January 2, 2012
Media-Hired Hackers Target Gordon Brown’s Emails
One of England´s premier newspapers The Independent reported on Monday that British police had uncovered evidence that former Prime Minister Gordon Brown´s email account may have been hacked by private investigators hired by big name newspapers.
Moreover, it appears that then-Finance Minister Gordon Brown was not the only victim. The Independent reported that London´s famous Scotland Yard was examining some 20 confiscated computers and had evidence that hundreds of government officials and associates may have had their email accounts hacked.
While no charges have yet been filed, unnamed sources have reported that police investigators suspect that one or more media organizations may have hired private detectives and hackers to unlawfully access the computers of government officials and their friends.
In Mr. Brown´s case, the stolen emails are reportedly from his time as Britain´s finance minister before he became prime minister in 2007. Former advisor to the Labour Party and lobbyist Derek Draper was also targeted, The Independent reported.
The period under question spans a time during which the personal relationship between Mr. Brown and then Prime Minister Tony Blair was known to be strained, making the personal emails potentially embarrassing for Brown and a gold mine for tabloid press agencies.
While officials are currently keeping a tight lid on the investigation, one of Brown´s former colleagues, former Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain, commented that he had been cooperating with police officers looking into the potentially criminal digital conspiracy in which his computer also appears to have been hacked.
Though not yet directly implicated in the criminal scandal, Australian-American media mogul Rupert Murdoch and his British newspaper News International have also refused to issue an official comment.
Last summer, Murdoch´s group was forced to shut down News of the World after several of its journalists were implicated in a vast cell phone hacking scandal that including stealing private voicemail messages from a number of government officials, celebrities and even crime victims.
Murdoch´s paper is also the only media group to openly acknowledge that its reporters engaged in phone hacking, although many insiders claim that the invasive practice is standard par for many tabloid press agencies.
While News International´s recently acquired notoriety has for many made them the subject of knee-jerk suspicion, the Independent´s report did not in any way single the agency out.