Who was targeted by the News of the World?
The revelation that murder victim Milly Dowler’s phone was hacked is the latest, and perhaps most shocking of the seemingly endless list of alleged victims covering every area of British life. Actor Sienna Miller, actor and comedian Steve Coogan, and Who Wants to Be A Millionaire host Chris Tarrant have joined the growing list of public figures taking legal action for alleged phone hacking by the News of the World. [It didn't stop at phones. The Guardian reported today that medical and other records of former Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his family were hacked, and confidential medical information published.]
There are broadly three categories of people who have been identified as victims or possible victims of phone hacking by Glenn Mulcaire, the News of the World’s private investigator. Although the total number of names runs into the thousands, few so far have been identified.
First, there are those who have been approached and warned by Scotland Yard that there was hard evidence of their voicemail being accessed without authority. Some were warned at the time of the original inquiry in 2006. Others were warned only after the Guardian revived the story in July 2009. Scotland Yard refuse to say how many were warned at either time. They have said that they also approached and warned people in four ‘national security’ categories if there was reasonable grounds to suspect that their voicemail might have been accessed without authority – members of the royal household, the military, the police and the government. But here again, they refuse to say how many people they warned in each of those categories.
Second, there are those who have taken the initiative to approach Scotland Yard and to ask whether the police hold any evidence that they were targeted in any way by Mulcaire. Scotland Yard are holding the results of an analysis of phone records which, we now know, revealed “a vast number” of people who had had their voicemail accessed; and also a spreadsheet which summarises the contents of the mass of paperwork, audio tapes and computer records which police seized from Mulcaire and which, the Guardian discovered, included 4,332 names or partial names; 2,987 mobile phone numbers; 30 audio tapes of varying length; and 91 PIN codes of a kind which are needed to access voicemail with the minority of targets who change the factory settings on their mobile phones.
Third, there are 120 people who were identified by three mobile phone companies who followed up on Scotland Yard’s original investigation and found that some of their users had had their voicemail accessed from numbers used by Glenn Mulcaire. Orange say they warned none of those whom they identified; Vodafone (NYSE: VOD) say they warned customers ‘as appropriate’; O2 say they warned all of their customers whom they identified.
Victims so far identified in any of these three categories are here. We will update this list as more revelations emerge.
This article originally appeared in Â© Guardian News & Media Ltd..