Posts tagged Hacking
Lord Prescott in new phone hacking claims being studied by police
Police are taking a fresh look at claims that celebrities and politicians – including former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott – were victims of phone hacking, after fresh evidence emerged. New evidence: Former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott (PA)
Scotland Yard detectives said analysis of documents seized in 2005 alongside new information has led them to reassess allegations that tabloid newspaper reporters listened in covertly to mobile phone messages.
They admitted the individuals concerned were originally told there was ‘little or no’ information held by police that they had been caught up in the newspaper scandal.
Former deputy PM Lord Prescott was among those told by police he could be the victim of phone hacking by the News of the World.
Now a lord, he met the Met Police’s Dep Ass Comm Sue Akers, who showed him invoices recovered by police showing he was targeted by Glenn Mulcaire.
David Davies, a former executive director of England’s Football Association, said he filed a lawsuit asking London police to hand over any evidence they have relating to allegation that his mobile phone was hacked into by the News Corp.’s News of the World newspaper.
Davies’ lawyers filed the claim at the High Court on Jan. 28, he said in a telephone interview today. A year ago police informed him that he might have had his mobile phone voicemail messages intercepted.
“What I am seeking, at the very least, is the extent of this evidence,” he said. London’s Metropolitan Police Force has told him that, while it doesn’t oppose his request, it wants a judge to order beforehand, he said.
Glenn Mulcaire and the News of the World’s former royal reporter, Clive Goodman, were jailed in 2007 for tapping mobile phones of the British royal family’s household. At least seven celebrities have filed lawsuits claiming the newspaper hacked into their mobile-phone voicemails. U.K. police and prosecutors said earlier this month they had started another probe into the allegations.
“Information obtained during a criminal investigation cannot be made available for the purposes of a civil action without a court order,” the Metropolitan Police Force said in a statement.
News of the World spokeswoman Hayley Barlow declined to comment.
The case is case no: HQ11X00319, Mr David Davies v. News Group Newspapers, Glenn Mulcaire
To contact the reporter on this story: James Lumley in London at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at email@example.com.
Questions over over the extent of phone hacking in the newspaper industry spread for the first time beyond the News of the World yesterday, as a former MP claimed that stories about his private life that appeared in the Sunday Mirror were based on intercepted voicemails.
Paul Marsden, who was a serving Member of Parliament when articles appeared about the state of his marriage in 2003, spoke publicly about the “sequence of events” which he said led him to believe that his mobile phone had been targeted, including an alleged incident where he said someone posing as a police officer attempted to obtain information about him.
Lawyers for the former politician, who left Parliament in 2005, have written to Trinity Mirror, publisher of the Sunday Mirror, detailing their claims relating to two stories focusing on Mr Marsden’s adulterous relationships. One of the pieces was headlined: “Exclusive: Latest sordid secret of Lib-Dem love cheat.”
The case is one of four breach of privacy claims being brought by the solicitor Mark Lewis which involve newspaper groups beyond Rupert Murdoch’s News International. As well as Mr Marsden, they involve a female soap star who says she was approached by a police force, not Scotland Yard, and warned that her phone may have been hacked.
The proceedings bring to the fore longstanding allegations that hacking the voicemails of public figures using PIN codes to access messages was rife among Fleet Street titles since the late 1990s, and was not restricted to the News of the World.
News International stressed this week that it was fully investigating the claims of hacking, which is thought to involve the analysis of thousands of internal emails. Senior executives have long privately complained that the News of the World has been unfairly singled out.
A 2006 report by the Information Commissioner into a thriving black market in personal data found that titles owned by Trinity Mirror, including the Sunday Mirror, were among the most prolific customers of a private detective who specialised in illegally obtaining information, including mobile phone data and criminal records from the police national computer.
Mr Marsden told The Independent yesterday that he had stepped down from his Shrewsbury seat because of the revelations about his personal life.
He said: “I never had any allegations that I was a bad constituency MP but, in effect, I was forced to step down, because I never knew what was coming next: in 2003 there weren’t just strange goings-on with my mobile phone but there was somebody impersonating a police officer trying to discover my whereabouts, which caused great distress to people close to me.
