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eddhead
July 5th, 2011, 11:26 AM
This story if true, is appalling. Not only did the violate the sanctity of her phone messages, the effected the criminal investigation .
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/06/world/europe/06britain.html?hp=&pagewanted=print

By SARAH LYALL (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/l/sarah_lyall/index.html?inline=nyt-per)LONDON — The voice mailbox of a British schoolgirl who went missing in 2002 and whose murdered body was discovered six months later was repeatedly hacked by the News of the World tabloid at a time when no one knew what had happened to her, a lawyer for her family said Monday.

According to the lawyer, Mark Lewis, the newspaper not only intercepted messages left at the cellphone number of the girl, Milly Dowler, 13, by her increasingly frantic family after her disappearance, but also deleted some of those messages when her voice mailbox became full — thus making room for new ones and listening to those in turn. This confused investigators and gave false hope to Milly’s relatives, who believed it showed she was still alive and deleting the messages herself, Mr. Lewis said.

In a statement, Mr. Lewis called the newspaper’s actions “heinous” and “despicable” and said the Dowler family had suffered “distress heaped upon tragedy” upon learning that News of the World “had no humanity at such a terrible time.”

The British prime minister David Cameron, while on a visit to Afghanistan, put more pressure on the newspaper on Tuesday, calling the allegations shocking. “If they are true, this is a truly dreadful act and a truly dreadful situation,” he said, according to comments carried by The Associated Press.

The disclosures, reported first in The Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/jul/04/milly-dowler-voicemail-hacked-news-of-world), came as part of a broader police investigation into The News of the World’s routine practice of intercepting the cellphone messages of celebrities, politicians and other public figures in the mid-2000s. The newspaper has admitted that it did so in some cases, and has paid damages to the actress Sienna Miller and others. Numerous other people who say that their phones were hacked are suing the paper.

But the revelations about Milly Dowler are significant for two reasons. The first is that the alleged hacking in this case occurred in 2002 — five years before The News of the World’s chief royal reporter, Clive Goodman, was jailed along with Glenn Mulcaire, an investigator hired by the paper, after they were found guilty of intercepting the phone messages of members of the royal family. The police investigation has so far focused on behavior since 2007; the Dowler case is the first to indicate publicly that the police investigation may be widening to include earlier cases.

The second is that in 2002, the editor of The News of the World was Rebekah Brooks, a confidante and favorite of Rupert Murdoch (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/m/rupert_murdoch/index.html?inline=nyt-per), whose corporation owns the paper. Ms. Brooks, who is now chief executive of News International, the British newspaper division of Mr. Murdoch’s News Corporation, has always denied knowing anything about voice-mail hacking at any Murdoch-owned papers.
In an e-mail she sent to employees on Tuesday, she repeated that assertion.

“I hope that you all realize it is inconceivable that I knew or worse, sanctioned these appalling allegations,” she wrote in the e-mail (http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/jul/05/milly-dowler-phone-hacking-rebekah-brooks-email). She also said, “It is almost too horrific to believe that a professional journalist or even a freelance inquiry agent working on behalf of a member of the News of the World staff could behave in this way.”

If Mr. Lewis’s accusations about hacking during the Dowler case prove accurate, it would mean either that Ms. Brooks had no idea how the paper she edited was obtaining information about the Dowler family for its articles, or that she knew about the hacking and allowed it.
Evidence that News of the World had hacked into Milly’s cellphone voice mail and to those of her family members was found in notebooks belonging to Mr. Mulcaire that were turned over to the police as part of a wider investigation, The Guardian reported.
Mr. Lewis told the BBC that the police had notified Milly Dowler’s parents that “News of the World, or Glenn Mulcaire, was hacking into Milly Dowler’s voice mail while she was a missing person.”

“You have to ask the question: who was at The News of the World thinking it was appropriate to try and hack into the phone of a missing young girl, and what was Glenn Mulcaire thinking of at the time to take those instructions?” he said. “Both of them should have had common decency, moral right, to turn around and say, no, they weren’t prepared to do that.”

In a statement, The News of the World said it was cooperating with the police and added, “This particular case is clearly a development of great concern.”

And in her e-mail, Ms. Brooks said, “If the allegations are proved to be true then I can promise the strongest possible action will be taken as this company will not tolerate such disgraceful behavior.”

Ninjahedge
July 5th, 2011, 01:05 PM
Hacking in and listening is one thing, but deleting the messages?

That is low.

eddhead
July 7th, 2011, 12:03 PM
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/08/world/europe/08britain.html?hp=&pagewanted=print


By SARAH LYALL (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/l/sarah_lyall/index.html?inline=nyt-per) and ALAN COWELL (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/c/alan_cowell/index.html?inline=nyt-per)LONDON — New reports of clandestine phone hacking by the News of the World tabloid swirled on Thursday, including the possibility that targets included relatives of fallen soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. One newspaper said the police planned to make arrests soon.

The new reports came a day after Britain (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/international/countriesandterritories/unitedkingdom/index.html?inline=nyt-geo)’s Parliament collectively turned on Rupert Murdoch (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/m/rupert_murdoch/index.html?inline=nyt-per), the head of the News Corporation (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/business/companies/news_corporation/index.html?inline=nyt-org), which owns The News of the World, and the tabloid culture he represents, using a debate about the widening phone hacking scandal to denounce reporting tactics by newspapers once seen as too politically influential to challenge.

The scandal posed new hurdles for Mr. Murdoch’s proposed $12 billion takeover of the pay-television company British Sky Broadcasting, as many legislators criticized the deal, and Britain (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/international/countriesandterritories/unitedkingdom/index.html?inline=nyt-geo)’s media regulatory agency, Ofcom, said it was “closely monitoring the situation.”
A decision had been expected by July 19, after the end of the public comment period on Friday and before Parliament breaks. But Britain’s Culture Ministry has been inundated with comments on the deal, according to news reports, and the review may not be finished until after Parliament breaks July 19, potentially pushing back any decision until September.

Prime Minister David Cameron (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/c/david_cameron/index.html?inline=nyt-per), whose Conservative Party benefits from Mr. Murdoch’s support, stopped short of calling for an immediate investigation into behavior by The News of the World and other tabloids. Such an inquiry would have to wait, he said, until the police had concluded their own criminal investigation.

