Eleven firms face UK 'blue chip hacking' investigation


by CBR Staff Writer| 07 February 2014

FBI will now be roped in as several US firms engaged British private investigators to attain secret public data illegally.

The information commissioner of UK told British MPs that 11 blue chip companies used private detectives to hack private information, in breach of Data Protection Act.

The commission now planning to rope in the US Federal Bureau of Investigation after the inquiry found that several US firms engaged British private investigators that hacked, blagged and pinched bank account and mortgage details, medical records and data from the Police National Computer.

The 'blue chip hacking' scandal disclosed that over 100 city organisations, including law firms, financial services and insurance firms, had gathered the data through illegally using rogue investigators.

Additionally, a team of investigators from UK Information Commissioner's office along with a team from the National Crime Agency(NCA) will jointly issue legal letters to 11 clients from the following week, demanding access to their files.

According to the UK information commissioner Christopher Graham, the alleged clients would obtain search warrants to capture data if failing to cooperate during the investigation.

Graham told in a letter to Commons' Home Affairs Select Committee that nineteen clients are active and there is evidence of a criminal breach and civil breach of the Data Protection Act.

"However, eight of these are based outside of our jurisdiction," Graham added.

"The documentary evidence we hold in relation to these clients is considered significant and this gives us the best opportunity of instigating criminal proceedings."

In addition, parliamentary committee investigations revealed that the police had been silent on the investigators' clients even though the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) had secured convictions against four private officers who allegedly gathered private data.

Home Affairs Select Committee chairman, Keith Vaz, said the Information Commissioner's findings clearly reveal significant evidence of criminal wrongdoing by clients of the data which was held by SOCA for so many years.

"The Commissioner has been refreshingly proactive in his approach to this investigation, in direct contrast to what went before," Vaz said.

"It is important that this approach continues and those who have broken the law are brought to justice.

"The committee will be looking to ascertain a timetable for the further investigation and potential prosecutions when the Commissioner appears before it on Tuesday.

"It is vital that the victims are not forgotten and that justice prevails."

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