“Someone was getting information from secure telephones and that massively undermined trust and caused a huge amount of upset and heartache… It is hugely important that a democratically elected MP can talk with complete security to a constituent or a cabinet minister and know that that information can remain confidential.”
The former MP is understood to be complaining about revelations which led to him admitting a number of affairs in 2003, including a relationship with an unnamed political journalist. Mr Marsden said that he had been researching his claim for 18 months, adding that he was collating evidence from his mobile phone company and friends who were approached by reporters equipped with personal information about him.
He told BBC Radio 5 Live: “Over those 18 months we have put together evidence which brings the only reasonable conclusion now that my phone was indeed hacked. That evidence comes from witnesses who can verify it. It also comes from the phone records.”
The politician said part of his case involved a Trinity Mirror reporter who moved to the News of the World in 2005, at the time when Andy Coulson was the paper’s editor. In a statement, Mr Marsden said: “I understand that the reporter was suspended last year in respect of hacking carried out for that paper last year.”
Scotland Yard last night confirmed that the News of the World had approached it in September 2010 and handed over information about phone hacking relating to the suspended member of staff.
Mr Marsden, whose claim is being brought against the Sunday Mirror and not individual journalists, has not yet provided full evidence of his allegations to the newspaper. Unlike the proceedings against the News of the World, it is not known whether any documentary evidence exists linking the newspaper to the activities of private investigators.
In a statement, the Mirror Group said: “Trinity Mirror’s position is clear. Our journalists work within the criminal law and the Press Complaints Commission code of conduct.”
How Paul Marsden hit the headlines
7 December 2003
Headline I helped wimpish MP then he stole my wife – latest sordid secret of Lib Dem love cheat
Story Allegations are made that Paul Marsden “stole” his wife, Shelly, from a Huddersfield-based financial adviser by conducting an affair with her while she was still married.
23 November 2003
Headline: MP: I’ve cheated on my wife… I’m sorry; Labour turncoat admits his romps with two women
Story Mr Marsden, a father-of-two, is quoted admitting that he cheated on his wife by conducting a six-month affair with a political journalist.
News Corporation’s defence that phone hacking at the News of the World was the work of a single “rogue reporter” was on the verge of collapse tonight after Glenn Mulcaire, the private detective at the centre of the case, said the paper’s head of news commissioned him to access voicemail messages.
Mulcaire is understood to have submitted a statement to the high court this afternoon confirming that Ian Edmondson, the paper’s assistant editor (news) asked him to hack into voicemail messages left on a mobile phone belonging to Sky Andrew, a football agent. Andrew is suing the paper for breach of privacy.
It is also understood that Mulcaire said in the court statement that several other executives at the News of the World were aware that phone hacking was taking place, although he does not name them.
A spokesman for the News of the World said: “This is a serious allegation that will form part of our internal investigation.”
Edmondson was suspended by the paper before Christmas after he was named in court documents in a separate case against the News of the World brought by the actor Sienna Miller.
His computer has been impounded as part of the paper’s internal investigation and the company is trawling through his emails. He is expected to be questioned after colleagues have been interviewed.
Mulcaire’s decision to name Edmondson helps to explains why News Group acted so quickly to suspend him.
Mulcaire’s lawyer, Sarah Webb, said: “It’s in court documents. I’m not prepared to comment.”
The admission by Mulcaire, whose legal fees are believed to be met by News of the World publisher, News Group, which is part of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, contradicts the paper’s repeated claim that only a single journalist – the former royal editor Clive Goodman – knew about his activities. Executives at the paper, including its former editor Andy Coulson, now David Cameron’s director of communications – have stuck to that version of events since Goodman and Mulcaire was jailed in 2007 for illegally intercepting voicemails left on mobile phones belonging to members of the royal household.
Files seized by police in a 2006 raid on Mulcaire’s home show that Mulcaire wrote “Ian” in the margins of a transcript he made of messages left on Miller’s phone.
