A man who viewed documents online for a controversial London property development and shared them on social media was raided by police after developers claimed there had been a break-in to their systems.
The raid by four Metropolitan Police constables took place after Southwark campaigner Robert Hutchinson was reportedly accused of illegally entering a password-protected area of a website.
“I was searching in Google and found links to board meeting minutes,” he told The Register. “Board reports, none of which were marked confidential. So I have no question that it was in the public domain.”
The Southwark News reported that Hutchinson was arrested at 8.20am on 10 June this year at home following allegations made by Leathermarket Community Benefit Society (CBS).
The society is a property development firm that wants to build flats over a children’s caged ball court in the south London borough, something Hutchinson “vocally opposes,” according to the local paper.
“There’s a directory, which you need to enter a password and a username to get into. But documents from that area were being published on Google,” explained Hutchinson. “I didn’t see a page saying ‘this is the directors’ area’ or anything like that, the documents were just available. They were just linked directly.”
Hutchinson shared this screenshot of the Google search results page he clicked from….