back to article Met re-opens NoTW phone hack probe

Scotland Yard has re-opened an investigation into phone hacking at News of the World – more than four years after closing the book of the case. The Met, which previously refused to reinvestigate the case, said that the move came in response to the receipt of "significant new information". This investigation will be led by …


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  1. Vic

    That's sickening.

    We have evidence of serious criminal behaviour, and it's The Guardian, not the MPS, who do the investigation. What were the police doing that meant they didn't have time to do their job?

    Oh well, perhaps the Sunday Sport will start investigating the Phorm fiasco...


  2. Just Thinking

    Hacking? Interception?

    That all sounds very clever. Didn't they just "guess" the PIN (starting with the default one)? Presumably they used a £15 throwaway PAYG to avoid being traced, they wouldn't be stupid enough to use their own phone to access someone else's voicemail - would they?

    Matched only by the stupidity of the phone companies ("Its great, you can access your voicemail from any phone, just type 9999") and the slebs, politcos and senior plod ("Its great, I can access my voicemail from any phone, I just type 9999").

    There are only clowns in this circus.

  3. Naughtyhorse

    significant new information...

    e.g we have been found to be sitting ou our arses doing sweet FA for 4 years.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      It's worse than that..

      I think it might be worse than that.. it does look rather like the police might have been colluding with the newspapers, possibly turning a blind eye in exchange for occasional bits of intelligence. I think the real shitstorm is still to come..

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up


        Oh, I do hope so. Must go and get some popcorn :)

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    If these high profile folks had a numeric code for their front door, rather than a key, would they all leave the code at the manufacturer's default '0000'? And if they would, would they be surprised if they got robbed? And if they were robbed, how seriously would the police take it.

    Another round of lawyers getting rich from celebs (the majority of whom are media whores who want to switch media attention on and off when it suits them) getting rich by being paid off by the media for being the "victim" of a crime they left themselves open to and, in almost all cases, suffered no loss, damage etc.

    Trebles all round!

  5. Shonko Kid
    Big Brother

    Is the 'significant new information'

    Yes, they did it.


    Yes, some people are rightly pissed off?

  6. Paul Gomme


    Guessing a 4-digit PIN gives real hackers a bad name...

    Interesting how a few celebs and MPs can get this investigated, but ten thousand BT Openworld accounts intercepted by Phorm and BT get completely ignored...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Shirely ...

      ... Erm ... But isn't the whole point of this article that they didn't investigate it?

    2. Anonymous Coward

      RE: Hacking?

      ignoring the relevant bits of RIPA, your average mobile phone would be classed a computer, and hence knowing unauthorised access (S1) CMA90 is enough for a hackking offence.

      Sure, not the usual Hollywood glamour view of hacking, but if it works, it's still a criminal offence!

      1. karabuni

        Not in the phone?

        Surely it isn't the "phone" that's being hacked - the number of the phone plus a pin is being used to "hack" some kind of computer/storage system belonging to the phone company, to gain access to the messages.

        So it is a computer, even if the "victim" has a really simple dumbphone*, as messages are stored remotely, not in the phone. CMA much easier to apply then.

        * everything must have an opposite, even a smartphone.

  7. Chris Miller

    "what the hell law is being broken, besides cruelty to animals"*

    For years, I've been telling clients that they need to place suitable warning messages (This is a private network - unauthorised use forbidden) on their network devices on the grounds that their absence might make it more difficult to prosecute an intruder (or internal abuse). I'm pretty sure that no such message is incorporated into voicemail retrieval systems - certainly not on the ones I use.

    So my question is: has any crime (as opposed to an invasion of privacy civil offence) been committed? Would tapping 15 digits into my phone and then following voice instructions make me a criminal in a way that listening to someone's voicemail 'greeting' wouldn't? I'm sure what has been (allegedly) done is immoral, but is it criminal?

