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Australian Journalist Arrested, Released After Detailing Facebook Flaws

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the unamerican-oh-wait dept.

Facebook 200

CuteSteveJobs writes "Yesterday Australian journalist Ben Grubb was arrested by police at an IT Security Conference after an article Grubb wrote about vulnerabilities in Facebook's privacy controls was published on Fairfax media websites. Grubb was later released, but police have confiscated his iPad. Late last month police tried to force fellow Fairfax journalist Linton Besser into revealing who leaked information about corruption. At the time, Fairfax editor Peter Fray called it an unprecedented attack on the freedom of the press. Australia has no explicit right to free speech and lacks shield laws to protect investigative journalists from having to reveal sources."

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200 comments

So what you're saying is.... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36162758)

We should invade Australia to help bring democracy to the region?

Re:So what you're saying is.... (-1, Troll)

fenix849 (1009013) | more than 3 years ago | (#36162784)

Sure, just check your DCMA-weilding, judge buying, $1000 a song, ambulance chasing, dime bag sniffing lawyers at the door.

Oh and your guns, and any venereal diseases you happen to carry.

Welcome to the sun burnt country, have a meat pie and a beer.

Re:So what you're saying is.... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36162814)

... and watch out for the drop bears.

Re:So what you're saying is.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36162898)

..and the hoop snakes.

Re:So what you're saying is.... (1)

mug funky (910186) | more than 3 years ago | (#36162958)

and when you take a seat, check under it for deadly red-back spiders and blue-arse flies.

Re:So what you're saying is.... (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#36162964)

I don't need a gun. I have this here knife.

Re:So what you're saying is.... (1)

lul_wat (1623489) | more than 3 years ago | (#36162986)

I don't need a gun, I've got a Donk.

Re:So what you're saying is.... (2)

metacell (523607) | more than 3 years ago | (#36163010)

That's not a knife. THIS is!

Re:So what you're saying is.... (1)

Robert Zenz (1680268) | more than 3 years ago | (#36163050)

How often do I have to tell you? Put your pants bag on!

Re:So what you're saying is.... (1)

c0mpliant (1516433) | more than 3 years ago | (#36163532)

What the hell is a pants bag?

Re:So what you're saying is.... (1)

Lliam33 (1881990) | more than 3 years ago | (#36162812)

Eeep! We'll be good -- just please don't send Hillary Clinton! [theonion.com]

Re:So what you're saying is.... (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 3 years ago | (#36163094)

No. They're all criminals, so we need to send in the cops.

Re:So what you're saying is.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36162838)

You Yanks would not last 5 minutes without calling home for your mummies. We have the largest collection of deadly creatures - and the drop bears are just the beginning.

Re:So what you're saying is.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36162894)

Sure we have deadly creatures but how often do you see them? The occasional redback in the toilet and brown snake in the summer and thats about it.

Re:So what you're saying is.... (2)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 3 years ago | (#36162914)

You forgot the bogans. They're everywhere.

Re:So what you're saying is.... (1)

Stonz (2125850) | more than 3 years ago | (#36163236)

Bogans put your rednecks to shame

Re:So what you're saying is.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36163182)

You forgot the hoopsnakes..... ...and ask Kalkaua what we think of tropical islands :)

Re:So what you're saying is.... (1)

pro151 (2021702) | more than 3 years ago | (#36163682)

Out of all the countries we have meddled in and invaded, I will have to agree with the man for OZ. They would probably send us home with bloody noses with in 2 weeks. :o)

Re:So what you're saying is.... (2)

svindler (78075) | more than 3 years ago | (#36162852)

It will be a tough fight. I see that their queen has fled to a former colony and is now probably negotiating with the head of the Green Gnome tribe to help her regain her throne.

Re:So what you're saying is.... (4, Funny)

atomicbutterfly (1979388) | more than 3 years ago | (#36162940)

We should invade Australia to help bring democracy to the region?

Please do. We keep getting screwed by higher prices and region locked on Steam, so if you make us a US territory it'll work out for everyone!

