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Exclusive: Hacking cover-up scandal as police refuse to name 'blue-chip' companies who used corrupt private investigators

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Exclusive: Hacking cover-up scandal as police refuse to name 'blue-chip' companies who used corrupt private investigators

Post by Guest on 19.07.13 9:57

Exclusive: Hacking cover-up scandal as police refuse to name 'blue-chip' companies who used corrupt private investigators

TOM HARPER Friday 19th July 2013
 
The Serious Organised Crime Agency has refused to disclose the names of blue-chip companies who commissioned corrupt private investigators who broke the law because revealing them would damage the firms’ commercial interests, The Independent has learnt.

Sir Ian Andrews, the agency’s chairman, told Parliament that publishing the information could “substantially undermine the financial viability of major organisations by tainting them with public association with criminality”.

In an extraordinary letter to MPs, the former senior Ministry of Defence official said the evidence held for years by Soca, which was revealed last month by this newspaper, has now been “formally classified” because the information may breach the human rights of the law firms, insurance companies and wealthy individuals who hired corrupt private investigators.
The decision to protect the reputation of certain business sectors is in stark contrast to police action against the practice among newspapers.

The MP Keith Vaz, chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee, said he would be writing to every firm in the FTSE 100 and the top 100 legal firms to ask them to declare whether they have commissioned private investigators, and for what purpose.
He added: “Socahas indicated that it is prepared to give the client list to us in confidence. This has still not been received. It is a disappointment that this is yet another document the Committee has had to receive in secret from Soca.
“In view of the public interest, openness and transparency may be the only way that the public can be reassured that no one is above the law and [that] Soca have done all they can to address this issue.”
Sir Ian and Trevor Pearce, the director-general of Soca- dubbed “Britain’s FBI” - were summoned to appear before MPs after The Independent revealed the organisation knew six years ago that law firms, telecoms giants and insurance companies were hiring private investigators hack, blag and steal private information to further their commercial interests.
Much of the intelligence on the blue-chip industries’ employment of criminals - contained in a confidential 2008 Soca report codenamed “Project Riverside” - came from historic Metropolitan Police investigations. Yet almost nothing was done to disrupt the unlawful trade – or target the clients that fuelled the demand.

The Independent has been told the identities of several of the blue-chip clients contained in the material seized by Soca. They include a corporate giant, a celebrity who regularly broadcasts to millions of people, a well-known media personality and a wealthy businessman.
The Home Affairs Select Committee was angry that Soca withheld the full, unredacted version of Project Riverside during its inquiry into private investigators last year. After its existence was disclosed, Mr Vaz ordered Soca to reveal the list of clients who “hired private investigators to break the law”.

In a series of letters between Sir Ian, Mr Pearce and the Labour MP, published quietly on the parliamentary website, it emerged Mr Vaz made further demands for “all the information Soca holds on private investigators and their links with the police and private sector”.
In his reply, dated 12 July, Sir Ian wrote: “Given the lack of certainty over guilty knowledge on the part of [the] clients, and the impact that any publication might have on those named (recognising the requirement for public authorities to have respect for individuals’ private and family life under the Human Rights Act 1998), together with the possible prejudice which any publication might have on ongoing criminal investigations and future regulatory action, the list of…clients which Soca has created following your request has been formally classified.
He said: “The fact that they have been identified does not mean that they placed their instructions in the knowledge that the private investigators or their agents would act unlawfully.”
Later he added: “This reflects the fact that the information it contains, if published, might prejudice individual security or liberty, impede the investigation (or facilitate the commission) of serious crime or substantially undermine the financial viability of major organisations by tainting them with public association with criminality.”
One of the key hackers mentioned in Project Riverside has admitted that 80 per cent of his client list was taken up by law firms, wealthy individuals and insurance companies. Only 20 per cent was attributed to the media, which was investigated by the Leveson Inquiry after widespread public revulsion following the phone-hacking scandal.

Neil Wallis, the former deputy editor of News of the World, said: “This is completely outrageous. It’s one law for the rich, another for the not-so-rich who also happen to rattle the cages of the powerful on occasion.”

