The Independent: American investigators may look into payment to police

-By Martin Hickman

March 31, 2012- A payment to a British police force by a News Corp company accused of using piracy to crack a rival pay-TV service could be studied by US authorities investigating whether Rupert Murdoch's conglomerate broke America's strict anti-corruption laws, a former US Department of Justice lawyer claimed yesterday.

As revealed in yesterday's Independent, Surrey Police confirmed it had received £2,000 from the Surrey-based technology company NDS in 2000 for use "in the fight against organised crime". NDS said the payment ordered by its security chief Len Withall – a former Detective Chief Inspector at Surrey Police – following "some work", was a "one-off charitable donation" and produced an acknowledgement letter.

Bradley Simon, a former lawyer at the US Department of Justice, was reported as saying that the US authorities would be interested in the payment: "The DoJ is focused on payments to officials. The DoJ feels a lot of pressure to make cases when there is a lot of scrutiny."

The Guardian: Rupert Murdoch-linked pirate website targeted rivals, online file shows

Internet forums gave advice on how to hack into ITVDigital and cable television companies

-By Jamie Doward and Mia de Graaf

March 31, 2012- A computer piracy website, secretly supported by one of Rupert Murdoch's companies, openly promoted advice on how to hack BSkyB's rivals, according to documents obtained by the Observer.

Emails obtained by this newspaper also reveal that a senior employee of NDS, the Murdoch company, insisted he was personally responsible for setting up The House of Ill Compute (Thoic) site. NDS says it paid Thoic's chief hacker, Lee Gibling, for information allowing it to monitor and prosecute software pirates legitimately.

But the documents provide a new perspective on potentially toxic allegations that resurfaced in a BBC Panorama programme broadcast last week – more than a decade after they first materialised – and which triggered a ferocious rebuttal from Murdoch and his News Corp empire.

The allegations come as the media regulator Ofcom assesses News Corp's near-40% holding in BSkyB following the phone-hacking scandal that saw the closure of Murdoch's News of the World newspaper. At its peak in 2000, Thoic claimed it was receiving as many as 3m hits a day.

Reuters: Murdoch's media empire strikes back

-By Georgina Prodhan

March 29, 2012- An angry Rupert Murdoch on Thursday declared war against "enemies" who have accused his pay-TV operation of sabotaging its rivals, denouncing them as "toffs and right wingers" stuck in the last century.

Separate reports by the British Broadcasting Corporation and the Australian Financial Review newspaper this week said that News Corp's pay-TV smartcard security unit, NDS, had promoted piracy attacks on rivals, including in the United States.

NDS and News Corp had already denied the claims, but on Thursday the media empire mounted a concerted fight back as a corruption scandal that has plagued its UK newspapers began to encroach on its far more lucrative pay-TV business.

"Seems every competitor and enemy piling on with lies and libels. So bad, easy to hit back hard, which preparing," News Corp Chief Executive Murdoch, 81, tweeted.

News Corp, whose global media interests stretch from movies to newspapers that can make or break political careers, has endured an onslaught of negative press since a phone-hacking scandal at its News of the World tabloid blew up last year.

Sydney Morning Herald: News piracy allegations should be investigated by police: Conroy

-By Judith Ireland

March 28, 2012- Media reports that Rupert Murdoch's News Corp promoted the pirating of its international pay-TV rivals were serious, and allegations of any criminality should be investigated by police, the Australian government said today.

"These are serious allegations and any allegations of criminal activity should be referred to the Australian Federal Police for investigation," a spokesperson for Senator Conroy said.

Separately, Treasurer Wayne Swan told a conference in Melbourne that the allegations of News piracy were "concerning".

Advertisement: Story continues below The Australian Financial Review said today that News Corp had used a special unit, Operational Security, set up in the mid-1990s, to sabotage its competitors.

Their actions devastated News's competitors, and the resulting waves of high-tech piracy assisted News to bid for pay TV businesses at reduced prices – including DirecTV in the US, Telepiu in Italy and Austar. These targets each had other commercial weaknesses quite apart from piracy, the AFR says.

BBC News: News Corporation firm NDS accused of ITV Digital hack

A News Corporation subsidiary company used a computer hacker to sabotage Sky TV's biggest rival, BBC Panorama has reported.

March 27, 2012- NDS is accused of leaking information from On Digital which could be used to create counterfeit smart cards, giving people free access to paid for TV.

The Carlton and Granada owned company folded in 2002 following rebranding which saw it renamed ITV Digital.

An NDS statement denied the claims, calling them "simply not true".

ITV Digital was first launched as On Digital and was set up as a rival to News Corporation's Sky TV in 1998.

But the widespread availability of secret codes to reproduce the cards needed to access the service meant ITV Digital's services could be accessed for free by pirates.

Hacking intelligence

The latest claims have been made by Lee Gibling - who set up a website in the late 90s known as The House of Ill-Compute, or Thoic.

The Independent: FBI poised to step up investigation into News Corp

US bureau ready to step in if Met inquiry into alleged wrongdoing at Murdoch papers falters

-By James Hanning & Michael Pooler

March 18, 2012- The FBI has told Scotland Yard it is "prepared to step in" if the Metropolitan Police fails to investigate the full extent of impropriety in the Murdoch empire. The warning came at a meeting between the transatlantic law enforcement groups at the Ministry of Justice in London.

