UK cops knew that banks, lawyers, rich people and others routinely hired criminal hackers to spy on people, did nothing about it

The Independent reports that the UK Serious Organised Crime Agency supplied secret evidence to the Leveson Inquiry (on phone-hacking by newspapers) saying that many other groups in the UK routinely engaged in criminal, invasive hacking through private investigations firms. Included in the list of those purchasing criminal services are the super-rich, insurance companies, law firms and telecoms companies. The Leveson Inquiry took the evidence, but kept it secret, including the fact that the police knew about and tolerated this kind of activity. The spying included bribing police officers, perverting the course of justice, real-time tapping of phone lines, using specially built spying gadgets attached by BT engineers who assisted in the crimes.

A security source with knowledge of the report – codenamed Project Riverside – said clients who hired corrupt private investigators included:

* a major telecoms company;

* a celebrity who broadcasts to millions of people every week;

* a well-known media personality, who hired a private investigator to hack his employee’s computer as he suspected she was selling confidential information to business rivals;

* a businessman who hired hackers to obtain intelligence on rivals involved in an ultimately unsuccessful £500m corporate takeover.

A company which was owed money by property developers also hired private detectives to track down the firm’s family information, detailed transactions from four bank accounts, information from credit card statements and an itemised mobile phone bill. The company paid £14,000 for the information.

However, the most common industry employing criminal private detectives is understood to be law firms, including some of those involved in high-end matrimonial proceedings and litigators investigating fraud on behalf of private clients.

SOCA discovered a document called "The Blagger’s Manual" during one inquiry, which contained instructions for illegally obtaining information from "calling companies, banks, HM Revenue and Customs, councils, utility providers and the NHS." The manual read, in part, "It is probably a good idea to overcome any moral hang-ups you might have about 'snooping' or 'dishonesty.' The fact is that through learning acts of technical deception, you will be performing a task which is not only of value to us or our client, but to industry as a whole."

SOCA's report can't be retrieved via normal freedom-of-information requests, because SOCA claims it has "sensitive material." It also alleges that the corruption was often carried out by means of social connections through membership in the Freemasons, shared among police, judges, and the criminals who wished to bribe or influence them.

The other hacking scandal: Suppressed report reveals that law firms, telecoms giants and insurance companies routinely hire criminals to steal rivals' information (via /.)


  1. It’s ok.  Normal transmission will resume shortly and this wildly unexpected weirdness will end. 

    Oh wait…

  2. The British police are accusing the Freemasons of conspiracy. Have they lined their helmets with tin foil ?

    1. The beauty of it being, if we just hung a few bankers off it with bricks in their pockets, everyone would assume it was a masonic conspiracy and refrain from investigating.  

  3. At least in the UK they are honest, by public demand they have class separation where peers are super citizens and the influential get promoted by their high born big whuffi social connections.  The rampant and sometimes even transparent nepotism and tampering once a case is in court would make even a hardened US attorney blush.  This type of abuse of exclusive social networking is why colonists cut off from lobbying the powerful by the Atlantic revolted in the 13 colonies sadly to slide into a very familiar and natural trap.

  4. So one wonders how much money you have to have to get into the special law free zone.  Are their different levels?  Can the super-rich still crush the rich as well as the normal people with impunity?


      1. Well they might not want the plain rich to think they can move up to the super-rich level

        1. I suspect they do want them thinking that – it’s what keeps them in line.  If they thought they had no chance, they might stop playing the game.

          1. So its like the fabled move for the working poor to being middle class… it doesn’t really exist and it makes great entertainment for the rich to look down and watch you struggle to get there. 
            Everytime you think you move up a rung on the ladder you discover that you pushed all of those above you up and the goal line is always out of reach… but you can make it… if you try harder.

    1. UK anti-defamation laws or something won’t allow it. True or not, saying something bad about the super-rich gets you a summons, no matter where you live or work.

  5. Mmm interestingly mid last week, as I walked behind FreeMason central house in WC2, two uniformed police were sifting through the four great big orange rolling bins and picking out papers.  With someone from the building observing.  They tucked envelopes and papers into what looked like evidence bags.

    I’ve walked past that place hundreds of times, and never seen that.

  6. That sounds like the same “blaggers handbook” referred in this 2006 Graun story.  No sign of it any more substantially; I wonder if it’s another Internet Mythical Tome, or just a zip of tips.

      1. I must be having Faily Sunday Brain, ‘cos I still can’t pull anything that isn’t oblique. 

    1. There’s umpty-billion social engineering how-to’s out there anyway. Shit, it’s a competitive sport

  7. Anyone know how much of that is a “we know but don’t have enough admissible evidence” thing?Because I know that happens

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