Paras 3 and 4: This is why the unfolding scandal of police hacking journalists’ phones matters. Like the media phone-hacking scandal that led to the Leveson inquiry, it offers a glimpse into an abuse of power that doubtless involves far more victims. Phone hacking arose when private detectives realised that new technology allowed them to hack into the voicemails of victims. With police hacking, the bobbies worked out that new technology and new laws let them ask for the phone records of any journalist — they no longer had to go through the tiresome ritual of asking ‘Who’s your source?’ and being told to get stuffed. They could just grab the journalists’ phone records and work it out for themselves.
The first such case that came to light involved Tom Newton Dunn, political editor of the Sun. The Metropolitan Police wanted the name of one of his contacts, and knew better than to ask. So they ordered Vodafone to hand over his phone records. Vodafone obliged: under the law, it has to.
The linked definition implies that the police were devious enough (probably NOT moral in this case) NOT to ask the Sun for the name. Yet then why did then order Vodafone? Isn't ordering a hostile form of asking? Strictly according to the passage, I had thought that the writer was implying that the next step is subversive hacking, not to use a legal order.