Every piece of evidence surrendered by News Corporation to Scotland Yard is also being passed to US investigators. The disclosures, which prompted more than 20 arrests, including Sun journalists, have also sparked a separate FBI inquiry into whether News Corporation bribed officials in Russia. US investigators are collecting evidence given to the Leveson inquiry and parliamentary select committees.

"The FBI made it perfectly clear that if the British police drop the ball on this they will pick it up and run with it," said one legal source familiar with the US investigation.

Huffington Post: James Murdoch Expresses 'Great And Real Regret' Over Phone Hacking In Letter To Parliament

-By Jack Mirkinson and Katherine Fung

March 14, 2012- James Murdoch has written to a key parliamentary committee expressing "great and real regret" over the phone hacking scandal while maintaining his innocence in the affair.

Murdoch's letter to the Culture, Media and Sport Committee was made public on Wednesday afternoon, as committee chair John Whittingdale had told the Guardian ahead of time.

In the letter, Murdoch took responsibility for a failure to uncover the scale of phone hacking. However, he maintained that he was unaware of criminal activity at his company, and denied reports that he resigned as chief executive at News International in the wake of the scandal.

"It has been suggested that my decision to resign my role at News International reflected past knowledge of voicemail interception or other alleged criminal wrongdoing at News International," he wrote. "This is untrue. I take my share of responsibility for not uncovering wrongdoing earlier. However, I have not misled Parliament. I did not know about, nor did I try to hide, wrongdoing."

The Daily Mail: Former NotW chief reporter arrested for 'intimidating News Corp chief after publishing his address'

  • Neville Thurlbeck named street where News Corporation executive Will Lewis lives in blog posting
     
  • He was held on suspicion of intimidating a witness - thought to be Mr Lewis
     
  • After arrest he blogged: 'It didn't really feel like England today'
     
  • And he writes that police got his age wrong in their press statement: 'I am a mere 50 years old - NOT 51'

-By Rebecca Camber and Rob Cooper

March 14, 2012- Former News of the World chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck today bemoaned the 'swift' action of detectives investigating phone-hacking after he was arrested on suspicion of intimidating a witness.

Thurlbeck, 50, was held after criticising executive Will Lewis, who is on News Corporation's Management and Standards Committee, in a blog post.

In one entry, the journalist named the security firm protecting Mr Lewis' home and the North London street where he lives.

Huffington Post: Rebekah Brooks, Husband, And Four Others Arrested In New Phone Hacking Probe

-By Gregory Katz  (AP)

March 13, 2012- Former News International executive Rebekah Brooks and her racehorse trainer husband Charlie were arrested in dawn raids that also netted four other suspects in the spreading phone hacking scandal.

Police said the six people were arrested Tuesday on suspicion of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. The charge is an indication that investigators may be focusing on a possible coverup of the scope of phone hacking rather than the illegal hacking itself.

It was the most arrests in a single day since "Operation Weeting" — as the police investigation into phone hacking is known — began arresting reporters, senior news executives, police officers and others suspected of criminal acts.

The early morning police swoop brought the scandal to Prime Minister David Cameron's immediate social circle. Cameron said at a press conference earlier this month that Charlie Brooks, Rebekah Brooks' husband who has now been arrested, was a longtime friend.

The two had gone horse riding together, said Cameron, who lives in the Cotswolds town of Chipping Norton where the couple also reside.

The Guardian: Press Complaints Commission to close in wake of phone-hacking scandal

Media watchdog will be replaced by transitional body until replacement is set up after Leveson inquiry

-By Lisa O'Carroll

March 8, 2012- The Press Complaints Commission is to be shut down after 21 years, closing one of the most controversial chapters in the history of self regulation of the UK newspaper industry.

The watchdog, which was fatally wounded by its response to the phone-hacking scandal, has confirmed that it will formally close and be replaced with a transitional body which will take charge of press regulation until a new system is set up in the wake of the Leveson inquiry.

The long-term replacement for the PCC is not expected to be up and running for at least a year and may not be in place until 2014 if statutes are needed for a proposed arbitration unit offering a libel resolution service.

In the meantime the newspaper industry has decided that closing the existing self-regulatory body will offer the press a clean break from the past and an opportunity to regain the confidence of the public.

An accelerated shutdown of the PCC was agreed earlier this year and formally approved at a meeting of the commission on Wednesday.

PR Watch: Fox Attacks Wages of Working-Class Maids

-by Patrick Moran

March 9, 2012- Fox Business News recently ran a segment criticizing a collective bargaining agreement struck between workers and management in New York City's hotel industry. Analysts on the program called the deal "a nightmare," singling out the provisions raising wages for housekeepers as "shocking." Fox's reaction is consistent with its past coverage of worker's issues, which has portrayed union efforts to secure higher wages and benefits for the working class as an affront to capitalism.

The agreement between the New York Hotel Trades Council A.F.L.-C.I.O, the union representing workers in New York's hotel industry, and the Hotel Association of New York, the trade group representing hotel owners, gives housekeepers a 29% raise in their current salary over seven years, giving them a salary of $59,823 by the time the CBA expires.

Fox Targets Living Wages for Maids, Defends the Rich