[QODLink]
Asia-Pacific
News Corp accused of sabotaging rivals
Australian government pledges to investigate reports that a Rupert Murdoch company cracked codes of rivals.
Last Modified: 28 Mar 2012 10:26

Media giant News Corp has been accused of sabotaging its rivals by distributing pirated pay-TV smart cards to millions of customers around the world, adding pressure to the Rupert Murdoch-owned empire already under fire over hacking claims in Britain.

A four year investigation by Australia's Financial Review newspaper found that the company set up a secret unit to crack the codes of its competitors.

The pirated cards were then sold on the black market, costing rival broadcasters tens of millions of dollars.

The Australian government said on Wednesday allegations of any criminality should be investigated by police.

"These are serious allegations, and any allegations of criminal activity should be referred to the AFP (Australian Federal police) for investigation," Stephen Conroy, a spokeswoman for Communications Minister, told Reuters news agency.

Angus Grigg, one of the Financial Review reporters who investigated the story, said his newspaper had published 14,400 emails which gave a systematic account of the inner workings of a News Corp subsidiary who carried out the hacking.

“What they are essentially showing is that there was a systematic campaign within News Corp to hack into the systems of its commercial rivals," Grigg told Al Jazeera. "They were encouraging and fostering hackers to crack the codes of smart cards for paid television, which allows viewers to receive a signal from satellite or cable television - to crack the codes of its rival pay TV companies for its own commercial gains."

The Financial Review said the piracy was part of strategy by News Corp to financially cripple its competitors making them ripe for takeover of companies such as Direct TV and ITV digital.

News Corp, already embattled in a messy hacking scandal in the UK, has denied the recent accusations.

On March 14, British police arrested six people in the long-running saga that has shaken News Corp, which owns the now-defunct News of the World Sunday tabloid at the centre of the investigations.

The scandal has also damaged police and politicians from all major political parties, revealing extremely close ties between the media and the upper elements of the establishment.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
Spirits are high in Scotland's 'Whisky Capital of the World' with one distillery thirsty for independence.
President Poroshenko arrives in Washington on Thursday with money and military aid on his mind, analysts say.
Early players in private medicine often focused on volume over quality, turning many Chinese off for-profit care.
Al Jazeera asked people across Scotland what they think about the prospect of splitting from the United Kingdom.
Blogger critical of a lack of government transparency faces defamation lawsuit from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
join our mailing list