Who was hacked? An investigation into phone hacking and its victims – Part 1: News of the World is the first systematic attempt to analyse who was hacked by the News of the World and the context in which they were hacked.
The report finds that :
1. Police estimate that 5,500 people were ‘likely’ or ‘potential’ victims of News of the World phone hacking. This figure may rise as new evidence comes to light
2. Over two-thirds (69%) of 591 people who settled claims with News International were not celebrities or public figures
3. Many of these non-public figures were not the primary target but were closely connected to the primary target. They were, for example, the partner or ex-partner of a public figure (33%), or a work colleague (25%) or a friend or acquaintance (14%) or a parent or step parent (13%)
4. Less than a third of the primary targets came from the world of entertainment or music. The rest were from sport, politics, journalism, the police, the Royal Household, the law, and the military, amongst others
5. In just under one in ten cases the people targeted had been caught up in a personal tragedy – a relative had died or been murdered, a drug trial had gone wrong, or they had been injured in a terrorist attack
6. Four consecutive Home Secretaries from 1997 to 2007 are reported to have been hacked, as well as many senior officers from the Metropolitan Police
The report has analysed 303 people who settled claims with News UK in court; 288 people who settled claims through the News International compensation scheme; 77 people who we know were targeted through evidence given during the hacking trial and other court cases, and 102 people who are reported to have been hacked (in the press or in recent books).
All the named victims and reported victims are published online (and can be found online in Google spreadsheets).
Due to the incomplete, inconclusive and sometimes incoherent nature of the evidence, we will never know exactly how many people were hacked by the News of the World.
Phone hacking was one of a range of methods of gathering personal information, and was often one of the less directly intrusive. Others included blagging, pinging, paying informants and tailing.
This report focuses on the actions and consequences of one newspaper, the News of the World. It does not include the victims of Mirror Group Newspapers, which has recently admitted liability for phone hacking.