Unease about the phone hacking tactics of some reporters has been stirring for months, but the public mood turned to shock and revulsion this week after The Guardian reported that the targets of the voice mail interception — originally presumed to be restricted to the famous — included the phone of Milly Dowler, a 13-year-old schoolgirl abducted and murdered in 2002. Then, new reports said the families of people killed in the July 7, 2005, bombings in the London transit system had also been listened to without their knowledge or permission.

The current head of News Corp. (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/business/companies/news_corporation/index.html?inline=nyt-org) in Britain, Rebekah Brooks, has come under enormous scrutiny, since she was the editor of News of the World during the Dowler case. On Wednesday, a Labour member of Parliament made another startling assertion: that while Ms. Brooks was the News of the World editor, she was confronted with evidence that the paper was using unlawful means to interrupt a murder investigation whose two main suspects had ties to the paper.

The member, Tom Watson, said that senior Scotland Yard officials met with Ms. Brooks in 2002 to alert her of evidence that members of her staff were “guilty of interference and party to using unlawful means to attempt to discredit a police officer and his wife,” so that the officer would be unable to complete a murder investigation. Mr. Watson said the police officials named a senior News of the World executive, Alex Muranchak.

On Thursday, The Guardian reported that Mr. Muranchak had apparently agreed to allow the two murder suspects in the case to use photographers and vans leased to the paper to spy on Detective Chief Superintendent David Cook, the lead detective.
The two men, private investigators named Jonathan Rees and Sid Fillery, were suspected of murdering their former partner, Daniel Morgan, who had been killed 15 years earlier. Their targeting of Mr. Cook included following him, his wife, and their children, trying to access his and his wife’s voice mail and obtaining personal details about him from police databases.

Those details were found in the notes of Glenn Mulcaire, an investigator working for The News of World whose notebooks were seized by the police and have formed the basis for much of the current criminal investigation into phone hacking.

The Guardian reported that Scotland Yard took no action against The News of the World in the case, because its head of media relations, Dick Fedorcio, had a good relationship with Ms. Brooks and wanted “to avoid unnecessary friction with The News of the World.”

On Thursday, after The Daily Telegraph said a private detective working for The News of the World may have hacked into the phones of bereaved families after they were informed of the death of relatives serving with the British Army in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Royal British Legion, a veterans’ organization, said that it had dropped the newspaper as its partner in a campaign for improved service conditions. The group said that “bereaved military families expressed revulsion at the latest phone hacking revelations.”

“We can’t with any conscience campaign alongside News of the World on behalf of Armed Forces families while it stands accused of preying on these same families in the lowest depths of their misery,” the group said on its Web site. “The hacking allegations have shocked us to the core.”
In a statement, a spokesman for News International, which runs the News Corporation’s British newspaper operations, said its “record as a friend of the armed services and of our servicemen and servicewomen is impeccable.”

“If these allegations are true, we are absolutely appalled and horrified,” the spokesman said.
The Times of London, itself a News Corporation newspaper, said five journalists and the newspaper executives suspected of involvement in the scandal were expected to be arrested within days.

The furor is all the more remarkable since the News Corporation, with its ownership of four leading British newspapers, was once widely seen as such a powerful force that politicians and police officers walked in fear of it, fearing its disclosures and courting its support.

But, on Wednesday, from all sides of the House of Commons, the disgust came thick and fast as the legislators recited the most recent allegations against The News of the World: that its executives had paid police officers, lied to Parliament, hired investigators to intercept voice mail messages left on the cellphones of murdered children and terrorism victims, and, in one instance, tampered with a murder investigation in which the suspects were linked to The News of the World. Legislators also attacked the tabloid news media in general for employing similar tactics.

“We have let one man have far too great a sway over our national life,” said Chris Bryant, a Labour member of Parliament. In addition to The News of the World, Mr. Murdoch’s media holdings include The Times and The Sunday Times of London; The Sun; and a large stake in BSkyB, as it is called, as well as several other international newspapers and television networks.

Zac Goldsmith, another Conservative legislator, said that Mr. Murdoch was guilty of “systemic abuse of almost unprecedented power” and that he had run roughshod over Parliament.

“There is nothing noble in what these newspapers have been doing,” he said. “Rupert Murdoch (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/m/rupert_murdoch/index.html?inline=nyt-per) is clearly a very, very talented businessman — he’s possibly even a genius — but his organization has grown too powerful and has abused that power. It has systematically corrupted the police and in my view has gelded this Parliament, to our shame.”

A number of legislators, including Nicholas Soames, a Conservative, said Wednesday that in light of the recent developments, the government should intervene to delay or even stop Mr. Murdoch’s plan to acquire all the shares of BSkyB.

Before this week, the deal had passed virtually every government hurdle. But Ofcom, the media regulator, said in a statement that it was watching developments in the case, “and in particular the investigations by the relevant authorities into the alleged unlawful activities.”
Many legislators also focused their outrage on Rebekah Brooks, a former News of the World editor who is now News International’s chief executive and a protégée of Mr. Murdoch. She is a close friend of Mr. Cameron’s — the two have country houses near each other and have often socialized — and has been a strong champion of his premiership.

Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, said flatly that Ms. Brooks should resign.

But Ms. Brooks said she would stay put, and on Wednesday her boss, Mr. Murdoch, took the unusual step of issuing a statement on the matter.
Calling the recent allegations involving phone hacking and paying off the police “deplorable and unacceptable,” Mr. Murdoch pledged that the company would “fully and proactively cooperate with the police in all investigations.” He added: “That is exactly what News International has been doing and will continue to do under Rebekah Brooks’s leadership.”

He said that Joel I. Klein (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/k/joel_i_klein/index.html?inline=nyt-per), the former New York City schools chancellor and current head of the News Corporation’s education unit, would “provide important oversight and guidance” in the company’s response to the investigations.

In a separate development, news reports this week indicated that Andy Coulson, editor of The News of the World in the mid-2000s, appeared to have authorized illegal payments to police officers during his time at the paper. News International has confirmed that the information is contained in e-mails it has disclosed to the police.

A person with knowledge of the matter said that it appeared that other senior News of the World journalists were also involved, but that Ms. Brooks was not among them.

