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Murdoch's News Corp May Have Promoted Piracy

Posted by: , 21:26 AEDT, Wed March 28, 2012

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Allegations surface that a News Corp subsidiary may have been involved in a "dirty-tricks" campaign against pay-TV rivals, including promoting and enabling the piracy of competitor's services
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Image/Photo Credit: Scott Beale / Laughing Squid

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp may have promoted piracy of competitor's services in order to gain an upper hand, two separate exposés claim.

The Australian Financial Review (AFR) published fresh allegations that Rupert Murdoch's News Corp took part in a dirty-tricks campaign against Australian pay TV rivals, by promoting the piracy of the rival's services.

At almost the same time, a BBC Panorama special accused one of News Corp's subsidiaries, NDS, of doing exactly the same thing.

Both allegations say that NDS had set up a special unit, Operational Security, in the mid 90's. The unit's original task was to track down and stop pirates of News Corp's own services, but quickly evolved into a dirty-tricks unit. 

Citing documents that the AFR found from its four year investigation, the Australia paper alleges that the unit, staffed by former police and intelligence officers, participated in the hacking of rival services' encryption codes, and later sold the codes in the form of black-market smartcards that allowed users to access subscription TV services for free, illegally, and thus cost News Corp rivals millions in lost revenue. AFR also claims the unit "fabricated legal actions and obtained telephone records illegally".

The BBC allegations speak of similar actions, with "super hackers" employed by the unit to hack competitor's encryption systems to cause "very serious financial and reputation losses". NDS paid a consultant to post the codes of rival ITV Digital on his website, the investigative programme alleges.

News Corp and NDS have both denied these allegations.

(Photo credit: "Scott Beale / Laughing Squid")


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