Re:So what you're saying is.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36163550)

ditto, then we can have r18+ games; all the good paintball guns (and real guns); actual rights (like not being guilty till you prove your self innocent); electronics when they first come out; much better price on booze (and practically everything else); the ability to vote on propositions (not just for a party once every 4ish years and hope they do what you want); free speech; and many more examples of being allowed to make your own decisions.

Re:So what you're saying is.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36163114)

err, we don't have any oil ...

Re:So what you're saying is.... (1)

Internetuser1248 (1787630) | more than 3 years ago | (#36163348)

Too late, Australia already invaded you to bring biased media to your region.

Re:So what you're saying is.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36163374)

How much beer is needed...ensuring free beer output will guarantee success in this arena!

Re:So what you're saying is.... (1)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | more than 3 years ago | (#36163394)

We should invade Australia to help bring corporatocracy to the region?

Too late guys, they already have plenty of it.

Re:So what you're saying is.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36163442)

Actually, Australians would give anything to officially become a part of the USA. They like to think they already are.

Sad. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36162760)

Australia and to a lesser extent? the UK are both an embarrassment to the English speaking and legal worlds.
Thank god the Anti Federalists demanded our Bill of Rights aside from the continuous incursions into their demise.
Governor Generals my ass.

are we really that different? (5, Informative)

decora (1710862) | more than 3 years ago | (#36162826)

in the USA, Judith Miller was thrown in jail for refusing to reveal a source
James Risen has been subpoenad about the source for his book on the CIA

one of those suspected of being his source, Jeffrey Sterling, is under an Espionage Act prosecution, with possible 10 years jail time, for talking about CIA mistakes in the late 1990s.

Then there is Stephen Kim, another Espionage act case; his crime? telling a reporter North Korea might test a nuke.

Then there is Stephen Drake, espionage act case, for whistleblowing against the NSA ... several of his friends homes were raided by the FBI, guns drawn. one of them is a diabetic with one leg. as

One of the UK ambassadors to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, wrote 2 books about what he saw there; torture, rape, abuse, violence, mass slavery, murder, all committed by our 'ally' in the 'global war on terror'. oh and i forgot to mention the children being anally raped in front of their relatives to force confessions about being in league with al qaeda.

in the US, our ambassadors said nothing. when some kid, Bradley Manning, dumps a bunch of their emails, he gets thrown in solitary, naked, 23 hours a day, being asked every 5 minutes 'are you OK'.

so no, i personally find australia's laws and UK's laws to be ridiculous. but the US is kind of moving in the same direction. The Espionage Act in particular, is becoming a de-facto State Secrets Act by virtue of our past 2 presidents, our court system, our media, and our education system.

its bad all over.

not to mention Geohot and Fail0verflow (3, Interesting)

decora (1710862) | more than 3 years ago | (#36162842)

who were sued by Sony, in part, for posting a number on a website.

Re:not to mention Geohot and Fail0verflow (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36162950)

who were sued by Sony, in part, for posting a number on a website.

im sure you wouldn't mind an incriminating photo of you being posted then, after all it's just numbers posted on a website

Re:not to mention Geohot and Fail0verflow (2)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 3 years ago | (#36163100)

As long as it's xor'ed against white noise, no problem with me.

Digital representation of an image of a person is somewhat different from a random number that is not a representation of anything, just a random number.

Re:not to mention Geohot and Fail0verflow (0)

TheLink (130905) | more than 3 years ago | (#36163084)

Your bank PINs, bank account numbers and credit card numbers are all numbers too. Heck everything is a number to a digital computer.

That's why we have judges and courts to decide on stuff. Not autistic or retarded slashdotters.

FWIW Sony shouldn't have got away so easily for their rootkit stuff and there's much other evil they do. But the "it's just a number" argument is retarded.

Re:are we really that different? (3, Informative)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 3 years ago | (#36162862)

For clarification of bill of rights in Australia read this http://www.aph.gov.au/Library/pubs/rn/2001-02/02rn42.htm [aph.gov.au] . So the specific concern is a bill of rights limits rights, rather than rights being unlimited until legally contested and put before state and federal governments. Apart from 'implied freedom of political communication' and of course constitutional freedom of religion, both of which can of course be stretched to infinity with regards to freedom of speech.