The disclosure is relevant because of Mr. Coulson’s close ties to the Conservative Party. After resigning from The News of the World in 2007 after an earlier phone hacking investigation, Mr. Coulson was quickly hired by Mr. Cameron as the Conservative Party’s chief spokesman. The move gave Mr. Cameron an in with Britain’s tabloids, and cemented his ties to Mr. Murdoch’s empire.

Mr. Coulson’s canny approach helped Mr. Cameron get elected last year, and he was installed as the government’s chief spokesman. But in January he resigned from that job, too, when it became clear that phone hacking had been routine when he was The News of the World’s editor. Mr. Coulson has always denied knowing about hacking; these new disclosures are the first to link him directly to any wrongdoing. In Parliament, Mr. Miliband, the Labour leader, assailed Mr. Cameron for a “catastrophic error of judgment by bringing Andy Coulson into the heart of his Downing Street machine.”

eddhead
July 7th, 2011, 12:21 PM
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/07/07/501364/main20077553.shtml?tag=re1.latest

CBS/AP) Updated at 12:09 p.m. ET
LONDON - News International says it is shutting down the News of the World tabloid that is at the center of Britain's phone hacking scandal.
James Murdoch, who heads the newspaper's European operations, says the 168-year-old newspaper will publish its last edition Sunday. The scandal has cost the paper prestige and prompted dozens of companies to pull their ads.

The Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid is accused of hacking into the cell phone messages of victims ranging from missing schoolgirls to grieving families, celebrities, royals and politicians in a quest for attention-grabbing headlines.

Report: Slain UK troops' family phones hacked (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/07/07/world/main20077440.shtml)
Princess Diana inquest lawyer possibly hacked (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/07/07/world/main20077460.shtml)
Hugh Grant asked to testify on hacking
(http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-31749_162-20077280-10391698.html)

"The News of the World is in the business of holding others to account. But it failed when it
came to itself," James Murdoch said in a statement released by the newspaper.

Police say they are examining 4,000 names of people who may have been targeted by the paper.

The Sunday-only newspaper has acknowledged that it hacked into the phones of politicians, celebrities and royal aides, but in recent days the allegations have expanded to take in the phones of missing children, the relatives of terrorist victims and families of soldiers killed in Afghanistan.

UK's Cameron demands new phone hacking inquiry (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/07/06/501364/main20077131.shtml)
"7/7" victims' families may have been hacked too (http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503543_162-20077044-503543.html)
UK tabloid accused of hacking dead girl's phone
(http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/07/05/world/main20076780.shtml)

James Murdoch said if the allegations were true, "it was inhuman and has no place in our company."

"Wrongdoers turned a good newsroom bad," he said, "and this was not fully understood or adequately pursued."

ZippyTheChimp
July 7th, 2011, 12:44 PM
So this isn't an isolated case; more standard operating procedure.

Ninjahedge
July 7th, 2011, 12:57 PM
Makes you wonder, if this was SOP, were they the only ones doing it, or the only ones to be caught?

Incredibly stupid on their part to delete the messages. If they just did not get so greedy they might still be around......

eddhead
July 7th, 2011, 01:17 PM
@Zippy - I don't know that it was commonplace, but it certainly does not appear to have been done on an exception basis. Maybe I am naive, but I find this absolutely appalling.

@ NH - They deleted the messages to prevent other media companies from hacking into the same data. Incredible.

Ninjahedge
July 7th, 2011, 01:59 PM
Well, that makes more (diabolical) sense.

I thought they were just doing it to see if anything new came in (isn't that what one of the articles says? The mailbox was full so they deleted somt to make room?)

eddhead
July 7th, 2011, 02:32 PM
^ Yes it does. There is a another artcle that I cannot locate at the moment that indicates messages were deleted in order to prevent the competition from getting access to information.

eddhead
July 12th, 2011, 10:20 AM
This story seems to be getting legs


http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/13/world/europe/13hacking.html?hp=&pagewanted=print

Gordon Brown Says Newspaper Hired ‘Known Criminals’By JOHN F. BURNS (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/b/john_f_burns/index.html?inline=nyt-per), JO BECKER (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/b/jo_becker/index.html?inline=nyt-per) and ALAN COWELL (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/c/alan_cowell/index.html?inline=nyt-per)LONDON — Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/b/gordon_brown/index.html?inline=nyt-per) brought new and alarming charges on Tuesday to the broadening scandal enveloping Rupert Murdoch (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/m/rupert_murdoch/index.html?inline=nyt-per)’s media empire in Britain, accusing one of the most prestigious newspapers in the group of employing “known criminals” to gather personal information on his bank account, legal files and tax affairs.

The claims came a day after the crisis deepened with reports that two Murdoch newspapers may have bribed police officers or used other potentially illegal methods to obtain information about Queen Elizabeth II as well as Mr. Brown.

At the same time, two former journalists for The News of the World — the newspaper at the epicenter of the scandal, which the Murdoch family closed last weekend — said that police officers had been bribed to use restricted cellphone-tracking technology to pinpoint the location of people sought by the papers in their pursuit of scoops.

Since flying to Britain over the weekend, Mr. Murdoch has assumed command of damage control efforts at his London headquarters amid a torrent of new revelations, including reports that newsroom malpractice extended far beyond The News of the World to two other newspapers in his British stable — The Sunday Times, an upmarket broadsheet, and The Sun, the country’s highest-selling daily tabloid.

On Tuesday, Mr. Brown accused The Sunday Times — owned by News International, the British subsidiary of Mr. Murdoch’s News Corporation — of employing “known criminals” to gather personal information on his bank account, legal files and “other files — documentation, tax and everything else.”

“I think that what happened pretty early on in government is that the Sunday Times appear to have got access to my building society account, they got access to my legal files, there is some question mark about what happened to other files — documentation, tax and everything else,” Mr. Brown, who was Britain’s Labour prime minister from 2007 to 2010 after serving for a decade as chancellor of the Exchequer, told the BBC on Tuesday.

“I’m shocked, I’m genuinely shocked, to find that this happened because of their links with criminals, known criminals, who were undertaking this activity, hired by investigators working with the Sunday Times,” Mr. Brown said.

Mr. Brown added: “I just can’t understand this — if I, with all the protection and all the defenses and all the security that a chancellor of the Exchequer or a prime minister has, am so vulnerable to unscrupulous tactics, unlawful tactics, methods that have been used in the way we have found, what about the ordinary citizen?”

