Belfast Telegraph

'Number of disclosures' in INM data breach probe

Former CEO: Robert Pitt
Former CEO: Robert Pitt

By Conor Feehan and Shane Phelan

The Office of the Data Protection Commissioner (ODPC) in the Republic says its inquiry into alleged data breaches at Independent News & Media (INM) - owner of the Belfast Telegraph - is "very much an evolving picture".

In a statement issued last night Graham Doyle, head of communications with the ODPC, said a number of disclosures had been made to its office.

"We are examining a number of voluntary disclosures we have requested and received from a number of parties relevant to our statutory inquiry," Mr Doyle said.

"It is very much an evolving picture in which we cannot comment specifically now. As matters are evolving, it is also difficult to put a timeline on conclusion.

"What I can say is that we have a senior investigator, who is a qualified barrister, on our staff leading the investigation and a number of resources assigned to him actively progressing the inquiry."

Meanwhile, the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) is to seek an immediate meeting with INM following reports that hard drives and emails of senior staff were searched without their permission.

The allegations - reported in the Sunday Business Post - said the company's former CEO Robert Pitt ordered a search of hard drives and emails of up to six editors after a memo from his personal assistant was published in The Phoenix magazine.

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Speaking to the Irish Independent, the NUJ's Seamus Dooley described the reported claims as "deeply disturbing" and said they "raise the most serious questions for the company".

"Editors must be able to exercise their duties without interference," he said.

Belfast Telegraph