By Michael Collins
Ray Adams is a name you will hear more frequently as the latest and perhaps most fatal Murdoch - News Corp. scandal emerges.
When Murdoch was setting up his BSKYB cable network in England, he had some serious competition. ITV had a digital service called ITV Digital. The British broadcaster was prepared to go head to head with Murdoch’s network. As the services rolled out, ITV Digital became subject to furious hacker attacks. The hackers broke the ITV encryption code and distributed it widely allowing so many people to get free ITV service, the venture failed, largely due to the piracy of its service, and Murdoch had a clean road to mega profits with BSKYB.
The BBC’s Panorama television show broke a story (not yet available in the United States) accusing a Murdoch owned firm, NDS, of hiring hackers to break the ITV code, thus sabotaging the Murdoch competitor. The rest is history and huge profits. BSKYB is the dominant British cable network. It’s spreading throughout Europe.
During the time ITV was hacked out of existence, Ray Adams was the head of operational security for NDS. The firm hired hackers to anticipate and check security problems with its own encryption system. But there’s more. Reports from Great Britain and Australia document NDS using hackers to target rivals. Australia’s Financial Review just broke a well document story outlining the same pattern of hacking behavior by NDS in behalf of Murdoch cable operations there. The publication documented the story with 10,000 emails it received from, you guessed it, the computer of Ray Adams.
Of special note, Adams was a commander of criminal intelligence for the London Metropolitan Police before leaving to join the Murdoch controlled NDS in 1998. The Metropolitan Police was heavily involved in the phone hacking scandal after Adams left. They flubbed the initial investigations and the police were known to give Murdoch reporters special information on a pay for play basis.
This is very serious for Murdoch. The BBC charges seem well founded, so much so that the Financial Times has covered the story as though it were fact. If the charges are proven in a court of law, the consequences are staggering. News Corp will lose any interest remaining in BSKYB, a huge financial hit. The British government is reviewing the ”fitness” of News Corp. to own an interest in cable television as you read this. Illegal hacking to drive ITV out of business would make Murdoch’s News Corp. unfit. News Corp. would be liable for ITV’s losses, which would run in the billions of dollars. These are crimes and a number of people could end up in jail with heavy fines for corporate entities, Murdoch’s entities.
The 10,000 Adams emails are out there for public review. The emails as reported establish the Australian charges and supports those in Great Britain.
If you hear about Ray Adams turning and cooperating with the police, that’s the end of Murdoch and a heavy blow to News Corp. He’s not the entire case but he could make it happen in a hurry if he makes a deal.
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