The Guardian newspaper reported earlier that Mr. Brown’s bank, Abbey National, alerted him that someone acting for The Sunday Times had posed in his name — a practice commonly referred to as identity theft, or blagging — to obtain details of his account six times in 2000, when he was chancellor. The BBC said that the effort was made as part of an inquiry by the paper into allegations that Mr. Brown had bought a property in his native Scotland at below-market value, something Mr. Brown has strongly denied.

But the most damaging aspect of the affair involving Mr. Brown related to his son Fraser, now five years old, who suffers from cystic fibrosis. Mr. Brown told the BBC on Tuesday that he had never publicly discussed his son’s medical condition. But a person close to Mr. Brown said on Monday he believed that The Sun gained access to his son’s medical records for an article about his illness that ran in November 2006, four months after the boy’s birth.

Mr. Brown said on Tuesday that he and his wife Sarah were “in tears” when they learned that details of the health issue were going to appear in the newspaper.

The BBC, quoting its sources, said the information about the boy’s condition had been obtained first by The Sunday Times, and passed to The Sun. Mr. Brown said that Rebekah Brooks (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/b/rebekah_brooks/index.html?inline=nyt-per), then The Sun’s editor and now News International’s chief executive, called him to tell them that the tabloid knew of the boy’s condition, which they had believed was something known only to themselves and medical professionals who were caring for their son.

In a statement, News International said it noted the allegations about Mr. Brown, adding: “So that we can investigate these matters further, we ask that all information concerning these allegations is provided to us,” Britain’s Press Association news agency reported. The statement said The Sun was satisfied that its story about the boy’s cystic fibrosis had been obtained legitimately.

But Mr. Brown said: “They will have to explain themselves. I can’t think of any way that the medical condition of a child can be put into the public arena legitimately unless the doctor makes a statement or the family makes a statement.”

A person close to Mr. Brown said that the former prime minister asked Scotland Yard last year whether his personal details were among the 11,000 pages of notes seized from Glenn Mulcaire, a private investigator working for The News of the World who was jailed in 2007 for hacking the phones of the royal household. Scotland Yard confirmed that, the source said.

Phone hacking and other illegal or unethical methods have also been common at many British newspapers that are not Murdoch-owned. But the focus for now is on the Murdoch empire, which confronted what many have called an existential threat on Monday by revising its attempted $12 billion takeover for Britain’s most lucrative satellite television company, British Sky Broadcasting, in ways that appeared to delay the bid for at least six months.

Many commentators in Britain said Mr. Murdoch appeared to be playing for time, in the hope that public and political anger over the current scandal will abate, making room for politicians and regulators to judge the takeover on its business merits, and not on the basis of retribution for the hacking scandal.

The revelations about the intrusive activities directed at the queen and Mr. Brown have seized the headlines, driving home the realization that nobody, not even the most powerful and protected people in the land, had been beyond the reach of news organizations caught up in a relentless battle for lurid headlines and mass circulation.

A wide segment of British society, from celebrities to ordinary families wrestling with personal tragedies, has been shown to be potentially vulnerable to the newspapers’ use of cellphone-hacking, identity theft, tracking technology and police bribery — perhaps even clandestine property break-ins, if some reports circulating in recent days are true.

The BBC and The Guardian, in their Monday reports, cited internal e-mails from a News of the World archive in which requests were made for about $1,600 to pay a royal protection officer — one of several hundred Scotland Yard officers eligible to serve in the palace security detail — for classified information about the queen, Prince Charles and other senior members of the royal family in what a Scotland Yard official described as a major security breach. The Guardian article said two officers on the royal detail were involved and that the e-mails from an archive assembled by The News of the World were exchanged by a senior executive and a reporter, neither of whom it identified.

The accounts said the money was used to obtain a copy of a contact book used by the royal protection service — a volume known as the Green Book, according to the BBC — that contained information about the queen, Prince Charles, other senior royals and their friends and contacts. A report in The Evening Standard newspaper said the information included “phone numbers, and tips about the movements and activities” of the queen and her husband, Prince Philip. The BBC said the book also gave details of friends of the royal couple, their palace staff and other regular royal contacts. A Guardian report said the police had informed the palace that the cellphones of Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, may have also been hacked.

The BBC also reported that an e-mail requesting approval for the money to buy the contacts book was written by Clive Goodman, The News of the World’s royal correspondent, who served a four-month jail term in 2007 for his role in an earlier hacking case. The request for funds was addressed to Andy Coulson, a former editor of The News of the World and senior aide to Prime Minister David Cameron. Mr. Coulson was questioned by police for nine hours on the hacking allegation and other alleged abuses after he was arrested last Friday. He was released on bail.

Prime Minister Cameron said on Monday that he was outraged by the diversion of the contact book, describing the alleged police involvement in the palace intrusion as “a dereliction of duty” and adding, “We need to get to the bottom of that if it is true.”

Separately, an inquiry by The New York Times, which included interviews with two former journalists at The News of the World, has revealed the workings of the illicit cellphone tracking, which the former tabloid staffers said was known in the newsroom as “pinging.” Under British law, the technology involved is restricted to law enforcement and security officials, requires case-by-case authorization, and is used mainly for high-profile criminal cases and terrorism investigations, according to a former senior Scotland Yard official who requested anonymity so as to be able to speak candidly.

According to Oliver Crofton, a cybersecurity specialist who works to protect high-profile clients from such invasive tactics, cellphones are constantly pinging off relay towers as they search for a network, enabling an individual’s location to be located within yards by checking the strength of the signal at three different towers. But the former Scotland Yard official who discussed the matter said that any officer who agreed to use the technique to assist a newspaper would be crossing a red line.

“That would be a massive breach,” he said.

A former show business reporter for The News of the World, Sean Hoare, who was fired in 2005, said that when he worked there, pinging cost the paper nearly $500 on each occasion. He first found out how the practice worked, he said, when he was scrambling to find someone and was told that one of the news desk editors, Greg Miskiw, could help. Mr. Miskiw asked for the person’s cellphone number, and returned later with information showing the person’s precise location in Scotland, Mr. Hoare said. Mr. Miskiw, who faces questioning by police on a separate matter, did not return calls for comment.

John F. Burns and Jo Becker reported from London and Alan Cowell from Paris. Ravi Somaiya, Don van Natta and Graham Bowley contributed reporting from London.

