U.S.-based media conglomorate News Corporation owned News of the World hired private investigator's to spy on the lawyers representing the victims of their phone hacking, according to an exclusive report from The Guardian.

The clandestine surveillance of the two lawyers, Mark Lewis and Charlotte Harris, and their families, was an attempt by the News of the Word to gather personal information that could be used to undermine the attorneys. Friends of the lawyers told The Guardian that they are furious by the reports and are considering legal action over the breach of privacy.

Lewis and Harris have been major thorns to News Corp., as the two represented Gordon Taylor and Max Clifford, the first two people to sue the company for hacking their phones.

The surveillance on Lewis and Harris occurred in the past 18 months, under the chairmanship of Rupert Murdoch's son James who's claimed he knew nothing of the companies lawbreaking.