The more interesting point is that Facebooks privacy controls are a complete illusion http://www.theage.com.au/technology/security/security-experts-go-to-war-wife-targeted-20110517-1eqsm.html [theage.com.au] and of course computer security experts (drips under pressure) can be a cantankerous lot and use the letter of the law like a club to attack others whilst believing is does not apply to them personally.

Re:are we really that different? (3, Interesting)

pookemon (909195) | more than 3 years ago | (#36162864)

I find it interesting that this is seen as a "free speech" issue, rather than receiving "goods obtained via illegal means" issue. He received and published an image that was obtained illegally - was arrested and questioned about - and released.

What this really is is the press trying to say "but we're the media - we can take and do what we want". Nevermind that illegal means were used to obtain the subject matter.

Re:are we really that different? (2)

metacell (523607) | more than 3 years ago | (#36163212)

Is there a law against receiving "goods obtained via illegal means" in Australia?

Where I live (Sweden), it's illegal to accept stolen goods, and in some cases smuggled goods, but no general law against receiving something which has been obtained illegally. For example, it's not illegal to possess a pirate copy someone else has manufactured, it's not illegal to possess a bottle of liquor bought by someone under 18, and so on. More to the point, it's not illegal for a journalist to receive, possess and publish a document which has been leaked illegally. This is deliberate - in many cases classified documents reveal corruption or incompetence, and it's considered more important to bring that to the public's knowledge than to keep the secrets.

Also, digital data is not considered "goods" - for example, if someone steals a photograph, it's only illegal to possess that particular physical copy of the photograph. It's not illegal to possess the data contained in the photograph, so you can legally receive and possess another copy made from it.

Re:Sad. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36162856)

We don't even have free speach over here, probably why this guy got arrested, and if i was him i wouldn't be expecting my ipad back.

Re:Sad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36163312)

No need for a search warrant over here in oz, they will break the door down with a sledge hammer then apply for a warrant latter if they find anything.

Re:Sad. (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 3 years ago | (#36163026)

Yet, we can still get on a plane without being nudie scanned or having an invasive pat down, without having to take our shoes off, and without having to put all our liquids in plastic sandwich bags. Clearly this means we MUST have more rights you!

Yeah, see how drawing gross generalisations about the way a country operates based on a handful of very specific examples tend to be pretty much always be completely wrong?

Re:Sad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36163352)

We don't get the nudie scan (probably a money issue) but expect everything else. My neighbor's 4 year old was patted down getting off a domestic flight.

Summary of comments (3, Informative)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 3 years ago | (#36162768)

Australians defending their government against Americans talking about how crazy it is.
People applying their IANAL interpretation of laws... of other countries.
A frost pist that is off topic.
Several jokes about Foster's.
Retort that 'real IrishmenAustralians don't drink Foster's.
Jokes about 'Facebook police'.
Question about Men at Work.
Defense of vegemite.
Vegemite vs. marmite discussion.
Complaints about submission/slashdot in general.

Re:Summary of comments (0)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 3 years ago | (#36162800)

You forgot troll comments.
Oh wait, you didn't.

Re:Summary of comments (1)

JustOK (667959) | more than 3 years ago | (#36163468)

in the land down under, trolls live over the bridge.

Re:Summary of comments (2)

mug funky (910186) | more than 3 years ago | (#36163166)

the only really on-topic (albeit a bit meta) post gets modded offtopic by some saddo.

Re:Summary of comments (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36163632)

You don't actually know Australians very well. We don't all blindly defend anything our government does like the guys in America that post here. I don't see anything about Vegemite (we don't care if you don't like it), fosters which i haven't seen anyone ever drink unless its in an old movie (nobody even sells it here), nothing about men at work, nothing about bugles, and no complaints from any Aussies about submissions or /. (only about our own government).

The issue... (5, Interesting)

exomondo (1725132) | more than 3 years ago | (#36162770)

...was that he published a photo that the presenter obtained without permission from the private profile of the wife of another security researcher (that the presenter publicly acknowledges that he doesn't like). The vulnerability disclosure does seem to be very very childish and unethical. The re-publishing of the photo does seem to be unethical too, but not illegal, which i assume is why he hasn't been charged with any offence.