ZippyTheChimp
July 12th, 2011, 10:39 AM
Please let this spread here.

eddhead
July 12th, 2011, 02:18 PM
I am curious about weather other Murdoch papers hack, and if so what impact this might have on his empire.

MidtownGuy
July 17th, 2011, 08:02 PM
Rebekah looks like a crazy woman in every photo.

eddhead
July 18th, 2011, 11:00 AM
^^ She is now under arrest

ZippyTheChimp
July 18th, 2011, 11:44 AM
Please let this spread here.



AP source: FBI reviews News Corp. 9/11 phone claim

The FBI has begun a preliminary inquiry based on concerns in Congress over a report that media mogul Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. sought to hack into the phones of Sept. 11 victims, a law enforcement official said Thursday.

By TOM HAYS
Associated Press


The FBI has begun a preliminary inquiry based on concerns in Congress over a report that media mogul Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. sought to hack into the phones of Sept. 11 victims, a law enforcement official said Thursday.

The decision to step in was made after U.S. Rep. Peter King and several other members of Congress wrote to FBI Director Robert Mueller demanding an investigation, said the official, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the official wasn't authorized to speak publicly.

The official stressed that the review was in its infancy but declined to discuss the scope of it or say what steps had been taken. The FBI routinely makes preliminary inquiries into issues raised by lawmakers and others to determine whether a full-blown investigation is needed.

On Friday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder confirmed the early stages of an inquiry into the allegations that first surfaced in the U.K.

"There have been members of Congress in the United States who have asked us to investigate those same allegations and we are progressing in that regard using the appropriate criminal law enforcement agencies in the United States," Holder said at a press conference in Australia while attending a meeting of the Attorneys-General of the U.S., United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand and Australia.

News Corp., based in New York, has been in crisis mode because of a scandal that sank its U.K. newspaper the News of the World.

A rival newspaper reported last week that the News of the World had hacked into the phone of U.K. teenage murder victim Milly Dowler in 2002 and may have impeded a police investigation into her disappearance. More possible victims soon emerged: other child murder victims, 2005 London bombing victims, the families of dead soldiers and former Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

The suggestion that Sept. 11 victims also may have been were targeted surfaced Monday in the Mirror, a British competitor of News Corp.'s The Sun. The newspaper quoted an anonymous source as saying an unidentified American investigator had rejected approaches from unidentified journalists who showed a particular interest in British victims.

British Prime Minister David Cameron vowed Wednesday that the claim would be investigated there.

U.S. Department of Justice spokeswoman Laura Sweeney said Thursday that the department "does not comment specifically on investigations, though anytime we see evidence of wrongdoing, we take appropriate action."

The FBI and the U.S. attorney's office in New York declined to comment.

King's letter had called for "an immediate investigation," saying it was an "urgent matter."

King, a Republican, said Thursday afternoon he had not officially been contacted by the FBI and said he wanted to reserve comment until he hears from the agency.

"If they do, I'd be gratified," he said in a brief telephone interview with the AP.

News Corp. executives are at risk of being found criminally or civilly liable for phone hacking that originated in Britain under the 1977 Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and they are at risk under federal wire-tapping and state privacy laws if it is found that U.S. citizens such as Sept. 11 victims were targeted, experts say.

But the experts doubt that such actions could jeopardize News Corp.'s U.S. newspaper holdings such as The Wall Street Journal or result in the revocation of the license it needs to own Fox TV stations in America.

"I think we're a long way from that," said Philip Raible, a partner at New York law firm Rayner Rowe LLP, which specializes in corporate law affecting media companies.

Murdoch said Thursday his media company will recover from any damage wrought by the phone-hacking and police bribery allegations.

Several relatives of Sept. 11 victims said they had not been contacted by the FBI about the inquiry. Some asked what the motivation for any hacking could have been.

Little new information would have come to light from hearing victims' last phone calls, they said.

"It doesn't make sense," said Rosemary Cain, of Massapequa, N.Y., whose firefighter son George Cain was killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. "We're all average people, we've all suffered a loss, we're all trying to put one foot in front of the other. Why they would think there was anything interesting in hacking into anyone's phone, I don't know."

Michael Burke, of the Bronx, whose brother William F. Burke Jr. was a fire department captain, said he was "befuddled" by the report.

"If it did happen it's bizarre and depraved and they should investigate it thoroughly," he said.

On Thursday, Murdoch caved in to pressure from Britain's Parliament as he and his son James first refused, then agreed, to appear next week before lawmakers investigating phone hacking and bribery by employees of their newspaper empire.

Murdoch began his media career in Australia in 1952 after inheriting The News newspaper after the death of his father, and he has built News Corp. into one of the world's biggest media groups. Assets include Fox News, the 20th Century Fox movie studio, The Wall Street Journal, the New York Post and three newspapers in Britain - down from four with the death of the News of the World.

Also Thursday, Scotland Yard said it had made its seventh arrest related to the inquiry into phone hacking at the now-defunct tabloid, whose closure was a doomed effort to keep alive a bid for the highly profitable network British Sky Broadcasting. Police didn't disclose the name of the arrested man.

Copyright © 2011 The Seattle Times Company




Bancroft Family Members Express Regrets at Selling Wall Street Journal to Murdoch

by Richard Tofel
ProPublica, July 13, 2011, 3:30 p.m.

A number of key members of the family which controlled The Wall Street Journal say they would not have agreed to sell the prestigious daily to Rupert Murdoch if they had been aware of News International's conduct in the phone-hacking scandal at the time of the deal.

"If I had known what I know now, I would have pushed harder against" the Murdoch bid, said Christopher Bancroft, a member of the family which controlled Dow Jones & Company, publishers of The Wall Street Journal. Bancroft said the breadth of allegations now on the public record "would have been more problematic for me. I probably would have held out." Bancroft had sole voting control of a trust that represented 13 percent of Dow Jones shares in 2007 and served on the Dow Jones Board.

Lisa Steele, another family member on the Board, said that "it would have been harder, if not impossible," to have accepted Murdoch's bid had the facts been known. "It's complicated," Steele said, and "there were so many factors" in weighing a sale. But she said "the ethics are clear to me -- what's been revealed, from what I've read in the Journal, is terrible; it may even be criminal."