Scotland Yard revealed last week that the cost of the combined inquiries into newspapers - Elveden, Weeting and Tuleta - were expected to cost nearly £40 million up to their expected conclusion in April 2015.
Many at senior level at the official information watchdog are deeply frustrated by the police and Soca’s failure to tackle the blue-chip clients of criminal private investigators such as law firms and banks.

A senior source at the Information Commissioner’s office said: “It is market forces. If you don’t cut out the demand, it won’t stop. The City drives the corporate spooks but the big boys always escape. We should be saying to the clients that if you buy this information, the financial and reputational damage will be so great, it wouldn’t be worth doing it.”
In a sign of the gravity of the situation, it is understood Soca has launched a frantic hunt for leaks inside its organisation since The Independent revealed that it had sat on evidence of widespread blue-chip hacking for years. It is understood that staff have also been reminded of their obligations under the Official Secrets Act after The Independent published the story.

Q&A: Why Project Riverside matters
Q. What is Project Riverside?
A. It is the name of a review by the Serious Organised Crime Agency into investigations by both Scotland Yard and the Information Commissioner into the murky world of criminal private detectives between 2003 and 2007.
Q. Why is it so important?
A. The eight-page report shows detailed police knowledge of criminal PIs working for industries besides newspapers, such as law firms and insurance companies; yet almost all of them were never brought to justice.
Q. Why is it so sensitive?
A. It shows that police knew of widespread criminality among PIs throughout the period when the Met failed to take proper action against the News of the World. Project Riverside reveals some offenders placed eBlaster Trojans on victims’ computers, yet action was not taken against them.
Q. Why is Fleet Street so angry about it?
A. Project Riverside shows that other industries besides newspapers have engaged for years in the unlawful trade in personal information, yet none has been prosecuted for commissioning illegal acts.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/exclusive-hacking-coverup-scandal-as-police-refuse-to-name-bluechip-companies-who-used-corrupt-private-investigators-8718049.html

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Re: Exclusive: Hacking cover-up scandal as police refuse to name 'blue-chip' companies who used corrupt private investigators

Post by tigger on 19.07.13 18:54

Project Riverside shows that other industries besides newspapers have engaged for years in the unlawful trade in personal information, yet none has been prosecuted for commissioning illegal acts.

So, is Lord Leveson back from holiday yet? Job seems unfinished imo. I think the press might start their very own Hacked Off campaign. laughat 

Otherwise we're looking a a heavily biased investigation.

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Re: Exclusive: Hacking cover-up scandal as police refuse to name 'blue-chip' companies who used corrupt private investigators

Post by aquila on 19.07.13 19:31

Blue chip companies protected in case they were unaware of phone hacking.

Leveson Inquiry invites the McCanns who were not hacked to give evidence.

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Re: Exclusive: Hacking cover-up scandal as police refuse to name 'blue-chip' companies who used corrupt private investigators

Post by Guest on 19.07.13 20:02

@aquila wrote:Blue chip companies protected in case they were unaware of phone hacking.

Leveson Inquiry invites the McCanns who were not hacked to give evidence.
***
I know that that's been said. But I just simply cannot believe it. With all the hacking going on left, right and centre: WHY not them ...?

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Re: Exclusive: Hacking cover-up scandal as police refuse to name 'blue-chip' companies who used corrupt private investigators

Post by aquila on 19.07.13 20:19

Châtelaine wrote:
@aquila wrote:Blue chip companies protected in case they were unaware of phone hacking.

Leveson Inquiry invites the McCanns who were not hacked to give evidence.
***
I know that that's been said. But I just simply cannot believe it. With all the hacking going on left, right and centre: WHY not them ...?

That's the million dollar question. Didn't Clarence tell us they weren't (he surely wouldn't tell porkies).

There is a secret agenda for every inquiry.

It's like everything in the UK now, our establishment is rotten to the core.

There are so many inquiries going on that have absolutely no outcome. Then there is the damning of the findings of an inquiry and the subsequent inquiry into the inquiry with a few added tweaks.

The taxpayer funds the inquiry. The rich and powerful get richer and more powerful from the inquiry.

