Queensland Police: receiving a Facebook photo is like receiving a stolen TV

The detective fronting the media following the arrest of SMH journalist Ben Grubb has implied that reporters receiving an image copied from Facebook may be committing the same crime as receiving a stolen television.

Speaking at a press conference live streamed by technology commentator Stilgherrian, the head of the Queensland’s fraud squad, Det Supt Brian Hay, said:

“This isn’t about the release of information… for example someone breaks into a house and they steal a TV and they give that TV to you, and you know that TV is stolen and you apply it to your own use… it’s receiving stolen property.”

(Hay’s comment on stolen TVs is at the 42s point of the above video)

Hay’s comments came after last night’s arrest of Grubb, who was reporting on an IT security conference. He reported on an IT consultant’s comments about a Facebook privacy flaw – demonstrated by the consultant accessing private Facebook photographs.

The arrest raises important questions for journalists who often use images culled from social networking sites including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Hay also claimed in the press conference that he had good relationships with “the majority of journalists across this country”.

He said: “It’s unfortunate when the eye of the police may turn the eye of attention to a journalist but no-one is immune. Not the cops, not politicians, not journalists.”


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