Wednesday, May 12, 2010

IT researcher arrested, Latvian TV investigative journalist's home raided by police

The Latvian police have detained Ilmārs Poikāns, a researcher in artificial intelligence at the University of Latvia's Computer Science department on suspicion that he is "Neo", the Robin Hood-like cyberactivist who leaked public sector salary statistics showing that many top officials didn't take government-mandated salary cuts and other austerity measures.
According to news reports, Poikāns, 31.  was arrested at his workplace late at night on Tuesday, May 12. The police also seized a private server hosted by the university Computer Science department.  He could face up to 10 years in prison for disclosing confidential information with resulting "serious consequences."
The Latvian police also simultaneously raided the home of Latvian television's investigative journalist Ilze Nagle, apparently in connection with the Poikāns, who is  suspected of obtaining government and public salary information through a leak in the State Revenue Service IT system.  Nagle, who is host of the weekly investigative Latvian TV program "De Facto" , was among the first to report on "Neo" and a cyberactivist group called the  4th Awakening People's Army. "Neo" later published links to compilations of public sector salaries on the social media application Twitter.
The police seized Nagle's computer and other data platforms (hard disks, flash drives).  Nagle  called the raid a violation of press freedom and laws allowing journalists to protect their sources.
Police spokesmen said that the raid on Nagle's home had nothing to do with " her professional work". Nagle, however, said the police action showed that the Latvian authorities could conduct searches and intimidation against any investigative journalist and seize all information regarding sources and professional contacts.


veldre said...

situacija ar NEO - sieva pishas pa kreisi, virs atrod sms`kas telefonaa, viirs vainigs, jo liida telefonaa.

Anonymous said...

Juri, vai vari pāris teikumos paskaidrot, kāpēc Tev kā žurnālistam pienākas lielākas tiesības slēpt noziegumu nekā man kā parastam blogerim?


Anonymous said...

Is NEO the same person that hacked into SRS/VID and stole information about my company here in Latvia? In that case, My sympathy goes ONLY to the journalist.

Juris Kaža said...

English writing anonymous-- if your company was spending taxpayer money supplied by a secretive, corrupt government (which doesn't mean you company is necessarily complicit), yes, we have a right to know and to obtain that information by available means. Remember Watergate and the the Pentagon Papers?

Latviski rakstošais anonymous-- Kādu "noziegumu" Nagla slēpa? Viņai bija jānoštučī savs avots, ja nu viņa vispār pazina "Neo"? Lielāks noziegums ir tas, kā valsts melo un slēpj informāciju par nodokļu maksātāju naudas izšķērdēšanu. Žurnālisti ir sargsuņi, vismaz viņiem tādiem būtu jābūt un daudzas valstis sargā žurnālistus un to avotus, dažkārt arī valsts vai korporatīvo nebūšānu atklājējus (tā sauktos whistleblowers).

Anonymous said...

Well, maybe its on time with public tax lists such as in Norway then? Then everyone can search up everyones tax and income..

Make it public for everyone, not only for criminal hackers.

Valdis (FENIKSS) said...

From what I heard, the raid at journalists apartaments was conducted in simmilar manner as raid on my house year and a half ago. Raid in night was signature of KGB and this is mostly true for all opressive regimes.

The journalist house was raided without permission from so called "investigative judge" (what a interesting term in latvian criminal process law). The investigative judges approval was gained on next morning after raid. In Nagle's case the decision to perform search was made by investigator. Latvian criminal process law permits such exception. So the decision to perform raid can be decision of single police officer.