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Re: Exclusive: Hacking cover-up scandal as police refuse to name 'blue-chip' companies who used corrupt private investigators

Post by Guest on 20.07.13 12:17

I'd better log out before another thread gets locked.

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Re: Exclusive: Hacking cover-up scandal as police refuse to name 'blue-chip' companies who used corrupt private investigators

Post by tasprin on 25.07.13 11:10

Mail

Loved-up Leveson lawyer's bumpy ride

His love affair with a fellow Leveson inquiry lawyer has already brought David Sherborne some unwelcome attention.

Now the smooth barrister, who represented Hugh Grant and other celebrity victims of phone hacking, is facing another tricky situation.

It concerns a legal blunder that could prove costly for his latest client, bicycling former Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell.

Sherborne, 44, is representing Mitchell in a forthcoming libel action over the so-called Plebgate affair.

But even before the trial starts, Mitchell has been found to be in breach of court rules — due to an unfortunate technical mistake by his lawyers. They were late in supplying an estimate of their side’s costs.

This has led to a war of words in court with Sherborne asserting that his instructing solicitors missed the deadline and they, in turn, blaming his chambers for the delay.

The upshot is that even if Mitchell wins, his victory could be dwarfed by massive legal bills.

Watchdog the Bar Standards Board is still investigating a complaint against Sherborne and Carine Patry Hoskins, with whom he went on holiday to a Greek island while the Leveson Inquiry was being conducted.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2377493/Michael-Winner-leaves-shocking-trail-12m-debts.html#ixzz2a3BdWdKr

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Re: Exclusive: Hacking cover-up scandal as police refuse to name 'blue-chip' companies who used corrupt private investigators

Post by Guest on 26.07.13 8:35

20 law firms paid rogue detectives to steal personal data: MPs now think scandal is 'worse than phone hacking' by the Press

Lawyers were the biggest users of the shady private investigators behind the ‘secret’ phone-hacking scandal, the Mail can reveal.
As many as 20 law firms and individual lawyers are thought to appear on a confidential list of 102 clients using private detectives who hacked phones, blagged personal data and stole information.
The scale of the criminal intrusion is such that MPs now believe the scandal is ‘worse than phone hacking’ by newspapers.
They also fear that those on the list drawn up by Soca, the Serious Organised Crime Agency, represent just the ‘tip of the iceberg’ and many more banks, drug firms and users of private agents are yet to be exposed.
Last night Soca bosses were under pressure to publish the dossier and faced new questions about what else they know.
The list was drawn up from intelligence garnered from just one investigation, and MPs suspect Soca may hold further details of allegations against other blue-chip corporations.
Soca insisted that the list was classified as ‘confidential’ before handing it over to the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee this week.

Keith Vaz, the committee’s chairman, has asked Soca director general Trevor Pearce why the list is being censored and hinted strongly that the committee may publish it anyway in the public interest.
In a letter to Mr Pearce, he wrote: ‘You must be aware that the companies and individuals detailed as part of your investigation impact on people’s everyday lives and, therefore, there is a legitimate public interest in who made, and on what grounds, the decision to withhold.’
Mr Vaz also asked ‘on whose authority, and with what reasoning, this information has been classified as confidential’ and whether those on the list knew they were on it

In a statement he said: ‘It is clear from Mr Pearce’s letter that the named individuals and companies are not subject to current investigations which may be undermined if the list was published.
‘Without Soca providing a full explanation of the decision not to publish it is not surprising that people will be suspicious about motives.’
A senior member of the committee, Tory MP James Clappison, wrote to the agency asking what details it holds of other clients of private investigators, and for details of how many of the 102 have been arrested or charged. It is thought none has been subjected to formal proceedings.
He also asked how many victims of hacking have been notified.
Mr Clappison said: ‘It appears to be worse than phone hacking. This is a far greater level of intrusion into people’s lives.’

Yesterday the Mail revealed that a number of banks and pharmaceutical companies feature heavily on the list, alongside private individuals and insurance firms.

