SMH journo Ben Grubb arrested after reporting security conference session on Facebook privacy flaws

Queensland Police have admitted they did arrest SMH journalist Ben Grubb after he wrote a news story about a Facebook vulnerabilities while covering a conference on IT security.

Grubb – deputy technology editor on – revealed on Twitter that he had been arrested and later released although the police force had kept his iPad.

Queensland Police in turn took to Twitter to deny he had been arrested before later sending another tweet conceding: “Our bad @bengrubb was arrested for questioning briefly Our tweet last night was based on information provided at the time Apologies.”  

The story posted by Grubb focused on a controversial demonstration by a security expert of Facebook privacy vulnerabilities. The expert accessed photographs of another security consultant’s wife to demonstrate the hole at the AusCERT security conference on the Gold Coast.

At the time of posting, it was unclear why Queensland Police decided to arrest Grubb who was reporting on a public session.

In an article on this morning, Darren Burden, GM for news at Fairfax Digital, said: ”Ben was a guest of AusCERT at the conference at the Gold Coast. He was at a conference, reporting on something actually said and presented at that conference. It’s fundamental for journalists to be able to report these events.”

A spokesman for Queensland Police told Mumbrella that it would be putting up a response on its Facebook page shortly.


  1. Michael Cordover
    18 May 11
    10:51 am

  2. Latest news from @QPSMedia (per media conference 10am) is that he WAS arrested under arrest-to-question powers, though the interview started without an arrest.

    His iPad was also seized as possible evidence of a crime.

  3. AdamS
    18 May 11
    11:13 am

  4. He wasn’t planking was he?

  5. Fashion Police
    18 May 11
    11:32 am

  6. The REAL crime is that hair-do!

  7. Eric Arthur Blair
    18 May 11
    11:59 am

  8. Good to know we’re living in some of quasi police state.

  9. Lucio Ribeiro
    18 May 11
    1:33 pm

  10. Tim/Robin What Am I missing here ?

  11. Cam
    18 May 11
    1:56 pm

  12. As it turns out he was arrested for “receiving a photograph obtained from a Facebook account without the user’s permission”, which the QLD Police have equated with “receiving a stolen TV”.

    Oh dear.

  13. Matt Bloggs
    18 May 11
    3:15 pm

  14. Watch out, if you read New Idea and look at a paparazzi photo taken without the viewers permission, don’t travel to Queensland or you could be arrested.

  15. Aghast
    18 May 11
    3:19 pm

  16. Seriously, Queensland Police have nothing better to do than arrest a journo for this?!

  17. Patrick
    18 May 11
    3:25 pm

  18. Meanwhile in Queensland…

    The fact that they responded with “Our bad” should be a major concern to whoever is driving the bus in the so-called “Smart State”.

  19. Anonymous
    18 May 11
    4:21 pm

  20. I dont get this? Why did they arrest him?

  21. Tim
    18 May 11
    4:30 pm

  22. @Patrick – +1. “Oops our bad we arrested him but we didn’t know at the time”. That person needs to go.

  23. Jess Prive
    18 May 11
    4:51 pm

  24. QLD police officially released “Our bad…” BAHAHAHAHAHA.. please find a new social media/comms advisor.. pronto.

  25. Roddy
    19 May 11
    9:51 pm

  26. Bah, it was worse than thought – the real transcript has been released.

  27. JC
    20 May 11
    10:10 am

  28. So…all you who dislike the pigs, but really – what if your photos for your friends *ONLY* on FB were showed to people you didnt know without you known and had your kids in them. I wouldnt want others seein my life.