Telecoms provider Vodafone is at the centre of a major privacy breach after it inadvertently handed over the call records of more than 1,700 people working for News UK to the Metropolitan Police.
Those hit by the lapse include journalists, lawyers, secretarial staff and senior executives, providing an unexpected bounty for investigators piecing together the phone hacking scandal.
Officers held onto the material, scrutinising it for a period of seven months, despite desperate requests from Vodafone for the information to be returned.
A Vodafone spokesperson blamed the breach on ‘human error’, stating: “After seeking an opinion from a leading human rights QC, we wrote to the Met to express our grave concern that the police continued to retain the data released to them in error.”
Staff from The Times, The Sunday Times and The Sun are thought to be caught up in the debacle and is currently being investigated by both the Information Commissioner and the Interception of Communications Commissioner’s Office