The lawyers and law firms on the list are thought to include those involved in divorce actions where wealthy clients are seeking to discover the true extent of their husband or wife’s assets.
The activities of the investigators included computer hacking and even intercepting live phone conversations.
The list was drawn up by Soca in 2008 but not considered as evidence by the Leveson Inquiry into phone hacking.
It was drawn from Operation Millipede, which saw four private investigators jailed last year. But unlike with the Press, the subject of a multi-million-pound police investigation and the Leveson Inquiry, no one has gone after those commissioning the four.

Soca claims that publishing the list could cause the firms and individuals commercial damage and breach their human rights.
They say the clients would not necessarily have known what the private eyes were up to. But MPs say no recipient of a transcript of a telephone call could be in any doubt about what they were reading.
Former Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell insisted that any MP who published the list in Parliament would be protected by Parliamentary privilege.
‘If any company has knowingly connived in phone hacking, they should be held to account,’ he said

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2378412/20-law-firms-paid-rogue-detectives-steal-personal-data-MPs-think-scandal-worse-phone-hacking-Press.html

Bigger than Watergate? Wonder who their clients were? It should be brought out into the open just like the press were. Lets hope that Parliamentary privilege is used by a MP to publish the list, but who's got he backbone to do it.


Operation Millipede?

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Re: Exclusive: Hacking cover-up scandal as police refuse to name 'blue-chip' companies who used corrupt private investigators

Post by Guest on 31.07.13 11:09

Secret list of firms that used private investigators should be published, say MPs
Law and insurance companies were among those to use investigators accused of hacking, according to secret Soca list

MPs have intensified the pressure to publish a confidential list of companies that used private investigators suspected of hacking and other alleged unethical information-gathering practices.
The Commons home affairs committee revealed on Wednesday that law firms and insurance companies were among those on a list compiled by the Serious and Organised Crime Agency (Soca) that has remained unpublished for several years.
The MPs are examining claims that companies other than newspaper owners used private investigators to hack and gain information about their business rivals.
For the first time, the committee gave a sector-by-sector breakdown of those firms or individuals on the Soca list. They include 21 law firms, nine in the insurance sector, one pharmaceutical company, four food service enterprises and an oil firm. In total 94 companies were listed.
Tantalisingly, it was noted that there were two "celebrity" firms or individuals on the list. But they were not named, nor was it clear if these were individuals or organisations providing services to the famous.
A further eight companies are believed to have used four private investigators who were convicted last year of "blagging" confidential information after an investigation by Soca called Operation Millipede

More:  http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/jul/31/soca-secret-list-companies-hacking

The press won't let this drop! If the list is published it will be a bigger scandal than phone hacking

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Re: Exclusive: Hacking cover-up scandal as police refuse to name 'blue-chip' companies who used corrupt private investigators

Post by sallypelt on 31.07.13 11:33

Hacking: Keith Vaz says firms linked to rogue investigators may not be named

The names of law firms, insurance companies and others linked to rogue private investigators suspected of hacking and other alleged illegal practices may not be released because they could compromise a police investigation, the chairman of the Commons home affairs select committee has said.



 http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/jul/31/keith-vaz-firms-investigators-hacking

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Re: Exclusive: Hacking cover-up scandal as police refuse to name 'blue-chip' companies who used corrupt private investigators

Post by PeterMac on 31.07.13 11:34

"Celebrity" law firm . . . wouldn't it be interesting if . . .

No. Quite impossible. Out of the question. So let us see the list.

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Re: Exclusive: Hacking cover-up scandal as police refuse to name 'blue-chip' companies who used corrupt private investigators

Post by Praiaaa on 31.07.13 11:39

@PeterMac wrote:"Celebrity" law firm . . .    wouldn't it be interesting if . . .  

No. Quite impossible. Out of the question. So let us see the list.

 big grin

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Re: Exclusive: Hacking cover-up scandal as police refuse to name 'blue-chip' companies who used corrupt private investigators

Post by sallypelt on 31.07.13 11:40

Law firms linked to convicted private investigators

Law firms, insurance companies and celebrities are among 94 clients that used private investigators convicted of illegally obtaining information, MPs have said.

The Home Affairs Select Committee published a breakdown of the clients but did not name them individually.

