Republic of Ireland news

INM newspaper editors' computer hard drives 'secretly copied'

Independent News and Media
Brendan Hughes

A DATA protection watchdog in the Republic is examining how the computer hard drives of up to six newspaper editors were removed from their desks at night and secretly copied.

The Office of the Data Protection Commissioner (ODPC) is examining the matter as part of its probe into newspaper group Independent News and Media (INM).

It launched an investigation earlier this year into whether personal data was accessed in an alleged data breach some years ago at INM, affecting numerous people including journalists.

The Sunday Business Post yesterday reported that the editors' computer hard drives were removed at night and copied.

They were then returned during the night after special software was used to disguise the copying of data.

The data was then taken off-site in mid-2015 and examined by computing experts in the office of a third party based in Dublin.

According to the newspaper, the data copying was initiated to identify who had leaked an internal memo that was later reprinted verbatim in the Phoenix magazine.

ODCE began an investigation into INM in March after a clash between the company's then chief executive and chairman in 2016 over the terms of a possible acquisition of radio station Newstalk.

The High Court earlier this year agreed to appoint inspectors to INM following an application by the Office Director of Corporate Enforcement.

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