A leaked secret report has implicated some of Britain’s most respected industries into routinely employing criminals to hack, blag and steal personal information on business rivals and members of the public.
The report revealed that the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) knew six years back that law firms, telecoms giants and insurance companies were hiring private investigators to break the law and further their commercial interests, yet the agency did next to nothing to disrupt the unlawful trade.
Soca, dubbed “Britain’s FBI”, knew six years ago that blue-chip institutions were hiring private investigators to obtain sensitive data – yet did next to nothing to disrupt the unlawful trade, according to the report.
“What is astonishing about this whole murky affair is that Soca had knowledge of massive illegal invasions of privacy in the newspaper industry – but also in the supply chains of so-called blue-chip companies”, said Tom Watson, the campaigning Labour MP.
“I believe they are sitting on physical evidence that has still not been disclosed fully to forensic investigators at the Metropolitan Police. The law should also be rigorously applied to other sectors that have got away with it”, he added.
One of five police investigations reviewed by Soca found private detectives listening in to targets’ phone calls in real-time.
The report said a “telephone interception specialist manufactured several devices which were physically attached to the target’s landline at the relevant signal box by a British Telecom-trained telecommunications engineer.”