Re:The issue... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36162816)

and he wasn't arrested, and has his iPad back. Seems to be a storm in a tea-cup / media beat-up.

I'm thinking I'd prefer to be over there (Australia) than here in the "free" US of A.

Re:The issue... (2)

exomondo (1725132) | more than 3 years ago | (#36162824)

he was arrested [news.com.au] , but he wasn't charged.

Re:The issue... (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 3 years ago | (#36163534)

He wasn't arrested [theaustralian.com.au] , just questioned.

Re:The issue... (4, Informative)

grainofsand (548591) | more than 3 years ago | (#36162830)

In fact he was placed under questioning arrest and taken to a police station.

He was questioned for an unspecified number of hours and released.

Re:The issue... (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 3 years ago | (#36162922)

In fact he was placed under questioning arrest and taken to a police station.

He was questioned for an unspecified number of hours and released.

Yes, that's how it works. Technically they do place you under arrest because it's in relation to a crime. They didn't ask him to make a statement.

He had to be charged or released. In this case, they had no charge for the person in question and he was released.

As the AC said, you're trying to make a storm in a teacup.

Re:The issue... (1)

grainofsand (548591) | more than 3 years ago | (#36162946)

Not trying to make any cups of tea here at all. Just correcting the statement that he "was not arrested".

He was.

Re:The issue... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36163032)

GP is telling _exactly_ what happened using quite neutral terms... What is the 'storm' he is trying to make here? Sounds like the problem may be in your end :)

Re:The issue... (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 3 years ago | (#36163560)

There's no such thing as "questioning arrest", the correct term is "detained for questioning", and no "detained" does not automatically mean detained against one's will.

Re:The issue... (4, Informative)

syousef (465911) | more than 3 years ago | (#36162904)

and he wasn't arrested, and has his iPad back. Seems to be a storm in a tea-cup / media beat-up.

I'm thinking I'd prefer to be over there (Australia) than here in the "free" US of A.

He was arrested, then released without charge. But they still have his ipad. Stop spreading made up BS.

Re:The issue... (1)

bluetoad (90110) | more than 3 years ago | (#36163172)

That is true. Here is a link to a story [smh.com.au] he has recently written. The story also contains an audio
recording he made of the arrest.

Re:The issue... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36162908)

and he wasn't arrested, and has his iPad back.

and he got a free keylogger installed.

Re:The issue... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36163110)

And the Queensland police was also nice enough to back up his iPad for him on police servers.

Re:The issue... (0)

Swampash (1131503) | more than 3 years ago | (#36163152)

He was arrested.

Re:The issue... (2)

ZzzzSleep (606571) | more than 3 years ago | (#36163222)

Re:The issue... (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 3 years ago | (#36163448)

so the vulnerability is that private photos on facebook aren't private? is he a security researcher or an ass?

and how the fuck republishing it isn't illegal but copyright violations are?

It's only fair (1)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 3 years ago | (#36162810)

Why should Sony be the only company to employ dirty tactics like that?

eve isk (1)

wutingsinreal (2012934) | more than 3 years ago | (#36162858)

Do you like eve isk [eveiskstores.com]

Police chief compares it to receiving stolen TV (3, Interesting)

syousef (465911) | more than 3 years ago | (#36162890)

Yep, that's right the police chief equated receiving a "stolen" (copied) photo without permission to receiving a stolen TV. This is one time that "Copyright infringement is not theft" is very appropriate. Apparently our police just don't get it.

That tells you how rational and well informed our Police are. If it involves IT or computers they're just maroons.

Re:Police chief compares it to receiving stolen TV (1)

davetv (897037) | more than 3 years ago | (#36162910)

maroons? Have you got State of Origin fever?

Re:Police chief compares it to receiving stolen TV (1)

mug funky (910186) | more than 3 years ago | (#36163184)

i thought that's how cops are supposed to work... arrest first, ask questions later.

they tried it the other way round, but found that people ran away before they got a chance to ask the really important questions.

Re:Police chief compares it to receiving stolen TV (2)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 3 years ago | (#36163360)

The concept of false arrest seems to have disappeared completely in the last 10 years.

Re:Police chief compares it to receiving stolen TV (1)

sincewhen (640526) | more than 3 years ago | (#36163644)

they're just maroons

Well, it was in Queensland...

