Sunday, July 31, 2011

New York Post Editor Warns Employees as Justice Department Opens Investigation

News Corp's troubles regarding multiple scandals and arrests occurring in the U.K. have come home to roost. In response to a directive from News Corp's legal counsel, the editor of the New York Post, Col Allan, warned Post employees to preserve all emails and any other documents that indicated unauthorized access to personal data or payments to government officials:

News Corporation officials did not comment on the matter. But the notice raised the possibility that the firm either has received a subpoena for such documents, or has been notified by prosecutors that a subpoena is coming, legal specialists said.

Employees of the News of the World, the now-shuttered, formerly profitable tabloid, have been arrested, charged with hacking the cell phones of, among others a murdered 13-year-old British schoolgirl, Milly Dowler, and the families of the victims of what the British consider their 9/11, "7/7". On July 7, 2005 the public suffered 4 coordinated terrorist suicide bombings, 3 in the London Underground (their subway) and 1 on a double-decker bus, killing 52 people and injuring 700.

Creepier still, the London Metropolitan police (aka Scotland Yard) recently revealed that Glenn Mulcaire, the private detective hired by News Corp, had personal information on Sara Payne among his papers when he was arrested in 2006. As to why this information came out 5 years later, that's a question for Sherlock Holmes. Sara Payne is the mother of Sarah Payne, an 8-year-old girl who was abducted and murdered by a convicted pedophile in 2000. That's just when Rebekah Brooks, head of News International, was made editor of The News of The World.

She befriended Ms. Payne and put the editorial clout of the paper behind a campaign to create "Sarah's Law", modeled after "Megan's Law" in the U.S., whereby parents could gain access to information on local pedophiles. It was hugely popular (1 million readers signed a petition to support it). The paper began its "Name and Shame" policy of outing suspected pedophiles.

Ms. Payne was grateful for Ms. Brooks and the paper's support, writing a regular column, even expressing thanks in its final issue. But it seems that Ms. Payne's cell phone, given to her by Ms. Brooks, was the source of Mulcaire's information on her. He hacked her voice mail. Circulation built on the back on another murdered child.

Justice Department head Eric Holder started his investigation of News Corp activities in the U.S. in response to evidence that the company paid British police officers thousands of dollars in bribes over a 4-5 year period. Bribery by an American company is prosecutable under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, an act which has been enforced many times. There are also allegations that the voice mails of the families of 9/11 victims were hacked.

My advice to anyone who may become an unwitting target of News Corp's illegal surveillance techniques is to arm oneself with equivalent spy gear. You'd be amazed at how technologically advanced current surveillance products are. Most of them are the size of a flash drive.

Pick up an iPhone Spy Stick Brickhouse Exclusive Technology, which recovers deleted iPhone text messages, Map searches, hidden contacts and more. Or try the Stealth ibot Computer Spy (computer spying tool secretly captures passwords, chats, screenshots and more). Or the James O’Keefe special: the Mega Mini Spy Camera Pro with Recording (DVR), an audio activated portable DVR Camera with Amazing Video Quality. There’s also Cell Phone Recon, a tiny device that allows you to monitor all cell phone activity from your computer, including calls and text messages. Or get all of them, just to make sure that if they have their story, you have yours.

Turnabout's fair play.

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