- A named employee of Hewlett-Packard Company (HP), the US technology multinational, wrote the press release for last week’s report of the investigatory powers review – at least according to the document author information revealed by viewing the properties of the press release, a Word file, from within Microsoft Word. The author is shown as Anne Power of HP in the Summary tab (screen shot in Figure 1), yet there is no mention of either Ms Power or the company in the text of the press release. David Anderson QC, the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, conducted the investigatory powers review, and doesn’t refer by name to either Anne Power or HP in his report. He does name her, though, in his official blog post dated 11 June 2015, which records publication that day of his report, “A Question of Trust”. But there is “a question of trust” around the independent reviewer and his blog: Mr Anderson has been retrospectively editing the post dated 11 June 2015 – particularly on the role of Anne Power – without publicly recording there the edits.
- On 11 June 2015, David Anderson QC, the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, published “A Question of Trust”, the long-awaited report of his investigatory powers review. The report (including annexes) exceeds 370 pages; and makes 124 “specific and inter-related” recommendations. Here the press release is key: many journalists, especially those on daily newspapers, will read the press release only, not the report. Never mind the public. So the lack of clarity around both who actually wrote the press release and in what capacity is damaging.
- The independent reviewer published the report with press release in a blog post dated 11 June 2015 on his website: https://terrorismlegislationreviewer.independent.gov.uk. But Mr Anderson has been retrospectively editing the post dated 11 June 2015 – particularly on the role of Anne Power – without publicly recording there the edits. This is misleading.
- On 11 June 2015 itself, the first version of the blog post I saw mentioned Anne Power in connection with media enquiries, with an email address. Later that day, the text on Ms Power had disappeared. The situation was unchanged noon the next day. Yet when I looked early-morning 13 June 2015, Anne Power was back. The post now said: “Don’t bother Anne Power, the freelance media consultant who gave me invaluable help over the launch but has now gone on to other things.” At 16 June 2015 that statement remains (screen shot in Figure 2). STOP PRESS: At 17 June 2015 Mr Anderson has again edited his blog post dated 11 June 2015, adding another interview on BBC Radio 4 with link – “an interview I gave Joshua Rozenberg for Law in Action on 15 June (first item)”.
- But who is Anne Power? And what exactly is a “freelance media consultant” anyway? Is it Anne Power on the record as Director of Communications at the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) until March 2015? ACPO was closed down 31 March 2015. Here ACPO is very much an interested party: indeed the organisation made a written submission to Mr Anderson’s review for the police (see Annex 3 of the report; HP didn’t make a written submission.) Also, the Daily Telegraph newspaper (13 June 2015) reported at length the response of former President of ACPO, Sir Hugh Orde, to “A Question of Trust”. So if it’s ex-ACPO Anne Power, she has an actual or perceived conflict of interests. Further, the conflict of interests is undisclosed, if it exists.
- The independent reviewer isn’t subject to the Freedom of Information Act, as he tells us on his website. The onus is on Mr Anderson for appropriate disclosure, therefore. He should make clear both who actually wrote the press release and in what capacity. But to maintain credibility, the independent reviewer must also stop retrospectively editing his blog post dated 11 June 2015, unless he publicly records there the edits.