Elisabeth Goth, a Bancroft family member not on the Board who had long advocated change at Dow Jones, expressed similar sentiments. Asked if she would have favored a sale to Murdoch in 2007 knowing what she does today, she said, "my answer is no."

The comments by family members in interviews with ProPublica came as the crisis engulfing Murdoch's News Corporation threatened to spread to the U.S. with two senators calling for an investigation into whether the company broke U.S. laws over the phone hacking scandal.

Asked for his reaction to a report in the Guardian that Les Hinton, Murdoch's appointee as Dow Jones CEO and Journal publisher, may have testified untruthfully to a parliamentary committee, Christopher Bancroft replied that if the report proves accurate, Hinton "probably ought be moved aside, but that's not my business anymore."

News Corporation's deal to buy the Journal was sealed in August 2007, six months after the royal editor of the News of the World, Clive Goodman, was jailed for using a private detective to access voicemails left for members of the royal household.

But News International insisted that hacking was a problem confined to a single "rogue reporter" at the paper. It was not until July 2009 that the Guardian revealed the practice was more widespread and that Murdoch had secretly paid out more than £1m to settle cases brought by other hacking victims.

The Wall Street Journal is the top-selling daily newspaper in the United States and a brand with global prominence. Founded in 1889, it long dominated American business publishing, becoming the country's first national newspaper. It routinely ranked in surveys as America's most trusted print publication.

The Bancroft family owned Dow Jones since 1902 and controlled it as a publicly traded company since 1963. Murdoch's bid was economically attractive. He offered $60 a share, a 67 percent premium, $2.25 billion over the market price the day his offer was announced, at a time when newspaper share prices had been flagging for more than two years. Within 14 months after the deal closed, in early 2009, News Corp. had to write down the value of its $5.6 billion purchase by $2.8 billion.

The sale was contentious. Family members questioned Murdoch's journalistic practices and insisted on appointment of an independent panel to help safeguard the paper's ethics. And there was plenty of negative press in the U.S. about Murdoch at the time of the deal in 2007, although nothing to compare with the recent revelations.

Michael Elefante, a partner at Boston law firm Hemenway & Barnes, longtime counsel to the family, trustee of numerous trusts and also then a member of the Dow Jones Board, did not return messages seeking comment. The fourth family representative on the Dow Jones Board, Leslie Hill, consistently opposed the Murdoch bid, and resigned from the Board in protest just before the deal was completed. (Hill has been a donor to ProPublica.)

Not all members of the Bancroft family believe the revelations would have changed the outcome. Bill Cox III, long allied with Goth within the family in seeking alternatives to management by Dow Jones, said in an interview that he "probably would have thought twice about it but probably would have sold."

Cox said he is "happy about the price we got" for Dow Jones. "I'm pretty happy being out of the newspaper business altogether." Asked if he would have accepted a lower price from another bidder given the phone hacking, he said, "I think $60 was the right price."

Cox did say, however, that he had been following the story closely in the Australian media during a trip there and that he is very concerned about what he has learned recently about the Journal's new owners.

"Reading all this makes me sick to my stomach," he said. In a subsequent email, he went even further: Rupert Murdoch, he wrote, "thinks he is completely above the law as he always has." Cox added, "We did a deal with the devil and it really saddens me [that] the editorial of this quasi public trust that has been on the vanguard of world journalism for years is not in good hands. That I am really struggling with."


Disclosure note: The author of this story was a longtime Dow Jones executive, before leaving the company in 2004, and wrote a book about former Wall Street Journal editor and Dow Jones CEO Barney Kilgore, which was published in 2009.

© Copyright 2011 Pro Publica Inc.

lofter1
July 18th, 2011, 11:49 AM
Fingers are crossed that Fox News takes a hit.

eddhead
July 18th, 2011, 12:14 PM
That would be awesome. RIght now, they are completely ignoring the story


Moving on. And fast. Time to curse Fox News (http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/fox-news) for not covering News of the World. "Fox News loves a good scandal, but when it involves their parent company, not so much," said Kurtz.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/jul/18/fox-news-rupert-murdoch-sunday-talk-shows

eddhead
July 18th, 2011, 12:50 PM
The Daily Beast reports that a different kind of scandal may be unfolding at the post...

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/07/13/rupert-murdoch-s-other-tabloid-scandal-at-the-new-york-post.print.html

The media mogul is under fire over the London phone-hacking scandal, but here in America his New York Post has struggled with allegations that it rewarded friends and punished enemies. Howard Kurtz reports.
by Howard Kurtz (http://wirednewyork.com/contributors/howard-kurtz.html)| July 13, 2011 10:19 AM EDT

Ian Spiegelman remembers how the culture of Rupert Murdoch (http://wirednewyork.com/articles/2011/07/12/rupert-murdoch-will-he-be-arrested-for-news-of-the-world-hacking-scandal.html)’s New York Post (http://www.newsweek.com/2011/07/10/murdoch-s-watergate.html) made him “pretty uncomfortable.”

"There were people you were not supposed to mess with,” says the former reporter for the gossipy Page Six (http://www.newsweek.com/2011/07/10/murdoch-s-watergate.html), if they were “friends” of executives at the Post or its parent company, News Corp. At the same time, “word would come down through your editor, ‘This is someone we should get, should go after.’ The people high up had people they just didn’t like.”


Amid the mounting revelations of sleazy tactics at Murdoch’s London newspapers, media analysts are questioning whether comparable misconduct may have occurred at his American news outlets. There is no evidence of anything like the phone-hacking scandal that has rocked British politics and prompted Murdoch to shutter the News of the World (http://wirednewyork.com/articles/2011/07/07/news-of-the-world-closure-and-the-ethical-limits-of-tabloid-journalism.html).


But a scandal that tarnished the Post five years ago carries echoes of a brass-knuckled style of journalism that resonates a bit louder today in the wake of the Murdoch mess (http://wirednewyork.com/articles/2011/07/07/rupert-murdoch-scandal-business-debacle-as-coulson-faces-arrest.html) across the Atlantic.

“ The Post scandal carries echoes of a brass-knuckled style of journalism that resonates a bit louder today.

scumonkey
July 19th, 2011, 02:26 PM
Rupert Murdoch testifies in phone hacking, is attacked

Reporting from London —
Calling it the "most humble day of my life," media baron Rupert Murdoch (http://www.latimes.com/topic/economy-business-finance/media-industry/rupert-murdoch-PEHST001424.topic) appeared before British lawmakers Tuesday to answer questions about a phone-hacking scandal that has badly tarnished his and his company's reputation.