Make him an island prisoner (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36162896)

Send him to that prison island, England.

Holy Alarmist Summary batman (2, Informative)

mjwx (966435) | more than 3 years ago | (#36162900)

From the fine article (first sentence, second paragraph)

He was later released without charge

So a person was bought in by police for questioning. Which as I understand it is legal in most western nations.

But it is very important to keep up the uninformed Australia bashing here on /. It must be required penance for having the better beaches and a working economy.

Re:Holy Alarmist Summary batman (0)

mug funky (910186) | more than 3 years ago | (#36163190)

lol, u mad?

i'm Australian and i'm horrified.

AND i read TFA.

Re:Holy Alarmist Summary batman (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 3 years ago | (#36163334)

i'm Australian and i'm horrified.

That a man was questioned over a crime and released when there wasn't enough evidence.

Oh sweet Jesus in heaven, how do you step out the door in the morning with the fear of something strange yet within reason happening.

If there is anything for Aussies to be ashamed of here, it's our media. Fairfax is using the non-event to talk itself up and create a mountain out of a molehill. I've always said, Australian media was better then US media but today, they've made a liar out of me.

For that I'm shocked and appalled.

If anything, I feel sorry for the coppers who are going to get dragged through an inquiry over this. They were just doing their job and no one got harmed. I just hope Fairfax has the decency not to turn it into a trial by media.

Re:Holy Alarmist Summary batman (1)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 3 years ago | (#36163444)

If there is anything for Aussies to be ashamed of here, it's our media. Fairfax is using the non-event to talk itself up and create a mountain out of a molehill. I've always said, Australian media was better then US media but today, they've made a liar out of me.

It arguably still is, but the same people who made the US media as bad as it is today, are hard at work in Australia trying to fix the discrepancy.

Re:Holy Alarmist Summary batman (1)

metacell (523607) | more than 3 years ago | (#36163246)

Who's bashing Australia?

You're probably the friendliest country in the world, has no major problems with economy or political stability, haven't done anything to piss off other countries, and your treatment of the native population seems humane compared to how most other countries have treated theirs.

Re:Holy Alarmist Summary batman (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36163266)

I think you're referring to New Zealand.

Australia's treatment of indigenous people is deplorable. (nb: i am an Australian)

Re:Holy Alarmist Summary batman (2)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#36163384)

Australia's treatment of indigenous people is deplorable.

You wouldn't possibly believe what they do to sheep in NZ. Trust me, you're good. ~

Re:Holy Alarmist Summary batman (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 3 years ago | (#36163308)

Who's bashing Australia?

it's just a bit of sarcastic humour and is quite common in the wide brown land.

For the most part, I'm just pulling your leg although certain members of /. do have this knee jerk reaction about Australia due to some bad preconceived notions about freedom (mostly over the fact we haven't actually got a dusty document that states we are in fact a free society, apparently you cant be free without one).

I just wanted to head them off at the pass.

and your treatment of the native population seems humane compared to how most other countries have treated theirs.

A bit of a bugbear of mine. I hold no grudge against the Aborigines, certainly it wasn't the nicest of histories but I have to wonder how well they would have fared if the French or Germanic states settled Oz. When the first colonies were settled (1788) slavery was already illegal in Britain (by extent in the colony of New South Wales) but the French were transporting them from their African holdings until the Napoleonic wars, I'd hate to think what a nasty little Austrian would have done to them in the 30's either.

Re:Holy Alarmist Summary batman (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36163504)

No, he was arrested.
The clue is when the arresting officer says to him "I am now going to tell you that you are now under arrest. OK? In relation to receiving unlawfully obtained property. Ok? And we are now seizing your iPad. So if you could please hand your iPad over to us."

Anonymous Proxy (2)

clarkcox3 (194009) | more than 3 years ago | (#36162930)

Couldn't these Australian Journalists use an American as an anonymous proxy of sorts? That is, when you find a good source of information, tell him/her to reveal the information to an American, and then use that person as your source. You can then freely name your source, but that source can't be compelled by the Australian courts to name the original source.

