The Guardian reports:
Scotland Yard has been asked to inspect thousands of files that could reveal whether its officers unlawfully procured mobile phone-tracking data for News of the World reporters.
There were half a million requests by public authorities for communications data in the UK last year – of which almost 144,000 were demands for “traffic” data, which includes location.
A Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) member has asked the force to investigate allegations that News of the World reporters were able to purchase this data from police for £300 per request.
The claims were made by Sean Hoare, the News of the World whistleblower, days before he was found dead at his home on Monday. His disclosure about the purchase of illicit location data was first made to the New York Times, which said the practice was confirmed by a second source at the tabloid. Police have said Hoare’s death was not suspicious.
Mobile phone location data, which is highly regulated, would give tabloid reporters access to a method of almost total surveillance, arguably even more intrusive than hacking into phone messages.