David Fisher

David Fisher is a senior reporter for the NZ Herald.

Slater wants court to stem hacker's flow

Blogger seeks to gag media, claiming Rawshark wants revenge

Cameron Slater says further exposure of hacked information would inflict a huge personal toll. Doug / Sherring
Cameron Slater says further exposure of hacked information would inflict a huge personal toll. Doug / Sherring

Cameron Slater says further exposure of hacked information would inflict a huge personal toll.

Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater is going to the High Court to try to stop media publishing information taken by the hacker known as Rawshark.

Slater has filed papers claiming further exposure of information from his emails and social media accounts would inflict a huge personal toll.

"I believe the hacker and associated persons are setting out to destroy my reputation and cause me the maximum amount of mental distress possible," he wrote in an affidavit.

In a case to be heard today in the High Court at Auckland, Slater will ask for a legal halt to the use of the information by the Herald, TV3 and Fairfax Media.

He also wants the order to apply to the hacker, and the news organisations to turn over to him the information they have.

The move comes two weeks after the publication of Nicky Hager's Dirty Politics, which accused the National Party of attacking opponents through Slater's blog.

Since publication, Rawshark has released material online and through the news offices named by Slater.

In the affidavit, Slater said personal information and confidential correspondence with "political figures" was among content he wanted protected.

He said the named organisations had journalists he believed were in contact with the hacker, who appeared to be motivated by his views on the Whale Oil blog.

"I believe the hacker is releasing information as some form of revenge, not in any sort of whistle-blower capacity or to advance public interest."

Slater said he believed his Gmail account was hacked on March 2 when someone changed the passwords and copied 10 years of emails. He believed the hacker later got into his Facebook account and copied private messages.

The Gmail account had "thousands of emails" including exchanges with accountants, doctors, psychiatrists, personal communication with his wife, "highly sensitive" information he had "received as a journalist" and "correspondence with political figures which I believe was transacted in confidence".

Since Dirty Politics was published, Rawshark has made public information online and through the three news media organisations Slater names in his court application.

Slater said Hager had not contacted him before Dirty Politics was published, and material in the book sourced from his emails was distorted and out of context.

The court papers called for an urgent hearing because of ongoing publication.

They pointed to a claim by blogger Martyn Bradbury that the Whaledump Twitter account, which was shut down yesterday, had been closed to stop "two exclusives".

Bradbury claimed on The Daily Blog that Whaledump -- which has resurfaced as Whaledump2 -- was close to releasing emails between Slater and the Prime Minister's former press aide Jason Ede, who is now understood to be working for the National Party.

John Billington, the Queen's Counsel who is acting for Slater, said the daily release of information meant a hearing was required urgently.

Mr Billington said an injunction could have been applied for without notice but the media organisations and hacker had been given notice so they could "argue what are important issues for the court".

- NZ Herald

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