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Contributing writer

News International security chief arrested in phone hacking case

Mar 14, 20122 mins
CybercrimeData and Information SecurityHacking

Scotland Yard arrested six people, including Mark Hanna, the media company's director of group security since 2009

Add one significant — and different — title to more than 30 current and former employees of News International, the News Corp. subsidiary that publishes Rupert Murdoch’s British newspapers, who have been arrested in a phone hacking scandal.

The Guardian newspaper reported yesterday that Scotland Yard had arrested six people, including Mark Hanna, the media company’s director of group security since 2009. While details are limited so far — there has been no statement from law enforcement on what role, if any, Hanna may have played in the phone hacking — like the others this week, he was arrested, “on suspicion of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice,” according to the Guardian.

Which is another way of saying that Hanna, along with Rebekah Brooks, the former News International chief executive and former editor of the Sun and the News of the World, and four others, are suspected of attempting to cover up alleged crimes such as bribing police or illegally intercepting voice mail or email.

Hanna is the first information security employee to be arrested. The others are executives, editors and reporters.

It was the second arrest for Brooks. She was first arrested last July 17 in connection with phone hacking and corruption allegations, and had been free on bail. This time her husband, racehorse trainer Charlie Brooks, a longtime friend of Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron, was also arrested.

Still, in spite of the dozens of arrests, months of investigation and dozens of resignations, including James Murdoch, son of Rupert and former chairman of News International and Rebekah Brooks, no one has been formally charged so far. A statement from Scotland Yard said, “a number of addresses connected to the arrests are being searched.

There was no word on whether Hanna had resigned. His LinkedIn profile says he has been at News International since April 2009.

Police investigating phone hacking have said that as many as 5,800 people, including celebrities, crime victims, politicians and members of the British royal family, may have been targets by journalists working for Murdoch.

The hackers allegedly eavesdropped on voice mail by entering a personal identification number to access messages remotely.

News International has reportedly paid settlements to (among others) actor Jude Law, former soccer star Paul Gascoigne, actress Sienna Miller and Welsh singer Charlotte Church. The scandal began a decade ago, when reporters got voice mails of a missing 13-year-old girl who was later found murdered.