Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Is there worse than phone hacking to come out?

The phone hacking crisis has concentrated on individuals and who is to resign next, but some fascinating material is emerging about the technology used to spy on press targets that goes far beyond hacking phone messages.

In the Guardian report on the death of News of the World whistleblower Sean Hoare today the paper says "he returned to the spotlight last week, after he told the New York Times that reporters at the NoW were able to use police technology to locate people using their mobile phone signals, in exchange for payments to police officers.

"He said journalists were able to use 'pinging', which measured the distance between a mobile handset and a number of phone masts to pinpoint its location.

"Hoare gave further details about 'pinging' to the Guardian last week. He described how reporters would ask a news desk executive to obtain the location of a target: 'Within 15 to 30 minutes someone on the news desk would come back and say 'Right, that's where they are.'

"He said: 'You'd just go to the news desk and they'd come back to you. You don't ask any questions. You'd consider it a job done'."

  • Tom Watson MP in an interview in the Birmingham Post said: “I know of other technologies that people would be interested in, like tracker devices on cars and scanners. A scanner is a sort of black box, you put it on in a room and it takes all the data of every mobile phone in the room. I think there’s a lot more to come out.”
  • According to a Populus poll in The Times today, about 57 per cent think worse of Rupert Murdoch after the phone hacking affair, 31 per cent think worse of the police, while 35 per cent say that their opinion of newspapers has gone down in general.

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