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Pippa Middleton 'has good reason to fear all iCloud information has been hacked'

Published 28/09/2016

Pippa Middleton is listed as the claimant in a case scheduled to be heard at the High Court in London on Wednesday
Pippa Middleton is listed as the claimant in a case scheduled to be heard at the High Court in London on Wednesday

The Duchess of Cambridge's sister has "good reason" to fear that all information held in her iCloud account has been hacked, a High Court judge has said.

Mrs Justice Whipple has heard that photographs from Pippa Middleton's iCloud account have been offered for sale to national newspapers.

She said Miss Middleton had told how the account contained "other private information" and feared that "material" had also been accessed.

The judge indicated that she thought Miss Middleton's fears were justified.

Miss Middleton - and her fiance, James Matthews - have taken civil court action against a "person or persons unknown" as a result of pictures allegedly being taken from the account.

The judge has made orders barring publication of photographs and other material held on the account after hearing lawyers representing Miss Middleton outline evidence at a hearing at the High Court in London.

"Someone has apparently accessed the First Claimant's iCloud account and the material held on it," said Mrs Justice Whipple in a ruling on the case.

"Photographs held on that iCloud account have been offered for sale to the national press.

"The person(s) offering the photographs for sale has/have sought to avoid being identified.

"He or she has, or they have, communicated with the press in ways which are designed to be untraceable.

"The photographs which have been offered for sale are personal to the Claimants. They include photographs of family, friends and places of personal importance."

Mrs Justice Whipple added: "(Miss Middleton) states that her iCloud account contains other private information beyond photographs. She fears that this material too has been accessed."

She went on: "(Miss Middleton) has good reason to fear that all the information held in her iCloud account has been accessed."

Police are investigating and Miss Middleton had told the judge that a man had been arrested on suspicion of accessing her iCloud account without authorisation.

Officers say a 35-year-old man has been released on police bail - pending further inquiries - after being arrested at an address in Northamptonshire late on Saturday on suspicion of an offence under the Computer Misuse Act.

Mrs Justice Whipple said the man had been named as Nathan Wyatt - and he had been represented at the High Court hearing by solicitor Richard Egan.

"However, it is as yet not clear who was responsible for accessing the (Miss Middleton's) account," said the judge.

"As things stand, the identity of the Defendants remains unknown."

She added: "For that reason, this application is made against 'Person or Persons Unknown'."

Mrs Justice Whipple said Miss Middleton and Mr Matthews had argued their right to respect for private life - enshrined in Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights - would be infringed if material from the iCloud account was published.

The judge said their arguments were "very strong".

"From the evidence before me, it appears that the information has been obtained by hacking into (Miss Middleton's) iCloud account," said the judge.

"If that has occurred, that would be a criminal act.

"On any view, it is an appalling intrusion into the claimants' private life."

She added: "Any use by publication or sale of the information would be misuse of private information."

Neither Miss Middleton nor Mr Matthews were at the High Court hearing - but Miss Middleton had given information to the judge in a written statement.

The couple's legal team had been led by barrister Adam Wolanski.

He told the judge that there may have been misuse of private information, breach of confidence, infringement of copyright and breaches of statutory obligations owed under data protection legislation.

Mr Wolanski said Miss Middleton thought that there had been a "genuine hack".

He said there had been a "flagrant", "dishonest" and "criminal act" which had caused Miss Middleton "considerable distress".

Mr Wolanski said photographs had not been published by English or Welsh newspapers

He said "Fleet Street" had alerted Miss Middleton to the issue.

Mrs Justice Whipple's order covers the legal jurisdiction of England and Wales.

Mr Wolanski said there were limitations to the effect her order would have on anyone based outside England and Wales.

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