The four rogue investigators concerned were given jail sentences last year.

Committee chairman Keith Vaz said he wanted to name the clients when the committee published its final report.
Private data
The private investigators specialised in illegally obtaining private information from organisations such as banks, utility companies and HM Revenue and Customs.

Because the companies involved could be investigated by the police and the information commissioner, the committee says it has not named them. Instead it lists them by business sector.

The list suggested that private investigators often subcontract work to each other - 16 clients were other private investigation agencies.

Labour MP Mr Vaz said: "When we publish our report into private investigators, we would like to be in a position where we publish the entire list.

"But we don't want to compromise any investigation that the Metropolitan Police may or may not be involved in."

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said he had "a lot of sympathy" with those who wanted big companies who use private detectives to be open about it.

He added he was "very concerned about the role of rogue private investigators" and that the government would be announcing plans to regulate the industry later on Wednesday.

Continue reading the main story
“Start Quote
The committee remains concerned that it holds a list that Soca has classified as secret, even though it is evidence given as part of our inquiry”
End Quote Keith Vaz Home Affairs Select Committee chairman

BBC home affairs correspondent Tom Symonds said proving that the clients commissioned work knowing it would breach the data protection act - the most likely charge they might face - could be difficult.

One of the clients, a solicitor, told the BBC she hired the Brookmans International firm to track down a fraudster but insisted she did not break the law.

She said she put in writing her request to the private detectives that they do not do anything illegal.
Vital work
Much of the work of private investigators involves finding out where fraudsters have hidden stolen money or tracking down people who owe money so that civil litigation can begin.

Another law firm which uses private investigators said such work was vital because often police will not go after fraudsters.

The client categories list published by the committee does not appear to contain media companies.

Our correspondent said critics of the Serious Organised Crime Agency argued it had failed to act on the corporate use of private investigators, while journalists who allegedly obtained private information by breaking the law were subjected to several major police investigations.

The Met Police said it supported the "strong regulation of the private investigation industry and a system that allows for a client to perform due diligence checks on the individual or company they wish to hire".

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-23512840

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Re: Exclusive: Hacking cover-up scandal as police refuse to name 'blue-chip' companies who used corrupt private investigators

Post by plebgate on 31.07.13 13:32

Snipped from Sallyp's post above :


"
Our correspondent said critics of the Serious Organised Crime Agency argued it had failed to act on the corporate use of private investigators, while journalists who allegedly obtained private information by breaking the law were subjected to several major police investigations. " "

And that is why the Press will not let it drop imo. Rightly so.






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Re: Exclusive: Hacking cover-up scandal as police refuse to name 'blue-chip' companies who used corrupt private investigators

Post by plebgate on 31.07.13 13:32

@plebgate wrote:Snipped from Sallyp's post above :


"
Our correspondent said critics of the Serious Organised Crime Agency argued it had failed to act on the corporate use of private investigators, while journalists who allegedly obtained private information by breaking the law were subjected to several major police investigations. " "


And that is why the Press will not let it drop imo.    Rightly so.






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Re: Exclusive: Hacking cover-up scandal as police refuse to name 'blue-chip' companies who used corrupt private investigators

Post by sallypelt on 31.07.13 16:20

Private detectives to need licence

Operating as an unlicensed private detective is to be illegal in England and Wales, the home secretary has said.

The Home Office said it wanted to "ensure rigorous standards" in an industry where "rogue investigators" had been infringing privacy.

Those who break the new rules - to be rolled out from autumn 2014 - could face up to six months in jail.

MPs earlier said police had linked 100 firms or individuals to investigators who had obtained information illegally.
Blagging
Anyone can currently set themselves up as a private investigator, regardless of their skills or even criminal convictions.

But under the Home Office's plans, investigators will be licensed by the Security Industry Authority after completing a training course and passing a criminality check.

The new regulations do not extend to investigations carried out in relation to publishing legitimate journalism.

Home Secretary Theresa May said: "It is vital we have proper regulation of private investigators to ensure rigorous standards in this sector and the respect of individuals' rights to privacy.

"That is why I am announcing today the government's intention to regulate this industry, making it a criminal offence to operate as a private investigator without a licence.