Every problem can be solved by adding a layer of indirection ... or beer :)

Re:Anonymous Proxy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36162996)

Nice idea, but wouldn't stop the police actually talking to you - which seems to be what people are all exercised about.

Re:Anonymous Proxy (3, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 3 years ago | (#36163264)

Fucking summary

And the fact that these subpoenas were even served reminds us that in Australia there are no statutory protections for journalists - no shield laws, as they're known - worthy of the name.

Or there weren't, until a couple of weeks ago, when the

Evidence Amendment (Journalists' Privilege) Bill 2011
-- Evidence Amendment (Journalistsâ(TM) Privilege) Bill 2011

was finally passed through both houses of the Federal Parliament.
It provides bluntly that...

If a journalist has promised an informant not to disclose the informant's identity, neither the journalist nor his or her employer is compellable to answer any question or produce any document that would disclose the identity of the informant...
-- Evidence Amendment (Journalistsâ(TM) Privilege) Bill 2011

It's a disgrace that it took until 2011, but the Aussies now have a shield law

A few minor corrections (5, Informative)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 3 years ago | (#36162966)

I know poking a stick at foreign jurisdictions is a popular past time on Slashdot (and this is sometimes with good reason) but it would be nice if blanket statements weren't thrown around quite so much about the state of laws in other countries. As usual with most things in life, the situations is generally more complex than can be summed up in a sentence or two.

From the summary:

"Australia has no explicit right to free speech and lacks shield laws to protect investigative journalists from having to reveal sources."

Though this isn't an inaccurate statement at a high level, it's not quite true...

Australia has no ~constitutional~ right to free speech, in that its Constitution does not contain a Bill of Rights like the American one. This is not unusual - most Westminster democracies have no such thing and generally have rights conferred by common law (case law) and/or statutory rights. And at least two jurisdictions DO have "explicit rights" to freedom of expression in Australia - the ACT and Victoria, which both have (statutory) 'Bills of Rights'.

Incidentally there have been proposals to introduce a constitutional Bill of Rights in the past. They have not been successful. There are as many arguments against an entrenched and absolute statement of rights, as there are for one - there are pros and cons in each case.

And as for shield laws - again, the jurisdiction matters. One state, NSW, does indeed have a shield law. The others don't, although I believe WA and a couple of others are working on one at the moment. However, as of March this year, a Federal shield law also passed both houses of the Federal Parliament in March this year and is currently awaiting Royal Assent.

So basically, Australia has some shield laws that may or may not apply depending on the case. In a NSW or Federal court, or a case regarding the NSW or Federal Police or a NSW or Federal law, yes, there are shield laws that apply. Otherwise, no, not at this point in time.

Re:A few minor corrections (1)

mug funky (910186) | more than 3 years ago | (#36163206)

speech is still far from free, and press freedom is somewhat less than what befits the standard of democracy that Australia claims to be.

now, the USA has similar problems (worse problems?), but "other people are doing it" does not really cut it as an argument.

Re:A few minor corrections (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 3 years ago | (#36163238)

Oh, I full agree with you. I was just making the point that things aren't usually black and white in law and blanket statements often aren't very accurate.

Australia is by no means a leader on these issues. Freedom of speech (as distinct from freedom of ~political expression~, which is somewhat protected here), has never been considered a particularly important issue here, and as a result legal protection of it is patchy, at best. Certainly not as good as in many (perhaps even most) other western countries.

Freedom of the press - we do somewhat better here, though still don't match the standards seen in other comparable jurisdictions in western and northern Europe, or even places like Japan or NZ. However, if you believe the Press Freedom Index has any worth (a big 'if', I admit), we still have a slight edge on the UK and US: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Press_Freedom_Index [wikipedia.org]

Re:A few minor corrections (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36163254)

"most Westminster democracies have no such thing"

Actually, no, I think this is a bit outdated. Canada has had a formal charter for years now and the UK chose to enter into the EU which means it is now covered by the EU bill of rights.

Which Westminster democracies are left that you're referring to?

Re:A few minor corrections (1)

exadios (203594) | more than 3 years ago | (#36163542)

The Westminster democracy he is thinking of is Singapore.

