David Miranda, the journalist's partner held for nine hours at Heathrow under anti-terror laws, has managed to get a partial High Court injunction to stop the police "inspecting, copying or sharing" the data they seized from him - except for national security purposes.
Lawyers for Miranda confirmed to The Reg that they'd won the partial restrictions today, which will run until Friday 30 August, when the court will look over the evidence again to see if it will grant a further injunction until the legality of the seizure has been decided.
Solicitor Gwendolen Morgan said ahead of the hearing that the injunction was needed "to protect the confidentiality of the sensitive journalistic material" that was taken from Miranda.
"Confidentiality, once lost, can clearly never be restored. If interim relief is not granted then the Claimant is likely to suffer irremediable prejudice, as are the other journalistic sources whose confidential information is contained in the material seized by the Defendants," she said.
A Home Office spokesperson said after the ruling: "We are pleased the court has agreed that the police can examine the material as part of their criminal investigation insofar as it falls within the purposes of the original Schedule 7 examination and in order to protect national security."
Miranda, whose partner Glenn Greenwald covered much of the Snowden leaks of the NSA's PRISM project, was stopped and questioned by police when he passed through Heathrow Airport. The officers confiscated his laptop and mobile phone, an external hard drive, two memory sticks and a games console, as well as two newly bought watches and phones still in their packaging. Miranda said that he was threatened with prison to force him to hand over his passwords for the laptop and mobile.
The BBC, The Guardian and others reported that a lawyer for the police revealed during the court hearing that they were launching a criminal investigation after examining some of the material they had seized.
Jonathan Laidlaw QC said that the information the police had found was, in their view, "highly sensitive material, the disclosure of which would be gravely injurious to public safety".
He added that Home Secretary Theresa May believed it was necessary to examine all the data "without delay in the interests of national security". ®