Hackers targeted former British prime minister’s emails: report

By Stephen C. Webster
Monday, January 2, 2012 12:02 EDT
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News Corporation chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch. Photo: AFP.
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Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown was the target of hackers who gained access to his personal email account while he was still finance minister, a British newspaper reported on Monday.

London’s Scotland Yard are investigating whether newspapers owned by billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch had employed private investigators to spy on Brown and other lawmakers, The Independent reported.

Police reportedly obtained a trove of computers seized during an ongoing investigation that contain the hacked emails of possibly hundreds of victims. The paper added that the email hacking scandal may be as large or even larger than the phone hacking row that gripped News Corporation’s British print holdings last year.

Hackers were reportedly reading Brown’s emails during a turbulent time in his relationship with former Prime Minister Tony Blair. The paper also noted that “several” newspapers may have been involved with the hackers, but it did not say which.

The phone hacking scandal, which has put the leadership of News Corporation into question, revealed that investigators working for Murdoch’s News of the World tapped into the voicemails of thousands around the world, including celebrities, athletes, lawmakers and even murder victims.

The investigation revealed so many victims that U.S. authorities are now on the trail as well, trying to ascertain whether the U.S.-based media company hacked into the voicemails of Americans who died on Sept. 11, 2001.

The FBI’s decision to open the probe was made after several Democratic Senators and a Republican Congressman from New York wrote letters to the bureau asking that they look into the matter. That investigation was still ongoing.

News Corporation has since forced a number of top officers to resign, shuttered News of the World, paid out millions in settlements and pledged to work with authorities.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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