Bill of Rights (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36163686)

`VII.The Congress acted wrongly. For part of Amendment I (when part of the Constitution) is anti-constitutional: [Congress shall make no law] respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or [abridging the freedom of speech]..., also On September 25, 1789, [Congress transmitted to the state legislatures twelve proposed amendments], two of which, having to do with Congressional representation and Congressional pay, were not adopted. The remaining ten amendments became the Bill of Rights.. For Congress made a law abridging its own freedom of speech (as a legislator). It also made a law forbidden by the (then amended) Constitution: because some part of Amendment I is a counterexample to itself (the bracketed fragment in the next to last quote). Moreover, the lawlessness of that Amendment occurs only after its being made a Law, since it is exactly the Fact of its incorporation in the Constitution which is judged once incorporated – which `lawlessness' is at least logically posterior to that alteration – (by a particularization to itself) lawless; it follows that we have there an ex post facto law, which is against the constitution.' Excerpted form something, somewhere.

Kill the messenger... (3, Insightful)

LongearedBat (1665481) | more than 3 years ago | (#36163034)

...again! Because if you don't read/hear/see any problems, then they can be safely ignored. <massive sarcasm>

When will governments/law enforcement around the world accept that reponsible leaking of information is in everyones best interests (except the corrupt)?
(I guess the answer to that is: When governments/law enforcement cease to be corrupt.)

But I guess I'm preaching to the converted.

police initially lied about arrest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36163072)

Actually he WAS arrested, the confusion occurs because although Grubb said he was arrested initially the police denied this and said he was only detained for questioning. It wasn't until the next day that they admitted that they actually had arrested him via twitter "Our bad @bengrubb was arrested for questioning briefly Our tweet last night was based on information provided at the time Apologies,". Furthermore they are copying all data on his ipad to trawl through, irrespective of if it is related to the case.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/05/18/3220071.htm

oh dear... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36163174)

So, they arrested a journalist for covering the story and being possession of a photo.
They didn't arrest anyone else who was in possession of said photo.
They didn't arrest the person who allegedly hacked the photo and handed it out at a conference. In fact they didn't even talk to him. They let him leave the state, and now they say they can't talk to him because he's in another state. But they're still holding the journalists ipad, and analysing it, just in case something turns up.
And to make it worse, after the arresting the journo they denied arresting him for a day, then admitted arresting him.

Does anyone in the US want Queensland? It's a big state, got lots of nice things in it. You can have it, as long as you move it away from Australia ...

An update on this story by Grubb... (5, Informative)

CuteSteveJobs (1343851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36163180)

"We've all seen it happen on TV a zillion times. But when a police officer recited to me those well-rehearsed words – 'you have the right to remain silent ' – I felt sick in the stomach."

http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/technology/technology-news/grubbs-story-privacy-news-and-the-strong-arm-of-the-law-20110518-1esn9.html [brisbanetimes.com.au]

The Policeman who confiscated Grubb's iPad was Detective Superintendent Errol Coultis. "When I questioned under what legislation they had the right to seize my iPad, Coultis told me I was under arrest in relation to receiving unlawfully obtained property." Head of the Queensland police fraud squad, Brian Hay said accessing a photo without permission was the same as stealing a TV.

Amusingly the "Queensland Police Media Service" are into twitter damage control: "Police can legally seize material which may be evidence of a crime. It will be returned as soon as we can do so."

Grubb said "I was told that forensics officers were going to make a complete copy of the information on my iPad, whether it related to this matter or not."

An absolutely disgraceful peformance by the Queensland Police involved.

Complain to those that called the Police instead (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 3 years ago | (#36163306)

An absolutely disgraceful peformance by the Queensland Police involved.

He was released without charge once everything became clear wasn't he? They are actually a lot better than some of them were twenty years ago. The formerly frequent fabricated trifecta of obscene language, resisting arrest and assaulting an (untouched) officer and the subsequent time in hospital and jail is unheard of now.
Those that gave false information to the Police that a crime had been committed are far more deserving of your disgust than Police that investigated and decided no charges should be laid.

Re:Complain to those that called the Police instea (1)

CuteSteveJobs (1343851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36163574)

> Police that investigated and decided no charges should be laid.

... but imaged his iPad anyway?