Miller’s lawyers had contended that “Ian” referred to Edmondson, an executive at the paper who was hired by Coulson and worked closely with the former editor during his time at the paper.
Mulcaire had a habit of writing the first name of whoever had asked him to conduct hacking in the top left corner of his paperwork. His conviction in 2006 along with Goodman rested partly on the fact he had written “Clive” on his files.
Lawyers acting for Nicola Phillips, a publicist suing the paper for breach of privacy, won a high court ruling in November ordering Mulcaire to name the executives who ordered him to hack into phones.
He appealed against that ruling, however, on the grounds that he could incriminate himself by doing so, and the court of appeal has yet to hear his case.
It is unclear why Mulcaire has decided to name Edmondson now, although it is thought lawyers acting for several other litigants, including the comedian Steve Coogan and the Sky Sports commentator Andy Gray are preparing to make the same request.
Murdoch has said he would take “immediate action” against anyone found hacking again.
News Corporation had fought a long battle to prevent details of the phone-hacking affair becoming public.
The Guardian revealed in July 2009 that it had paid the PFA chief executive, Gordon Taylor, and two others a total of £1m in a secret out-of -court settlement in exchange for dropping a hacking case. The documents relating to the case were then sealed by the court. The celebrity publicist Max Clifford received £1m last year in a similar settlement.
Paul Gascoigne ready to sue News of the World over ‘phone hacking’Paul Gascoigne is planning to sue the News of the World following claims his mobile phone was hacked.
The tabloid has been beset by allegations about phone hacking since its ex-royal editor Clive Goodman and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire were jailed in 2007 for intercepting messages from Clarence House.
It has been suggested a number of high-profile figures were targeted in a similar way by the newspaper, although the Metropolitan Police has investigated the matter on more than one occasion without finding evidence strong enough to merit a prosecution.
Former England footballer Gascoigne believes his phone was hacked and is set to instigate legal action, as he thinks the matter has hindered his fight against drink and mental health problems.
Gerald Shamash, Gascoigne’s solicitor, told BBC Radio 5 Live he is about to issue proceedings and will attempt to gain full disclosure about exactly who was and was not targeted.
Reopen files on News of the World phone hacking scandal, police tell prosecutors
By Rebecca Camber
Last updated at 12:37 AM on 15th January 2011
Prosecutors are to re-examine all the police files on the News of the World phone hacking scandal in a move that could trigger new arrests.
Yesterday Scotland Yard asked the Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC, to carry out a ‘comprehensive assessment’ of all the material from the original inquiry and any new evidence of celebrities’ phones being tapped illegally.
The move follows the suspension of Ian Edmondson, a senior executive at the Sunday newspaper, over suggestions that he was linked to the hacking of actress Sienna Miller’s voicemail messages.
Target: Actress Sienna Miller had her mobile voicemail hacked. The phone scandal has dogged former News of the World Editor Andy Coulson who is now the Prime Minister’s Director of Communications
In an open letter to the DPP, Metropolitan Police Acting Deputy Commissioner John Yates said there ‘remain outstanding public, legal and political concerns’ about the scandal, which has dogged the News of the World and its former editor, Andy Coulson, now the Prime Minister’s director of communications.
The development comes a week after Scotland Yard ruled out a fresh inquiry into the case despite pressure from former home secretary Alan Johnson and Labour home affairs spokesman Ed Balls.
An internal investigation has begun at the News of the World into the conduct of Mr Edmondson, assistant editor in charge of news. He was suspended just before Christmas after his name appeared in legal documents submitted by lawyers representing Miss Miller, who is suing the paper’s parent company, News Group, and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, who worked for the paper, accusing them of breaching her privacy and harassment.
Mulcaire and former News of the World royal editor Clive Goodman were jailed in 2007 after they admitted intercepting voicemails left on mobile phones belonging to members of the royal household.
Downing Street has repeatedly said that David Cameron has full confidence in Mr Coulson. Last night a Government source said: ‘Andy Coulson has said from the beginning that he had no knowledge of phone hacking at the News of the World. Nothing has changed.’
