There is a point in almost every journalistic investigation when you have to show your cards to the other side. It’s the heart-in-mouth moment when your research sees daylight, your findings are tested, your assumptions challenged. It’s uncomfortable – and it should be. In the nine years since the Guardian exposed industrial-scale phone hacking by the News of the World, we have continued to challenge the conduct of rich and powerful elites, most recently in the Panama Papers and Paradise Papers investigations. But projects such as these would be unlikely to happen again if MPs agree to some of the more radical clauses in the 250-page data protection bill going through parliament.
The possibility of an even broader Leveson 2 style inquiry remains real, and is underpinned (clause 142) by a belief that the balance