Who was hacked? An investigation into phone hacking and its victims – Part 1: News of the World

MST report cover


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.

Read the full report – Who was hacked? An Investigation into Phone Hacking and its Victims. Part 1 – The News of the World


This was originally posted by the Media Standards Trust, you can read the original here. Published by kind permission.



Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

Roy Stockdillreply
March 27, 2015 at 04:03 PM

And still nobody at Hacked Off or its supporters will answer my question as to why the Met Police and CPS have not investigated and instigated action against hackers in other industries and professions, like lawyers, bankers, councils, and big companies! Until someone is prepared to comment on this, I will continue to regard the fact that it is restricted entirely to an attack on journalists – some of whose lives and livelihoods have been destroyed and others who have been left in limbo for three years – as a vicious witch hunt by a totalitarian state and the pretentious, self righteous Lefties, who now appear to run this country and are eaten up with hatred for Murdoch and other newspaper proprietors, as a gross attack on freedom of the press and democracy.

Of course the press has its faults, what institution doesn’t, but the current assault on freedom of speech is the worst in over three centuries, since the days of the Star Chamber in the reign of James I in fact. Would you rather have the press we have, warts and all, than the state-controlled press of Russia, China, North Korea, Saudi Arabia and other dictatorships? I suspect many of the supporters of Hacked Off would!

Rick Jewellreply
March 27, 2015 at 06:03 PM
– In reply to: Roy Stockdill

If you are suggesting, Roy, that you have evidence that you know ‘hackers in other industries and professions, like lawyers, bankers, councils, and big companies’ have been hacking you have a civic duty to report these suspicions. If you are writing this statement with no evidence then you are only acting like the right wing press, that you defend so markedly, and supporters of Hacked Off are complaining about, so is this statement of yours true or just made up, i.e. invented, to support your argument?

March 27, 2015 at 04:03 PM

Oh grow up, Roy. If you really want to work for the Daily Mail, just send in your CV to Paul Dacre.

Rick Jewellreply
March 27, 2015 at 06:03 PM

If there were far more Labour politicians hacked than Conservative politicians it explains why Cameron needed Coulson’s contacts and ‘expertise’.

Roy Stockdillreply
March 27, 2015 at 07:03 PM

Dan (whoever you are and I have challenged you to have the guts to reveal your full and real name, which so far you haven’t done because you are patently a coward hiding behind a pseudonym), I have no desire to work for the Mail or anyone else because, as I have told you repeatedly, I am a pensioner of 74 and I work for myself as a professional genealogist. a second career I embarked upon when I left Fleet Street in 1997, well before the phone hacking occurred. I enjoy my life now but I am still prepared to defend old colleagues from attacks by bitter, sanctimonious Lefties who are probably eaten up with envy because tabloid journalists earned more than they did!

Having spent almost half a century in newspapers, 30 years of them in Fleet Street working for Murdoch newspapers, I have absolutely nothing to apologise for. I know and still know many of my former tabloid colleagues on papers like the Sun, Mail, Mirror etc, and I can say without exception they are and were highly professional, fast, clever and accurate journalists working for SUCCESSFUL newspapers with big circulations, which of course, is why they are so hated by the Loony Lefties of Hacked Off and The Guardian. I and many others could have walked into jobs on The Guardian, Independent and other so-called “posh” papers but we didn’t because we on the tabloids earned more money. It upsets you, admit it!

October 14, 2015 at 08:10 AM

I’ve bookmarked this page so I can return to read it again. I feel you have made some interesting points that I agree with and your writing skills are great.

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