News of the World faces computer hacking claimstelegraph.co.uk | Aug 6th 2011
Executives at News International have been alerted to three instances where journalists are alleged to have paid for information, including emails and documents, stolen from individuals’ computers.
The allegations are potentially far more serious than the existing phone hacking cases. Computer hacking is covered by the Computer Misuse Act, which bans any unauthorised access of data and carries a maximum sentence of five years in jail.
Several named journalists, including news executives on the paper, are said to have paid specialist investigators, at least one of whom is a former Army intelligence officer, for their expertise.
The hackers are alleged to have used so-called Trojans viruses, sent in a disguised email, to break into the systems of individuals in whom they were interested.
It is understood that the BBC Panorama programme has been investigating the computer hacking claims and that the allegations centre on at least three separate stories that were being pursued by the News of the World over a long period. One case is said to relate to football transfer dealings and allegations against well known Premiership managers.
A second case focused on the search for an alleged spy who infiltrated the IRA at a high level who was secretly working for the controversial Army Force Research Unit.
A spokesman for the paper said: "Panorama has put vague and unsubstantiated allegations to us but despite several requests, they have yet to provide any evidence to back up these claims. If and when they do so, we can investigate and respond."
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