Prosecution drops private eye press case

Prosecutors have dropped the case against six people working for
private detective agencies over the supply of confidential information
to the press.

The Information Commissioner, who regulates the
Data Protection Act, had mounted the case after a lengthy, wideranging
investigation into the obtaining, and selling to newspapers, of private
material such as telephone records.

It marks a blow to the
Information Commissioner’s clampdown on newspapers gathering
information in breach of Section 55 of the Data Protection Act.

This
makes it unlawful for anyone to obtain or disclose personal data
without the consent of the data controller, such as a telephone company
that holds billing information.

A spokeswoman said: “The
Information Commissioner has decided it is no longer in the public
interest to continue with these proceedings.” She said the decision was
taken in light of unspecified developments in the case since it began.

Prosecutions
under the Data Protection Act have been dropped against Steven
Whittamore, John Gunning, Christopher Dewse, Mark Maskell, Andrew Lyle
and Paul Jones.

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