"Anyone with a criminal conviction for data protection offences can expect to have their application for a licence refused."

Firms could be barred from being licensed if they have been involved in offences including:


  • Unlawful interception of communications, such as phone hacking
  • Accessing data on computers without permission
  • Gathering personal details by posing as someone else, such as blagging information from a call centre
  • Bribery


The Home Office said that all contractors would need to be licensed and the maximum penalty for failing to comply with the new rules would be six months in jail.




http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-23519690

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Re: Exclusive: Hacking cover-up scandal as police refuse to name 'blue-chip' companies who used corrupt private investigators

Post by aquila on 31.07.13 16:26

Dontya just love a set of new rules. It's the obvious answer to everything. Lessons have been learned. Move along now sheeples, nothing to see here.

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Re: Exclusive: Hacking cover-up scandal as police refuse to name 'blue-chip' companies who used corrupt private investigators

Post by PeterMac on 31.07.13 16:28

I wonder what happens if you accept a contract, have it announced to the world that you are a "crack team" [see photo above, left !] , and only THEN set up the company under whose name you are going to operate . . . ? Just a thought.

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Re: Exclusive: Hacking cover-up scandal as police refuse to name 'blue-chip' companies who used corrupt private investigators

Post by aquila on 31.07.13 16:32

@PeterMac wrote:I wonder what happens if you accept a contract, have it announced to the world that you are a "crack team" [see photo above, left !] , and only THEN set up the company under whose name you are going to operate . . . ? Just a thought.

 That's not the rules wot 'ave just been made up today. Today's new rules is wot count. Nuffink in the past is important coz lessons have been lurnt and the Home Office only cares about our protecshun.

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Re: Exclusive: Hacking cover-up scandal as police refuse to name 'blue-chip' companies who used corrupt private investigators

Post by PeterMac on 31.07.13 17:03

@sallypelt wrote:
"That is why I am announcing today the government's intention to regulate this industry, making it a criminal offence to operate as a private investigator without a licence. Like ALHAIG

Firms could be barred from being licensed if they have been involved in offences including:

  • Unlawful interception of communications, such as phone hacking   Like M3
  • Accessing data on computers without permission Like Kevin
  • Gathering personal details by posing as someone else, such as blagging information from a call centre [Like Dunghill]
  • Bribery


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Re: Exclusive: Hacking cover-up scandal as police refuse to name 'blue-chip' companies who used corrupt private investigators

Post by aquila on 31.07.13 17:23

@PeterMac wrote:
@sallypelt wrote:
"That is why I am announcing today the government's intention to regulate this industry, making it a criminal offence to operate as a private investigator without a licence. Like ALHAIG

Firms could be barred from being licensed if they have been involved in offences including:

  • Unlawful interception of communications, such as phone hacking   Like M3
  • Accessing data on computers without permission Like Kevin
  • Gathering personal details by posing as someone else, such as blagging information from a call centre [Like Dunghill]
  • Bribery


 Politicians operate without a licence and yet they can possibly be involved in all of the above and get away with it.

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Re: Exclusive: Hacking cover-up scandal as police refuse to name 'blue-chip' companies who used corrupt private investigators

Post by Guest on 01.08.13 7:56

Top lawyers last night greeted demands to explain their links to controversial private detectives with a wall of silence.
Dozens of Britain’s biggest law firms refused to say if they employ snoopers or what steps they take to ensure that the private eyes obey the law.

Industry insiders claim the use of detective agencies is commonplace in complex fraud, insurance and divorce cases. But the Daily Mail found a reluctance by more than 30 legal firms to discuss the issue or account for their actions





Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2382266/Law-firms-wall-silence-hiring-private-detectives-Dozens-firms-refuse-say-employed-snoopers.html#ixzz2ahHUsoEA
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Welll, welll, the law firm we know amongst others failed to respond, now why wouldn't they give a answer?

 

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Re: Exclusive: Hacking cover-up scandal as police refuse to name 'blue-chip' companies who used corrupt private investigators

Post by plebgate on 01.08.13 8:06

Thanks for the latest info. CB.

