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Information Commissioner faces MPs

The Information Commissioner has been called to give evidence to MPs over the publication of a controversial list of clients of rogue private investigators.

Christopher Graham is set to appear before the Home Affairs Select Committee on Tuesday.

Trevor Pearce, director general of the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca), has refused to release the document despite an ultimatum from MPs.

His rejection paves the way for the committee to publish the names on the list - featuring law firms, insurance companies, financial services groups and celebrities - following threats from chairman Keith Vaz if it was not disclosed by Monday.

Writing in a blog, Mr Graham said: "It's not clever to start a criminal investigation by publishing the names of everyone and everything you're investigating. That's why we've stated we're not publishing the list at this stage, and why I've written to Keith Vaz MP to urge similar patience on the part of his Select Committee."

Mr Vaz said: "Following representations that the committee has received from the Information Commissioner we have called him to give evidence to the committee on Tuesday.

"We will hear his views on the issue of the publication of the Soca list and related matters."

The names of around 100 firms and individuals who allegedly used corrupt private investigators was handed from Soca to the committee earlier this year on condition it was not published - sparking a row over transparency.

The so-called "blue-chip hacking" list was drawn up at the request of the committee and relates to Soca's Operation Millipede, which led to the conviction of four private detectives for fraud last year.

The Information Commissioner's Office last week announced its own investigation into nearly 100 of the private eyes' clients.


From Belfast Telegraph