Wednesday, July 20, 2011

News Corp. Subsidiary Involved in NJ Hacking Case?

New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg is calling on the FBI to investigate claims that a New Jersey company was hacked by a subsidiary of News Corporation, which is already under scrutiny for hacking allegations and admissions of wrongdoing in the UK. The allegations go back to 2005 and Lautenberg is now asking the FBI to look at this case in light of the more recent allegations and admissions:
Lautenberg initially wrote to U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales in 2005 asking him to look into a claim by Hamilton Township-based FLOORgraphics that its computers were hacked by News Corp. subsidiary News America Marketing on 11 occasions over a two-year period.

FLOORgraphics later sued the company for the computer hacking and other questionable competitive practices.

"News employed numerous illicit tactics in a prolonged and concerted effort to destroy (FLOORgraphics)," said a complaint filed by the company in 2006.

FLOORgraphics settled with News America Marketing and was later bought out for $29.5 million.

"At the time of my letter in 2005, I was informed by FLOORgraphics that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, the FBI and the U.S. Secret Service initiated an investigation into allegations that News America illegally gained access to FLOORgraphics’s password-protected computer system and obtained FLOORgraphics’s confidential data," Lautenberg wrote today.

He also wrote that the Department of Justice and FBI should consider the case as it may be relevant to the current investigation of News Corp. subsidiaries.

Bloomberg News reported today that an attorney for News America Marketing conceded a computer there had been used to access the FLOORgraphics site.

That story reported that an investigation by New Jersey's Divison of Criminal Justice ended without charges being filed, according to Rachel Goemat, a spokeswoman for Division of Criminal Justice.
A 2009 trial included revelations that News America Marketing hacked into FLOORgraphics on several occasions in an effort to gain market share. That case was settled when the company was bought out by News America Marketing for $29.5 million. Apparently, the hacking began after the company refused to sell itself to News America.

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