Very interesting times ahead. Bloggers unite and watch as this explodes. clapping 

Call the MPs back from holiday - only takes one MP to ask a question in the Commons and it could all come tumbling down.


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Head of SOCA resigns

Post by PeterMac on 01.08.13 16:48

First scalp ?
He was the one who provided the list in the first place, and his own name was on it.
Now it looks as if it might become public knowledge - he resigns.
But if it hadn't, he would not have ?
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/soca-chief-sir-ian-andrews-quits-over-undeclared-interest-in-private-investigations-firm-8742235.html
The chairman of the Serious Organised Crime Agency resigned today after he failed to declare he owned a private company with his wife, who works for a leading private investigations firm.
Sir Ian Andrews informed Theresa May, the Home Secretary, that he would leave his position early after weeks of damaging revelations over the crime-fighting body in The Independent.
Soca is facing urgent questions over why it failed for years to tackle more than 100 blue-chip clients of corrupt private investigators, including law firms, banks and celebrities.
Sir Ian was hauled before MPs to explain the agency’s inaction – but failed to declare that his wife Moira was the head lawyer at Good Governance Group (G3), a major international investigations firm.
Soca handed over a list of the rogue investigators’ clients to the Home Affairs Select Committee, chaired by Keith Vaz, on condition that the names are not revealed. Mr Vaz has now suggested that the confidentiality will be reviewed: "Sir Ian was part of the decision making process that required that the Home Affairs Select Committee kept the lists that Soca sent us confidential. I shall be writing to his successor to ask if he or she will now review this decision."
In a letter to Mr Vaz, the chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, Sir Ian admitted that it was “inexcusable” that he also did not disclose he had recently set up a private business with Ms Andrews, a senior former Whitehall official.
“I have no explanation for this other than it was both a genuine and unintentional oversight but it is nonetheless inexcusable: and the responsibility is mine alone,” he wrote. “My original four-year appointment expires at the end of this week and was due to be extended until October to cover the remaining life of Soca. Given the above, and the fact that I have failed to maintain the standard of integrity to be expected of the head of a public body, let alone one charged with law enforcement, I believe that I had no alternative but to offer the Home Secretary my resignation as the Chairman of Soca.
“This is a huge disappointment to me personally.”
Mr Vaz said: “This is the right decision. Clearly as head of a law enforcement agency it is important that there is full transparency and it is essential that all members of the Soca board also check their own interests.”
Sir Ian was behind the decision to classify a list of blue-chip companies who hired corrupt private detectives that hack sensitive information – claiming the disclosure could damage their commercial interests and breach individuals’ human rights.
His wife Moira is employed as the head lawyer for Good Governance Group (G3), a global security firm.

Not long now before the full list is either disclosed or leaked.

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Re: Exclusive: Hacking cover-up scandal as police refuse to name 'blue-chip' companies who used corrupt private investigators

Post by Guest on 03.08.13 13:06

Snipped

The four rogue investigators concerned were given jail sentences last year.
They specialised in illegally obtaining private information from organisations such as banks, utility companies and HM Revenue and Customs

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-23512840

Curious as to who the four rogue PI's were I found this artical:

2 July 2013 Last updated at 09:45
 By Tom Symonds Home Affairs correspondent

Rogue private eyes: The next hacking scandal?

Some private investigators use computers to obtain personal information


The agency often described as 'Britain's FBI' is being hauled in front of MPs to address allegations it has not done enough to deal with the threat posed by rogue private investigators who use criminal methods to access private information. So what does the Serious Organised Crime Agency know about the murky world of the private eye?
In January 2008 an internal report was circulated at the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), entitled "The Rogue Element of the Private Investigation Industry and Others Unlawfully Trading in Personal Data".
This was the product of Project Riverside, a confidential SOCA exercise to analyse five operations aimed at private investigators. The BBC has seen a copy.
Broadly it found that PI firms were illegally 'blagging' or hacking information from public bodies, banks and individuals.
They were sometimes working for the media, but also for debt collectors, insurance companies and criminals.
Often the technique of "pretexting" was used. This involves a PI ringing, for example, Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, and getting an employee to disclose tax details.
The scams included using technical methods: Devices to intercept phone calls, or planting a "trojan" program on the target's computer to obtain their personal information, including their emails.
The Riverside report contains no names of the "clients" who commissioned the hacking or the investigators involved.