The session was interrupted after 2 1/2 hours when a man ran up to Murdoch and apparently tried to fling something onto him, possibly shaving cream, causing Murdoch's wife, Wendi, to jump up to defend her husband while one of the lawmakers rose in alarm.

The young man was quickly arrested, handcuffed and bundled out of the committee room, with a white substance on his face and shirt. Murdoch, who also had some white substance on the right shoulder of his jacket, seemed to be unharmed.

Earlier, looking somber and sitting alongside his son James, who was also called to give evidence, Murdoch apologized for wrongdoing at the now-defunct News of the World (http://www.latimes.com/topic/services-shopping/books-magazines/news-of-the-world-PRDPER000016.topic) tabloid and said: "We had broken our trust with our readers."

full story:
http://www.latimes.com/news/la-fg-britain-murdoch-testify-20110720,0,7952976.story

MidtownGuy
July 20th, 2011, 09:53 AM
shaving cream? weren't there any little statues available?

and how about that Wendi! showing ninja-like Asian reflexes to defend her wrinkled old moneybag.

Ninjahedge
July 20th, 2011, 12:30 PM
I wondered about that, she is a little protective of Daddy Warbucks there....

As for Rupert, I have no doubt they will find he knew nothing directly about all these wiretaps. He probably did not tell anyone to do this, but I also know that if he knew, he would not be one to tell them to stop (Unless, of course, OTHERS knew he knew, and could prove it).

The big guys are rarely the ones that give the individual orders. He is only concerned with the bottom line.

lofter1
July 20th, 2011, 01:13 PM
Did Rupert not know about the million$ in $ettlement$ (http://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-07-19/james-murdoch-to-face-questions-on-3-2-million-settlements.html) that his boy James & News Corpse guys have paid out in connection to hacking violations?

Ninjahedge
July 20th, 2011, 04:08 PM
Probably every penny of it, but he was strangely unaware of them doing it...again and again.

ZippyTheChimp
July 22nd, 2011, 09:22 AM
JULY 22, 2011


Justice Department Prepares Subpoenas in News Corp. Inquiry

By JESSICA E. VASCELLARO,DEVLIN BARRETT and DANA CIMILLUCA

The U.S. Justice Department is preparing subpoenas as part of preliminary investigations into News Corp. relating to alleged foreign bribery and alleged hacking of voicemail of Sept. 11 victims, according to a government official.

The issuance of such subpoenas, which would broadly seek relevant information from the company, requires approval by senior Justice Department leadership, which hasn't yet happened, the person said.

The issuance of subpoenas would represent an escalation of scrutiny on the New York-based media company. While the company has sought to isolate the legal problems in the U.K., it has been bracing for increased scrutiny from both the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission, according to people familiar with the company's strategy.

The Justice Department has said it is looking into allegations that News Corp.'s now-defunct News of the World weekly in the U.K. paid bribes to British police. It has been unclear whether the Justice Department or the SEC have begun formal probes.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation separately has begun an inquiry into whether News Corp. employees tried to hack into voice mails of Sept. 11 victims, people familiar with the early-stage probe have said.

A person close to News Corp. said the preparation of subpoenas is "a fishing expedition with no evidence to support it."

News Corp. owns The Wall Street Journal.

Commenting on the FBI inquiry, a News Corp. spokeswoman said: "We have not seen any evidence to suggest there was any hacking of 9/11 victim's phones, nor has anybody corroborated what are clearly very serious allegations. The story arose when an unidentified person speculated to the Daily Mirror about whether it happened. That paper printed the anonymous speculation, which has since mushroomed in the broader media with no substantiation."

The spokeswoman also said the company hasn't seen any "indication of a connection or similarity between the events, allegations and practices being investigated in the U.K. and News Corp's U.S. properties."

News Corp. and its recently bolstered legal team expect a possible broad investigation by the Justice Department into whether the alleged bribes paid to British police violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, or FCPA, according to the people familiar with the company's strategy. The law is typically used to pursue charges against companies that bribe foreign officials to give them business contracts.

News Corp.'s team also is anticipating a possible FCPA-related investigation by the SEC, the people said. The SEC also could examine News Corp.'s prior disclosures, one of the people said. By law, companies must adequately alert investors to potential litigation or business pitfalls on the horizon.

A spokesman for the SEC declined to comment.

The company's U.K. newspaper unit, News International, has declined to comment on the alleged bribes, citing an ongoing police investigation. Former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks said in testimony to Parliament Tuesday that she had "never knowingly sanctioned a payment to a police officer."

U.K. police are conducting two parallel investigations into News Corp.'s now-closed News of the World, which is at the heart of the British scandal. One is related to allegations of illegal voice-mail interception and was opened in January; the other stems from allegations of police bribery. In addition, the company is facing a raft of civil suits. The U.K. government, meanwhile, plans at least two public inquiries.

For the Justice Department and the SEC to pursue News Corp. in the U.S. for allegedly bribing British policemen, the agencies would have to rely on a broad interpretation of the FCPA, legal experts say.

Another possible infraction investigators could examine: whether any payments were improperly accounted for in the company's books and records.

In recent days, News Corp. has hired an expert in the FCPA, Mark Mendelsohn, to advise it, according to people familiar with the matter.

Mr. Mendelsohn, a partner in the Washington office of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, couldn't be reached for comment.
—Vanessa O'Connell, Thomas Catan and Russell Adams contributed to this article.

Copyright 2011 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

eddhead
July 22nd, 2011, 10:05 AM
Not to jump on Lofter's bandwagon, but PLEASE let this spread to the US

lofter1
July 22nd, 2011, 10:25 AM
All Aboooaaard!!

ZippyTheChimp
July 22nd, 2011, 10:27 AM
Not to jump on Lofter's bandwagon, but PLEASE let this spread to the US
Now just wait a minute.


Please let this spread here.

eddhead
July 22nd, 2011, 10:57 AM
oops....!:o mea culpa.

but than again, this works too.

Fingers are crossed that Fox News takes a hit.

lofter1
July 22nd, 2011, 11:14 AM
aka the ZipTrain ...