A scandal threatening to engulf the tabloid News of the World will intensify this week when the Metropolitan Police hand over previously undisclosed documents relating to the hacking of celebrities’ mobile phones while the paper was edited by Andy Coulson, the communications director of the British Prime Minister, David Cameron.
The documents are expected to trigger fresh allegations that phone hacking at the paper was extensive and not the work of ”one rogue reporter” as it has maintained. The fear for Rupert Murdoch’s News International, the parent company of the News of the World, is that the documents may contain the names of commissioning journalists.
Scotland Yard has until Wednesday to comply with a court order obliging it to provide lawyers representing the sports agent Skylet Andrew with material relating to the hacking of his phone that was recovered by police from the offices of Glenn Mulcaire, a private investigator in the pay of the newspaper.
Mr Andrew, who represents the cricketer James Anderson, the former England footballer Sol Campbell and the Stoke City player Jermaine Pennant, is one of Britain’s leading sports agents.
The imminent disclosure comes as the paper defends itself against a legal action brought by the actor Sienna Miller. Ian Edmondson, the assistant editor, has been suspended amid allegations he sanctioned the hacking of Miller’s phones. His suspension triggered a request from Scotland Yard for the newspaper to share any new information it had.
Disclosure of Mr Andrew’s files is viewed by lawyers as of equal significance to the Miller revelations. The documents relate to the original 2006 hacking case involving the interception of royal aides’ phones that resulted in the jailing of Mulcaire and the paper’s former royal editor, Clive Goodman. At the time the News of the World denied knowing anything about this additional hacking which, along with Mr Andrew, involved the model Elle Macpherson, a British MP, Simon Hughes, and the publicist Max Clifford.
Mr Andrew’s legal team will be keen to discover to what extent, if any, the files refer to Goodman, Edmondson, Greg Miskiw, the paper’s former assistant editor, and its chief reporter, Neville Thurlbeck, who all face allegations they knew phone hacking was taking place.
Mr Cameron has staunchly defended Mr Coulson. But investigations by The Guardian suggest phone hacking was widespread on the paper under Mr Coulson.
Guardian News & Media
Don’t bother with a lengthy ring-round of your friends to wish them a happy new year. Just leave one of them a message on their mobile and wait for everyone else to hack into it.
A little premature, you might think. And you’d be right. But a pair of security researchers have told a Berlin conference how they were able to eavesdrop on mobile phone calls and texts made on any GSM network – used by around 80% of the world’s phones – using four cheap phones, a laptop and some open source software.
Karsten Nohl and Sylvain Munaut spent a year perfecting their eavesdropping technology, which begins by sending a “ghost” text message to a target phone that does not show up on the handset but enables the hacker to seize its unique identification number.
The pair, who gave a live demonstration to the Chaos Computer Club Congress in Berlin this week, said the whole process takes about 20 seconds, enabling phone conversations and SMS messages to be recorded and decrypted.
“Any GSM call is fair game,” Nohl told the BBC. “”Now there’s a path from your telephone number to me finding you and listening to your calls. The whole way.”
Nohl said commercially available equipment capable of eavesdropping on other people’s phone calls and text messages would previously have cost more than £35,000. He said the four Motorola phones used in their demonstration cost £9 each.
He told the conference that while computing power had continued to evolve, GSM phone software had become out of date.
“This is all a 20-year-old infrastructure, with lots of private data and not a lot of security,” Nohl said. “We want you to help phones go through the same kind of evolutionary steps that computers did in the 1990s.”
Nohl said there were no plans to make the eavesdropping kit available for others to use, but suggested it would not be difficult for a keen amateur to follow their lead. “I expect people to do it for the fun of doing it,” he added.
A lawsuit alleging a police cover-up of phone hacking has been launched by one of Scotland Yard’s own former senior officers, Brian Paddick, together with the former Labour minister Chris Bryant.
The former deputy prime minister John Prescott and at least one other person are shortly expected to join the action, which has the potential to force open some of the Metropolitan police’s locked files.