'Credit card trawl'
But one case, Operation Millipede, also part of the Project Riverside report, threw light on their activities.
Four private investigators were jailed last year following a SOCA investigation
SOCA had been watching one PI cell for some time, following up intelligence gathered in a previous criminal investigation.
In 2008 an officer bought a second-hand Apple computer belonging to one of the gang - Daniel Summers, a prolific blagger who charged £200 for illegally obtaining a bank statement and £50 for an illicit "credit card trawl".
Unfortunately for Summers, his former computer's hard drive had not been properly wiped. It led SOCA to three other men. Philip Campbell Smith, Graham Freeman and former detective Adam Spears.
They'd been paid thousands by their clients, often companies seeking to recover debts, to obtain information from targets including property companies and small business. Summers was their point man for gathering the information, using his blagging skills.
The four were jailed for between six and twelve months each.
However after the case, one of the four, Graham Freeman, defended his work, telling the BBC he was trying to track down fraudsters on behalf of clients owed money, or their solicitors, where the police were "not interested" in helping.
In one instance, this involved tracing a property dealer who had fled owing up to £20m.

'Suppressed' report?
But even after the convictions, Operation Milipede had legs. A source with knowledge of the case says it led directly to the Met's Operation Tuleta - which is investigating all the ways in which personal information has been illegally gathered, aside from phone hacking.
It's a massive inquiry. A recent Metropolitan Police Freedom of Information disclosure reveals 151 victims have come forward.
But this is where the SOCA investigation into rogue private investigators has recently become political.
SOCA's been accused of "suppressing" the Project Riverside report, and of doing "next to nothing" to disrupt the unlawful trade in private information.
The Agency's original report was confidential and never published. But last year, it provided a redacted copy to the home affairs select committee, and placed this version on its website, albeit four years after the report was first written.
The Home Affairs Select Committee is now demanding to see the unredacted version.
SOCA refuses to comment further on Riverside, but points to the Operation Millipede case as a success, and a sign that action is being taken.
However the agency has always refused to discuss the identities of the clients who commission PI's to illegally access private information.
When the BBC reported the Milipede case in 2012, we identified two of them - a foreign exchange trading company, and a law firm, but the names of others have never become public

Criminality
In response, SOCA said it had no proof those asking private investigators to obtain information knew it would be obtained illegally.
However, there is the risk that a private investigator will ignore a request from a client to "keep it legal" - especially when subcontracting the work to others.
In 2011, the BBC's Panorama programme revealed one of the conspiracies outlined in Riverside.
Former army intelligence officer Ian Hurst had a trojan placed on his computer in an attempt by the News of the World to read his emails. The paper was trying to find a double-agent who once penetrated the IRA.
The BBC has been told of allegations two other people allegedly had their computers targeted by the hacker involved in the Hurst case.
Ian Hurst believes the Riverside report is critical because it shows SOCA knew about criminality among PI's but didn't take action - including to prevent the hacking of his computer.
 
Yet the material collated in the report was never considered by the Leveson Inquiry prompting the accusation that Leveson was only interested in wrongdoing by the media, rather than others. The senior judge ruled it was outside his remit, and would over-complicate the inquiry.
Its also possible that SOCA made a similar decision during its investigations, as the Metropolitan Police made while pursuing phone-hacking. To limit the scope of the inquiry, to keep things manageable

But unlike phone hacking one important piece of information has still not been revealed, even in the Riverside report - the number of known cases of illegality by private investigators.
Either way, the home affairs select committee is now going back to SOCA with the aim of discovering more about what the agency knows, and how it intends to tackle rogue private investigators.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-23142952

Leveson has a lot to answer for, he knew about a scandal within a scandal, why didn't he and others want it to be known? to put it bluntly there all p*****g in the same pot, I hope the MSM keep giving this scandal legs, the've been hung out to dry they should do the same with SOCA

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