News of the World may have hacked 7/7 families’ voicemails

6 Jul 2011

The News of the World hacking scandal is spreading, with news now emerging that reporters hacked the voicemails of families of victims of the 7/7 bombings. The news comes in the wake of a scandal over the tabloid allegedly hacking murder victim Milly Dowler’s mobile phone.

In the past week, it has been claimed that a private investigator employed by The News of the World, Glenn Mulcaire, accessed Dowler’s voicemail messages after she went missing.

Now it has emerged that several bereaved families’ phones were hacked by the Sunday tabloid following the 7 July 2005 bombings in London.

Senior Scotland Yard detectives have warned families that they featured on a list of potential hacking victims.

There have been lists of brand names circulating on Twitter in recent days with the intention of mobilising consumers to urge top brands to no longer advertise with the newspaper as a sign of revulsion at the hacking efforts.

Brands that have so far suspended advertising include car manufacturer Ford. According to RTÉ, Aer Lingus is considering suspending its advertising in the newspaper. Halifax and Npower are also reconsidering.

The scandal is likely to lead to fresh calls for News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks’ resignation, since she was the newspaper’s editor at the time of the alleged hacking incidents.

But it also raises the question as to why mobile phone voicemail accounts can be hacked in the first place.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years