The UK’s Independent Police Complains Commission (IPCC) on Thursday confirmed it had launched an investigation into allegations that a unit of Scotland Yard obtained access to email accounts of journalists and environmental activists in the country through hackers based in India.
The Yard’s National Domestic Extremism and Disorder Intelligence Unit (NDEDIU) was accused by a whistleblower – believed to be a serving or retired officer – of obtaining the services of computer hackers via counterparts in India.
“The hackers are alleged to have illegally accessed the email accounts of named individuals who were members of political and environmental pressure groups. Further allegations include the accessing of emails belonging to journalists,” the IPCC said in a statement.
Calling for the whistleblower to make contact, it said the investigation was looking at whether officers from NDEDIU contacted Indian counterparts and if the services of computer hackers in India were obtained to access email accounts.
It will also examine if any officers within NDEDIU used any information gained from this contact if it took place.
IPCC deputy chair Sarah Green said: “These are clearly serious allegations and the IPCC is conducting a comprehensive investigation into the matters raised. This will be a complex investigation given the potential involvement of foreign participants.”
“We would like to hear from the officer who brought these allegations to light or any other officers or police staff who may be able to provide information of use to the IPCC investigation.”