What about respect for my privacy, Vernon?

Vernon Small has written an opinion piece at Fairfax, complaining about Westpac allegedly breaching Nicky Hager’s privacy.

The revelation Westpac handed over author Nicky Hager’s bank records to the police – without so much as a by-your-leave from the courts – should send a shiver down the spine.

It ought, too, to be a wake-up call to any other corporates out there who think their customers’ records are fair game for any authority figure that comes knocking.

They are not.

Kudos to the likes of Spark, Vodafone, Air New Zealand, Jetstar and TradeMe for recognising that – and refusing a similar request from the police.

In the case of Hager’s records – sought when the police were trying to find who hacked blogger Cameron Slater’s computer (providing the material for Hager’s book Dirty Politics) – there is more at stake than simply tracking down a potential criminal.

As the Media Freedom Committee’s Joanna Norris has pointed out, there was no suggestion Hager had committed a serious crime.

The main investigation was aimed at a third party, the self-named Rawshark. It would be bad enough if the police had come seeking the records of a member of the public but it is more chilling still when it is a journalist, who relies on being able to keep his or her sources confidential and who will on occasions interact with people “of interest to the police”.

But that should not be an excuse to access their bank, phone and travel records willy-nilly.

Nicky Hager and the people who assisted him, including Vernon Small all thought nothing of breaching my privacy. At least the Police and Westpac have the Privacy Act on their side.

The sanctimony and hypocrisy of the media to even take the side of Nicky Hager on this issue is unbelievable. Not a single journalist has asked me for comment as they write the pro-Hager pieces.

To use the words of Vernon Small, Nicky Hager and his media pals breached my privacy “without so much as a by-your-leave from” anyone. They just did it, took the criminally obtained data that was mine and wrote article after article after article. They hounded my family and my friends and attempted to destroy me.

It wasn’t public interest it was political. They don’t agree with my politics and so they resorted to criminal acts in an attempt to destroy me.

Some of the most vocal journalists and bloggers out there participated in the planning for the hit job and also in the dissemination of my stolen data.

Public Interest does not allow for criminal acts.

The Police and Westpac likewise haven’t done anything wrong but the Media Party is in full swing defending him and his privacy.

Yes it grates, that they so willingly breached my privacy and yet cry a river of tears for Nicky Hager’s.

As for Hager, he is beneath my contempt. His hypocrisy is exposed for all to see. He did all of this as a political act, in collusion with key political figures, at the highest levels. There may well be public interest in how he was compensated for the hit job.

But there is the difference. Where the Media Party and Nicky Hager and my political enemies resorted to criminal acts against me, the Police and Westpac have followed the law….and the Media Party is outraged about that.

The truly sad thing is they can’t see how broken they have made the media.

 

– Fairfax


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