Universal News Agency | December 15, 2011, 14:51
  10. Melissa Fyfe would be an A-Grade 5-Star rolled gold tool.
    Apparently she is part of their Investigative Unit ….Jeeez.
    Look no further for evidence as to why Fairfax is circling the plug-hole

    Investigation Target Tactics 101 … keep your head down idiot

    Posted by Toad of Toad Hall | December 15, 2011, 15:00
  11. Was Suzanne Carbone, Caroline Webb or Rebecca Thistleton involved? I hope so

    Posted by Adrian Jackson | December 15, 2011, 15:12
  12. Sally Jackson is a great reporter

    Posted by Adrian Jackson | December 15, 2011, 15:13
  13. Christmas has arrived early!

    Posted by Mark | December 15, 2011, 16:02
  14. So the AGE goes afer after News Ltd for events that occurred with it UK arm, events that have not been proven here. The AGE is under investigation for hacking a database – many addresses and people’s details. News of the World closed up shop principally because of the fallout of the phone hacking scandal. What is the difference between what NOTW did and what the AGE did. Why is it a crime for News Ltd and not Fairfax. Riddle me that Bob Brown!!

    Posted by Futureproof | December 15, 2011, 16:42
  15. “Christmas has arrived early!”

    Is not so good if you’re the turkey.

    Posted by Toad of Toad Hall | December 15, 2011, 17:07
  16. If Landeryou gets any happier, there could be enough power emitted from his anus to replace any need to use coal-powered electricity generation.

    The Age has finally discovered a solution to climate change.

    Posted by Power source | December 15, 2011, 18:08
  17. Bravo, Power Source. You’re quite right. The Age has been working to prevent climate change for years and now they have finally found a solution. Great media outlets have a way of doing these things.

    Posted by Jonathan Holmes | December 15, 2011, 18:30
  18. Despite your efforts, News Limited will never hirer you for a job!

    Posted by Mysterious and wise | December 15, 2011, 19:05
  19. Congratulations are due to the famed Vexnews Investigations Unit for its dogged pursuit of these fakes and poseurs. Is it a coincidence that the pale imitation of the Unit at The Age has recently been expanded? Are they expecting casualties? On this 100th anniversary of the failed Scott expedition to the South Pole, is it time for Ramadge and McKenzie and Millar to consider the Capt. Oates solution? ” I’m going to jail now, I might be some time…”

    Posted by Inspector Knacker of the Yard | December 15, 2011, 19:35
  20. Now the Age has rushed to Court to hide evidence from Victoria Police. Oh dear oh dear…. death throws of a once proud periodical.

    Posted by Anonymous | December 15, 2011, 20:38
  21. My understanding of this non story is that someone within the ALP gave The Age journalists access to this database. The database contains information gathered about constituents, ie details of letters, phone calls, complaints etc; as a person who has had such contact with my local useless ALP politician I had no idea such contacts may have been transferred to a central database and had I have known I would have objected. All that is likely to be revealed here is who gave the journalists access to the database. As on observer of this issue I think that it is a public interest story and people have a right to know that such a database was kept by the ALP. Now please top using the term ‘hacking’ it is not.

    Posted by What's the difference? | December 15, 2011, 20:47
  22. This is Australia’s phone hacking scandal. Royce Millar and other Ageless sleuths have no right to access private details. On one hand I congratulate the government for taking this action but there are concerns about their own use of technology, the VEC access numerous government databases including the Housing Rental bonds, Car registrations etc. Information that they then sell to organizations such as Tattersalls and private investigators.

    Posted by Melbcity | December 15, 2011, 20:56
  23. The Criminals code of honor

    “While we are cooperating with police, we have expressed our grave concerns over the risk that our sources for the report may be identified. We protect our sources at all costs. It is a code that cuts to the heart of everything we do as journalists. It is about trust. It is about ethics. If the sources for this report are identified through the police searches, even inadvertently, it will be a dark day for journalism,” he said in statement.

    Posted by Underbelly | December 15, 2011, 22:58
  24. Newspapers will be washed up in a decade or so anyway. I get The Age and The Australian delivered for my business guest but 90% dont want either paper now. 16 years ago 90% wanted a paper. If this is a treat nationally together with falling advertising revenue the end could be even nearer

    Posted by Adrian Jackson | December 16, 2011, 0:17
  25. john Faine the commy on ABC radio was going on about media rights. If the raid had been on a Murdoch owned paper every lefty would crawling out of the gutter to have them banned. really enjoying watching the Age squrim caught red handed with their hand in the cookie jar.

    Posted by Jay | December 16, 2011, 10:36
  26. Well What’s the Difference, where did you get your understanding from? If you have any information you should go to the police.

    It seems you are not outraged by the Libs version of the ALP database.

    Why?

    I also have it on good authority that many MP’s also have filing cabinets. Secret information is stored in these as well. So when I go to my MP about an issue I’ll have to make sure they don’t keep any records of my visit in their filing cabinets.

    Posted by H the B | December 16, 2011, 11:14
  27. The AEC and VEC should stop giving political parties and candidates electoral roll too.

    This is how the parties start of their intrusive computer files on individual voters which were allegedly hacked by others like The Age reporters.

    In the end all this work achieves little as every 7 to 10 years we change government regardless of performance.

    Posted by Adrian Jackson | December 16, 2011, 11:48
  28. Adrian People should just have the right to tick as box and have their name and privacy protected and not handed on to anyone. The AEC and VEC collect names and addresses for the sole purpose of allowing a person to cast their vote. The fact as reported that Tattersalls and other organizations have access to the electoral roll is of considerable concern. The AEC and VEC must act to restore public confidence and protect individuals right to privacy. Free from the Age and anyone else from hacking into their personal data.

    Posted by Do not enroll until they can protect your data | December 18, 2011, 1:25
  29. Some Real Estate Agents got council electoral rolls too. How is it that you get information from them at you home address about a rental poperty you own in another suburb or city unless they have access to the rolls.

    Posted by Adrian Jackson | December 18, 2011, 9:17
  30. Inspector Knacker …. Laurie Oates is quoted as having told Scott “I am just going outside and may be some time”

    The correct McKenzie and Millar paraphrasing is “I am just going INSIDE and may be some time”

    Posted by The Hungry Pollie Bear | December 20, 2011, 20:43

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