Privacy campaigner sought over child abuse charges

New South Wales Police car Image copyright New South Wales Police/Instagram

Police in Australia have issued a fresh appeal to trace the founder of the campaign group Privacy International, over child sex abuse and indecent assault offences which took place in Sydney in the 1980s.

Simon Davies has not been found despite a warrant for his arrest being issued in September 2016.

He previously worked as a high-profile campaigner for privacy rights.

He was often quoted as a privacy expert in the media, including by the BBC.

New South Wales Police said the warrant relates to 18 offences which took place across Sydney between 1981 and 1987.

Privacy International said in a statement that Mr Davies, aged 63, had stopped working with the group in 2010.

“Throughout his time at PI, our board and the staff had no knowledge of any suspicions or allegations against him,” said Eve Salomon, Chair of the Board of Trustees.

Ms Salomon also expressed “deepest sympathies” to the victims, and described the allegations as “horrific”.

In a Facebook post, New South Wales police said they believe Mr Davies is living in Europe, possibly the UK.

He is described as “being of Caucasian appearance, about 170cm tall, of solid build, and with a bald head”.

“I’m a believer in innocent until proven guilty, but child abuse and sexual assault cast a long shadow,” commented cyber-security expert Prof Alan Woodward from Surrey University.

Prof Woodward said the fact that someone so prominent in the privacy movement was sought over the crimes would “damage the argument that everyone has a right to privacy”.

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