LONDON (AP) — In January, freelance video journalist Jason Parkinson returned home from vacation to find a brown paper envelope in his mailbox. He opened it to find nine years of his life laid out in shocking detail.
Twelve pages of police intelligence logs noted which protests he covered, who he spoke to and what he wore – all the way down to the color of his boots. It was, he said, proof of something he’d long suspected: The police were watching him.
“Finally,” he thought as he leafed through documents over a strong black coffee, “we’ve got them.”
Parkinson’s documents, obtained through a public records request, are the basis of a lawsuit being filed by the National Union of Journalists against London’s Metropolitan Police and Britain’s Home Office. The lawsuit, announced late Thursday, along with a recent series of revelations about the seizure of reporters’ phone records, is pulling back the curtain on how British police have spent years tracking the movements of the country’s news media.
This sadly falls under the I’m shocked, shocked to find that government spying is going on in here news category; it barely rates a raised eyebrow.
Which is in itself sad and worrisome for democracy, both in the UK and here at home. 1