Re:Complain to those that called the Police instea (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36163636)

Didn't read the articles, did you? The police asked for his iPad, when he refused they arrested him and seized the iPad, then released him sans iPad.

The point of the arrest was to get the iPad. They're manipulating the law in a way that attacks citizen's rights.

On a related note, does the iPads security actually encrypt all data stored on the device?

Re:An update on this story by Grubb... (3, Interesting)

sirkumi (1752188) | more than 3 years ago | (#36163646)

Here's a transcript of the interview he had with police:

http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/journalists-facebook-arrest-transcript-of-police-interview-20110518-1esrr.html [smh.com.au]

It is abundantly clear that, while everything was going ok for a while, Ben's fatal flaw was being "helpful" to the police and offering information to them. The interview was voluntary, and they even told him he could walk out at any time. The minute he mentioned that he had taken notes of the converstaion with the security researcher on his iPad though, the police then had the information they needed to seize it. When he refused citing his sources and private information contained on it, they arrested him (later releasing him without charge). Once again, as has been linked to so many times here on Slashdot, the following should be REQUIRED viewing by everyone!

Don't talk to the Cops [youtube.com]

Analysis (1)

SJ2000 (1128057) | more than 3 years ago | (#36163294)

The expert, Christian Heinrich.... {showed} how he had been able to gain access to the Facebook photos of the wife of a rival security expert, without a username or password.

Sounds like a breach of the Queensland's Criminal Code Act 1899 Section 408E parts 1 and 2 to me.

but he went through it personally with me straight afterwards.

Probably using Grubb's iPad I would imagine, hence the seizure.

When I questioned under what legislation they had the right to seize my iPad, Coultis told me I was under arrest in relation to receiving unlawfully obtained property.

I'm assuming under Queensland's Criminal Code Act 1899 Section 433.
Assuming Grubb let Christian Heinrich use his iPad for the act he's most likely in trouble, even if it was intellectual property. I'm not fully aware of the precedence regarding the definition of 'property' for the purposes of Section 433 and whether intellectual property is also covered under that definition so will be interesting to see what happens.

Re:Analysis (2)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 3 years ago | (#36163410)

I would show you where the weakspots are in your (home's | business' | network's | Facebook profile's) security systems that any malcontent may exploit, if only for the fact that it was made illegal to do so... In short: Good luck, you clearly need it.

If you outlaw exploits, only outlaws will have exploits.

Re:Analysis (1)

SJ2000 (1128057) | more than 3 years ago | (#36163420)

Like anywhere else in the world, you'd still need permission from the owner of the system to do that for it to be completely legal.

This is scary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36163408)

Ben Grubb was officially questioned before he was arrested. The police interviewed him, found out his journalistic notes were on his iPad then arrested him to secure the iPad:

Female officer: Did you record your conversation with Christian?
Ben Grubb: I don't... I need to seek legal advice on that as well. I wrote notes. If that helps. But I think when you ask to record someone you need to seek their permission and.
Errol Coultis: Like we've done.
BG: Yeah just like you have. So yeah, I've written notes that kind of back up me if anything falls flat.
EC: Sure. Are you willing to tell us how you made those notes on a device?
BG: On an iPad.
EC: Are you in possession of that iPad?
BG: Yep.
EC: You are? All right, is there anything else you wish to say?
BG: So what's the process now?

It's a direct attack on the free press. What other circumstances can the police use to get access to journalist material? In a press conference the cop mentioned if the iPad was in a car or house they'd need a warrant to seize it. Ben Grubb thought he was helping the police, and that was his mistake. It shows you can't talk to the police without legal advice. Stay quiet. If Ben had done so, they wouldn't have known about the story notes and he'd still have his iPad.

Press conference audio: http://stilgherrian.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/brianhay-20110518-final.mp3

There was a high court case years ago about a case like there. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation won in Australia's highest court, which ruled it had not committed an unlawful act by broadcasting video that had been obtained by trespass by a third party.

Free iPads! (1)

John Pfeiffer (454131) | more than 3 years ago | (#36163424)

Must be nice, being able to legally steal peoples' iPads (and presumably other devices, like laptops) for no apparent reason.

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