Privacy issue goes beyond papers

More than 10 multinational corporations, including accountants, law firms and banks, have been named by a British newspaper as being implicated in the UK phone hacking scandal.

The revelation has put pressure on the Leveson Inquiry to extend beyond the media.

British newspaper The Mail revealed major accounting firms, banks, law firms and a construction company were on a classified Serious Organised Crime Agency [SOCA] list.

The list, containing more than 100 companies accused of using private detectives to perform illegal acts, was passed on to MPs on the Home Affairs Committee last month.

The existence of the list emerged two months ago; since then, there have been repeated calls to release the names of the companies.

However, former SOCA chairman Sir Ian Andrews prevented publication of the names as it could “substantially undermine the financial viability of major organisations by tainting them with public association with criminality.”

This week, The Mail took matters into its own hands.

“Today, this newspaper is listing the names of companies and individuals who are linked to the convicted detectives,” it wrote in an article.

It linked 15 companies in total to rogue private detectives.

While the fact the companies named on the list may not have committed any wrongdoing, they were still implicated in the scandal.

“The lack of curiosity from the police in this matter is striking,” The Mail wrote in an editorial on Sunday.

“At the inquiry, evidence of the ‘SOCA list’ of clients was presented to Lord Justice Leveson, yet he chose not to investigate its contents. Why is this?

“When it comes to state investigations into invasions of privacy, it seems that there is a huge imbalance between treatment of the press and treatment of blue-chip companies.”

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