ZippyTheChimp
July 22nd, 2011, 11:44 AM
I thought there might be more to the hacking story when Murdoch quickly folded a 168 year old newspaper.

Ninjahedge
July 22nd, 2011, 12:52 PM
A person close to News Corp. said the preparation of subpoenas is "a fishing expedition with no evidence to support it."

Notice that the "person close" did not say "no fish".

eddhead
July 28th, 2011, 04:18 PM
This is beyond abhorent

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/29/world/europe/29hacking.html?hp=&pagewanted=print


“Forgive me if I sound cynical,” said one member of parliament, Tom Watson, who has led investigations into hacking, “but I don’t know where it is going to end.”

New Hacking Case Outrages BritainBy RAVI SOMAIYA and SARAH LYALL (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/l/sarah_lyall/index.html?inline=nyt-per)LONDON — Britain was awash in a new surge of outrage over the phone hacking scandal (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/n/news_of_the_world/index.html?inline=nyt-classifier) on Thursday, as news emerged that Scotland Yard had added to the list of probable victims a woman whose 8-year-old daughter was murdered by a repeat sex offender in 2000.

The tabloid at the center of the scandal, The News of the World (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/n/news_of_the_world/index.html?inline=nyt-org), had championed the campaign of the grieving mother, Sara Payne, for a law warning parents if child sex offenders lived nearby. Mrs. Payne, who was paralyzed by a stroke in recent years, had written warmly of the paper in its final edition, calling it “an old friend.”

A statement released on behalf of Mrs. Payne by the Phoenix Foundation, a children’s charity she founded, described her as devastated and disappointed. “Today is a very sad dark day for us,” the charity added in a posting on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Phoenix-Chief-Advocates/122082837865486?sk=wall). “Our faith in good people has taken a real battering.” The page noted that she was struggling in the wake of the July 1 anniversary of her daughter’s abduction.

British news channels, which had been growing weary of the scandal — into a fourth week of cascading revelations that have shaken the media, political elite and police — broke into their scheduled reports to report the allegations that Ms. Payne had been hacked.

“Forgive me if I sound cynical,” said one member of parliament, Tom Watson, who has led investigations into hacking, “but I don’t know where it is going to end.”

“The last edition of The News of the World made great play of the paper’s relationship with the Payne family,” he noted, saying, “I have nothing but contempt for the people that did this.”

The Guardian was the first to report Scotland Yard’s alert to Mrs. Payne, but the e-mail newsletter Popbitch (http://www.popbitch.com/home/) suggested earlier this month that Mrs. Payne’s voice mail had been hacked and that the phone in question may have been provided to her by the onetime editor of The News of the World, Rebekah Brooks, as part of the campaign for the law.

In a statement, Ms. Brooks confirmed that The News of the World had provided Mrs. Payne with a cellphone “for the last 11 years,” but that “it was not a personal gift.” She said she found the allegations that Mrs. Payne’s voice mail had been hacked “abhorrent and particularly upsetting as Sara Payne is a dear friend.”

When Ms. Brooks, who has been forced to step down from News International, the British arm of Rubert Murdoch’s News Corporation and owner of The News of the World, recently testified before Parliament, she cited the successful campaign for Mrs. Payne’s law as evidence of the good she had done at the tabloid’s helm. A spokeswoman for News International said the company had no immediate comment.

Scotland Yard officers told Mrs. Payne that her name was on a list of about 4,000 targets held by the private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, according to the Phoenix Foundation statement. Mr. Mulcaire, who was convicted on hacking charges related to the paper five years ago, had an exclusive contract with the tabloid.

The hacking scandal had been smoldering for years, but ignited in recent weeks following assertions that hacking on behalf of The News of the World had interfered with the investigation into the 2006 murder of a 13-year-old girl, Milly Dowler. The man eventually convicted of her killing committed two more murders before he was caught.

Also on Thursday, the British judge leading the inquiry into the scandal held a news conference in central London, saying that the panel planned to hold its first public hearings in September and that it would have the power to compel witnesses to testify.

The inquiry will be in two parts. The first will focus on press regulation and the relationship between the press and the public, said the judge, Lord Justice Leveson. The second, which will begin after the police investigation is finished, will focus on specific allegations of phone hacking and other journalistic malfeasance in the wake of the scandal, which has spread through British media but which has most strongly shaken Mr. Murdoch’s media empire.

Justice Leveson was appointed by Prime Minister David Cameron (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/c/david_cameron/index.html?inline=nyt-per) after it became clear that hacking at The News of the World extended not only to public figures like celebrities and politicians, but also to Milly Dowler and the families of those killed in terrorist attacks. Mr. Cameron, a Conservative, initially resisted setting up an immediate inquiry, but changed his mind in response to widespread public disgust and growing political pressure from the opposition Labour Party.

The judge said that the investigation would be broad. “The focus of the inquiry is the culture, practices and ethics of the press in the context of the latter’s relationship with the public, the police and politicians,” he said.

His goal, he added, would be to “consider what lessons, if any, may be learned from past events” and to make recommendations about how the press might be regulated in the future.

One of the issues the judge will consider is the coziness of the ties between politicians and the news media — particularly the relationship between lawmakers and editors and executives at News International.

In another sign of how far News International’s influence extends — or has extended, until now — in British public life, it emerged last week that Justice Leveson himself had attended two parties last year at the home of Elisabeth Murdoch, a daughter of Mr. Murdoch, and her husband, Matthew Freud, a powerful public-relations executive.

Justice Leveson said that because he and the rest of the inquiry panel — which includes former journalists and a former high-ranking police officer, among others — had been chosen “for our experience,” it was “inevitable” that “there are such contacts or links, and there should be no apology for this.”

He added, “Had I had the slightest doubt about my own position, I would not have accepted the appointment, and I also make it clear that I am satisfied that what the panelists have said creates no conflict of interest for them or me.”

Justice Leveson also said that the panel would convene seminars examining media ethics, the law and investigative journalism. He said that he hoped to make the inquiry as broad as possible and encompass broadcast journalists as well as those from the print media.

A spokesman for the panel said that witnesses would testify under oath.

“It may be tempting for a number of people to close ranks and suggest that the problem is or was local to a group of journalists then operating at The News of the World,” Justice Leveson said. “But I would encourage all to take a wider view of the public good and help me grapple with the width and depth of the problem.”