Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Hacking - it keeps on coming

There are a couple of hacking related developments, both involving News of the World, that any investors engaging with News Corp should familiarize themselves with.

First up, there was a significant development in relation to computer hacking today. This case has been bubbling away for a while, and finally today the individual at the centre of it - Philip Campbell Smith - was convicted for conspiring to illegally access information. Cue splurge of information of what he is alleged to have done, including hacking the computer of an intelligence officer.

Notably this officer was involved with IRA informers, and his emails were accessed by Campbell Smith. Interesting given that another alleged victim of email hacking is Peter Hain. And the trail leads straight back to the NOTW, at the time of Andy Coulson's editorship.

Anyhow, the Grauniad article is worth a read, here's some useful stuff:

Smith is alleged to have hacked the computer of a former British army intelligence officer in 2006 as part of a commission from the News of the World. In a tape recording, Smith says he was in contact with Andy Coulson, the former News of the World editor who went on to become David Cameron's director of communications. Smith also claimed Coulson was in his mobile phone directory.

Smith is understood to be under investigation by a Scotland Yard inquiry, Operation Kalmyk, which is examining allegations that email hacking may have been used against several dozen targets.

The allegations against Smith highlight growing concern over computer hacking. Met officers are known to have approached leading members of the Labour party as possible victims, including Gordon Brown, the former No 10 communications chief Alastair Campbell, the former Northern Ireland secretary Peter Hain, and Tom Watson, the backbench Labour MP who has been particularly vocal in the phone-hacking scandal. If any of the Labour figures were targets, it is not known who carried out the hacking and for whom.

The second thing worth noting is that Robert Thompson, one of the two murderers of Jamie Bulger, is seeking compensation for having his phone hacked. Clearly very few people are going to have much sympathy with his claim, but what we ought to ask is how NOTW got his mobile number. Remember, this is someone who is supposed to have an entirely new, and unknown, identity. Doesn't that rather suggest that someone has been blabbing who shouldn't have? Perhaps another corrupt cop.

Continued on page 23....

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