The claim for judicial review filed today accuses assistant Met commissioner John Yates of making misleading statements to parliament and the public, and the police of failing to carry out a proper investigation.
The two who are suing, along with a third, freelance journalist Brendan Montague, claim to have been likely victims of the News of the World. They name five senior journalists who they say worked with the phone-hacking private detective Glenn Mulcaire at the time when Andy Coulson was editor.
The five are Ian Edmondson, Neville Thurlbeck, Ross Hall and Greg Miskiw.
Paddick, a former deputy assistant commissioner at the Met, feared interception after a tabloid story emerged that he had bought his partner an expensive watch while on holiday in Sydney. The claim says: “He had not told anyone apart from his partner about the purchase, but had to speak to the bank on his mobile phone … to allow the bar on his credit card to be lifted.”
Subsequently, another tabloid discovered Paddick’s then partner was on a particular transatlantic flight, and was able to accost him: “The inference must be that private information was obtained.”
Paddick says Scotland Yard denied last November having any information linking him to News of the World hacking. When pressed again, to his surprise they eventually admitted his “name and occupation” did in fact appear in the seized documents.
Bryant, Labour’s former Europe minister, says newspapers got hold of his father’s new phone number “only days after he had moved to a new house. His new number was not listed in the telephone directory or known to anyone other than close family members.” The claim adds: “Mr Bryant’s brother was visited at his school.”
The phone company Orange confirmed several illegal attempts had been made to access his mobile phone mailbox.
After five months of delay, police confirmed his name and address were in the hacking files but refused to give any further details. They refused to say whether his father had also been targeted.
Montague tried to sell a story about a celebrity chef to the Sunday Mirror rather than the News of the World, according to the claim. It alleges: “The news editor there warned him the News of the World may try to access his telephone records.”
Subsequently, T-Mobile told him a fake caller had obtained copies of his phone records.
Yates is personally accused in the claim of making a number of misleading statements, including to a Commons committee: “Yates insisted that all reasonable steps were taken to warn people when there was the ‘minutest possibility’ they had been hacked. That statement is not true.”
The claim adds that when Yates was asked if Bryant had been warned, he gave a “misleading impression” by saying that he was “in correspondence” with the politician.
The claim says police deliberately “ring-fenced” the investigation despite the “clear inference that numerous journalists at the News of the World and other tabloid newspapers were involved in hacking”.
Scotland Yard refuse to disclose how many people they had warned, because that would reveal that “only a small proportion” had in fact been notified, according to the claim filed by leading media QC Hugh Tomlinson.
Last week, Yates wrote to the Guardian about allegations made by Bryant. He said: “I strongly object to the reference … of Chris Bryant MP accusing me of giving a misleading account and stating in respect of part of my evidence to the home affairs select committee that ‘It was a fib’.
“I am writing to Chris Bryant indicating that the relevant paragraph is both wrong and defamatory and asking him not to repeat it.”
The actor and comedian Steve Coogan tonight joined the list of public figures who are taking legal action over alleged phone-hacking by the News of the World.
Coogan’s name, mobile phone number, account number and password were found in material seized by police from Mulcaire in August 2006. The Met have refused to approach and warn the owners of nearly 3,000 mobile phone numbers which they found in Mulcaire’s records. An increasing number of public figures are approaching the police to ask for themselves whether their names or personal details were among those held by the investigator.
Coogan’s solicitor, John Kelly of London law firm Schillings, earlier this year wrote to Scotland Yard on Coogan’s behalf. “They have written back and confirmed that Steve was a ‘person of interest’ to Mr Mulcaire, and we have now sent a letter before claim on his behalf,” Kelly said.
In separate developments today, other pending lawsuits increased the prospect of disclosure of key phone-hacking documents.
Court files show Mulcaire now faces orders to disclose the names of all News of the World employees involved with the hacking of former MP George Galloway and football agent Sky Andrew.
Both men are suing Mulcaire and the News of the World’s parent company, News Group, for breach of privacy.
Galloway’s claim says confidential messages from the Foreign Office dealing with the Middle East are among those which may have been intercepted.
