FBI may be called in over ‘blue chip’ hacking

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BRITAIN’S data watchdog is poised to call in the FBI to investigate the so-called blue chip hacking scandal, it has been reported.

Information Commissioner Christopher Graham has reportedly told MPs he will contact authorities in the United States of America after discovering that a number of companies contracted private investigators in the UK to hack, blag and steal sensitive data.

Mr Graham is also understood to have confirmed that “Demand for Access” notices are being prepared so investigators can get at further evidence from the 11 clients in Britain who hired four private detectives jailed two years ago after accessing bank account and mortgage details, medical records and information from the Police National Computer.

In a letter to the Home Affairs select committee, Mr Graham wrote: “The documentary evidence we hold in relation to these clients is considered significant, and this gives us the best opportunity of instigating criminal proceedings.”

Mr Graham is also understood to have also refused to rule out using search warrants if the organisations failed to comply with his requests.

The names of about 100 firms and individuals who allegedly used corrupt private investigators was handed from Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) to the Home Affairs committee last year on condition it was not published – sparking a row over transparency.

The agency has come in for criticism over the way it has dealt with the case.

The “blue-chip hacking” list was drawn up at the request of the committee and relates to Soca’s Operation Millipede, which led to the conviction of the private detectives jailed for fraud in 2012.

Chairman Keith Vaz said: 
“The Information Commissioner’s findings clearly reveal significant evidence of criminal wrongdoing by clients in 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.

“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.”