    * Inspector Harry Callahan - 'The Enforcer'

    1. Anonymous Coward

      ref: what the hell law is being broken, besides cruelty to animals

      Computer Misuse Act 1990

      Unauthorised access to computer material

      .(1)A person is guilty of an offence if—.

      (a)he causes a computer to perform any function with intent to secure access to any program or data held in any computer [F1, or to enable any such access to be secured] ;.

      (b)the access he intends to secure [F2, or to enable to be secured,] is unauthorised; and.

      (c)he knows at the time when he causes the computer to perform the function that that is the case..

      (2)The intent a person has to have to commit an offence under this section need not be directed at—.

      (a)any particular program or data;.

      (b)a program or data of any particular kind; or.

      (c)a program or data held in any particular computer..

      (3)A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable—.

      (a)on summary conviction in England and Wales, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum or to both;.

      (b)on summary conviction in Scotland, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum or to both;.

      (c)on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or to a fine or to both.].

      if somebody leaves the keys in a motor car, jumping in and driving away is still an offence, the same applies to the computerised equivlent, even if the police and CPS are normally to dumb to put together a coherent case.

      1. Chris Miller

        Thanks, I knew that

        and 1(c) is why there's a need for 'no unauthorised use' banners on computer systems. There's no comparison to 'taking and driving away' a vehicle - you're not depriving anyone of the use of the system.

        I heard a clarification on the Beeb, which suggested that the Crown Prosecution Service had originally taken the view that listening to 'old' messages was NOT an offence (presumably because there is no change to the state of the system), whereas listening to 'new' messages was an offence. The CPS have announced that they have changed their view on this point, but it seems (to me at least) to remain unclear.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    What were the police doing?

    Well, maybe the Metropolitan Police officer in charge of the alleged investigation was getting ready to leave the Met and take up a career in journalism. At News International. Y'know, the one owned by Rupert Murdoch. By coincidence, shortly after the investigation was 'concluded'.

    By coincidence this officer has also been ACPO Ltd's counter-terrorism officer for a while (and the Met's anti-terrorism expert too). And various other interesting snippets, all independently verifiable, pre-collated for your convenience at:

    Read it and draw your own conclusions.

  9. despairing citizen
    Thumb Up

    Other Offences to be Considered?

    One does wonder whether any police officers from the original investigation will be investigated for other offences, say like perverting the course of justice, etc.?

  10. JaitcH

    An important item overlooked ...

    is why the GSM networks aren't deploying the latest encryption standards?

    Most networks use aged encryption techniques which render their cell toting customers open to NoW and other newspapers invading their privacy.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    "aged encryption techniques"

    "An important item overlooked is why the GSM networks aren't deploying the latest encryption standards?"

    There was a reply to Jaitch's similar post on this same subject over at the Guardian but it's been deleted because it mentioned a name that hasn't been allowed to be mentioned there for a week or more. It's worth repeating the gist of the deleted reply though. Here's what I remember.

    Encryption and the like are important, but communications are only ever as secure as the weakest link.

    When you are News International, with employees like Coulson, Brooks/Wade, the jailed "Royal Correspondents", not to mention subcontract workers like Mulcaire, and when you have the resources employ retired former senior police officers like [not permitted] and the resources to pay identified victims millions of pounds so they stay relatively quiet about being the victims of NI's crime, you don't necessarily have to bother about encryption, even when folk do have the common sense to not use default access codes.

    All you need is an insider in the mobileco's call centres, and the will for two or more parties to disregard the law in return for money. If NotW don't already have an insider, it should be clear from NI's record (which Rebekah Wade/Brooks has admitted to the House of Commons includes paying *police* for information) that it would be a piece of cake for an outfit like the News of the World to get (or buy) an insider with the ability to arrange access to voicemail for folks other than the customer, especially given that call centre folks aren't known for being well paid.

    Still at least the latest inquiry's going to clear all this up soon.

    Andy Hayman is the missing name, anti-terrorism was his the game:

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