Confidentiality

Vance gets apology, Fairfax boss happy journo sources and comms protected…hmmm

Andrea Vance has received an apology today from Parliamentary Services.

Big deal, so what…but what is interesting is this comment from Fairfax boss Sinead Boucher:

Fairfax group executive editor Sinead Boucher said she welcomed the apology as a the resolution of privacy complaint Vance made over the incident.

“I am happy that this complaint has been resolved to Andrea’s satisfaction, and in a way that recognises the importance of journalists protecting their communications and the confidentiality of their sources.”

Fairfax didn’t give two hoots about my privacy, nor my sources, nor my communications. ?They aided and abetted a criminal hacker and their journalists still go on and on about it. Read more »

Kim Dotcom stops talking to imaginary people

I can’t believe the twists and turns this farce has provided. ?Kim Dotcom says he has a sitting electorate MP in his pocket ?(later he dropped the “electorate” from the claim). ?Yesterday he told us

Talks between Kim Dotcom’s Internet Party and a sitting MP who had been thinking about jumping ship have been called off.

The Internet Party says following Mana’s decision to continue negotiations over a possible alliance, the MP and the Internet Party have “mutually agreed to end further discussions”.

“Respecting the confidentiality agreement entered into by the MP and the Internet Party to allow for free and frank discussions, Kim Dotcom, who led talks with the MP on behalf of the Internet Party, advises that no further comment will be made on this matter,” the party said in a statement. ? Read more »

Commerce Commission seeks to break Countdown’s Omert?

The Commerce Commission has announced they are offering confidentiality now as they investigate Countdown’s tactics.

This will allow the suppliers to safely speak outside of the Omert??arrangements that are clearly in place with suppliers too afraid to speak up.

The Commerce Commission confirmed yesterday that it is assessing alleged anti-competitive behaviour by Countdown towards their suppliers.

The Commission advises that anyone who has information relevant to the allegations can request that the Commission keep their identity and/or the information provided confidential. The Commission will not disclose the identity and/or information unless consent is given or the Commission is required to by law. If confidentiality is a concern then it should be raised when first contact is made with the Commission.? Read more »

Spying, privacy, intrusion, and media

Stephen Franks blogs his thoughts on the media own goal currently in progress with the investigations and committee deliberations surrounding the leaking of the Kitteridge report.

[T]he short-sighted journalists baying for privilege from investigation even incidentally will have strengthened the trends and the climate that will some day justify shutting them out of their most vital public function ? that is searching out, by fair means or foul, and making public, the embarrassing and significant information that Parliament?s denizens would most wish to keep secret.

In other words, by inventing new categories of privacy intrusion, this time to make sacred the email traffic data of Ministers who do not want it known, and their own, they bring forward the day when it will be a sufficient justification to exclude them, or to criminalise their publication of unwelcome disclosures, simply because they are not officially supposed to have the information, or have failed to apply formally through the proper channels. That seems to be the gist of the accusations against Mr Henry, Mr Thorn and others) on the basis that the release of information was not wanted by its subjects. People who live by discovering and publishing truths that the subjects would rather keep secret or ?manage?,? score a massive own goal in the long term by asserting essentially that privacy is a sufficient reason to block disclosure.

I am aware of the rationalisation and fine rhetoric seeking constitutional protection of privilege for journalists. Their arguments should not extend to protecting them from the kind of disclosure that they themselves rely upon. It would be outrageous for MPs to assert that journalists be forbidden from reporting on who is seen to visit MP offices. Sure, an electronic record of visits is more convenient than staking out doors and offices. ?But the swipe card records are just a technologically efficient form of observation. Any of Ms Vance?s fellow journalists should have been free to report on her visits to Minister Dunne?s office around the critical time that the Kitteridge Report was leaked, if they had seen them.

I do not argue that they should necessarily have had automatic access to the swipe card records, but it is not at all obvious that even such transparency is any more remarkable than the OIA disclosure now imposed on most written public officer communication.? Read more »