Andrew’s claim details 22 occasions on which the News of the World’s investigator is said to have accessed his voicemail.
A fresh claim has also been lodged on behalf of Nicola Phillips, former assistant to the celebrity PR agent Max Clifford. Phillips is suing News Group for breach of privacy. She claims her voicemail was intercepted as part of a News of the World operation against Clifford.
News Group is disputing all three claims.
7 September 2010 Last updated at 19:20 GMT MPs launch a new inquiry into mobile phone hacking Met Police Assistant Commissioner John Yates spoke to the Home Affairs Select Committee
An influential committee of MPs will conduct a new inquiry into the unauthorised hacking of mobile phones.
It comes amid fresh allegations that journalists at the News of the World hacked into voicemail messages of public figures.
The Home Affairs Select Committee will examine the laws on phone hacking and how police respond to complaints.
MPs announced the inquiry following evidence from a senior police officer about the News of the World claims.
Met Police Assistant Commissioner John Yates told the committee officers would interview former News of the World reporter Sean Hoare who has alleged that his then editor, Andy Coulson, asked him to hack phones.
Mr Yates said he might talk to Mr Coulson, now head of communications at Downing Street, but only after speaking to Mr Hoare.
Mr Coulson, who has the support of Downing Street, has denied the allegations and said he would be “happy to voluntarily meet” police over the latest claims. Mr Hoare’s claims have also been denied by News International, which owns the NotW.
The BBC understands the committee agreed to carry out an investigation into phone hacking that would be pursued in writing only, rather than deciding on an inquiry that would call witnesses to give evidence in public.
Labour MP Keith Vaz, the committee’s chair, said: “The evidence of Assistant Commissioner John Yates raised a number questions of importance about the law on phone hacking, the way the police deal with such breaches of the law and the manner in which victims are informed of those breaches.
“I hope this inquiry will clarify all these important areas.”
Mr Hoare and other former journalists told the New York Times the practice of phone hacking was far more extensive than the newspaper acknowledged when police first investigated the case.
Mr Yates told the committee the police would be speaking to Mr Hoare “in the near future”.
And when asked about Mr Coulson, he replied: “I imagine we will be seeing Mr Coulson in some capacity.”
Mr Yates has already said the Met was considering the new material and would consult with prosecutors whether to reopen its investigation into the NotW.
The assistant commissioner told the committee the New York Times was “not prepared to help” by passing over their evidence, but the Met had written again asking them to waive their “journalistic privilege”.
The police have been criticised for failing to inform those people whose voicemail Pin numbers were discovered during the initial investigation, which saw a News of the World journalist and a private investigator jailed.
He told MPs 91 to 120 people might have been potential targets but he was reluctant to discuss who was on the list.
However he said the former Deputy PM Lord Prescott, who believes he was targeted, was not one of them.
The police found evidence of crimes being committed in no more than 12 cases, he said, and those people had been contacted by officers or mobile phone service providers.
Mr Yates warned MPs it was a “dangerous assumption” to believe individuals named on the list were victims of eavesdropping.
Phone hacking was very narrowly defined in legislation and “very, very difficult to prove”, he said, adding that obtaining a Pin number without the owner’s permission was not in itself a crime.
Acting Labour leader Harriet Harman has written to Met Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson asking him to alert any of the party’s MPs “if their name, phone number or Pin number” appeared on the list.
The first police investigation led to the News of the World’s royal editor, Clive Goodman, being jailed in 2007 for conspiracy to access phone messages left for royal aides.
Goodman, along with private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, who was jailed for six months for the same charge, used mobile phone numbers and secret codes used by network operators to hack into the voicemails to see if there was any information of interest.
Mr Coulson quit as editor after Goodman was jailed for hacking, and when he appeared before MPs in 2009 he said he did not “condone or use” phone hacking.
Last year, the Guardian newspaper claimed News of the World journalists were involved in widespread phone hacking of several thousand celebrities, sports stars and politicians.
Several Labour MPs, who believe their phones have been hacked, are leading the calls for the investigation to be reopened but Home Secretary Theresa May said that was a decision for the police.