Met Arrests Ex-Times Journalist In Computer Hacking Investigation

Tom Brewster is TechWeek Europe's Security Correspondent. He has also been named BT Information Security Journalist of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

Former Times journalist and Guardian and Telegraph freelancer arrested

The Metropolitan Police Service has arrested a former Times journalist in an investigation into computer hacking offences.

The Met said a 28-year-old man had been arrested at his home address in North London this morning as part of Operation Tuleta, the investigation into criminal breaches of privacy including computer hacking running alongside the phone-hacking scandal investigation.

He was arrested for suspected offences under the Computer Misuse Act 1990 and suspected conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

Journo in trouble?

Reports have noted the journalist in question is Patrick Foster, a former Oxford University student and Times trainee who has also done freelance work for the Guardian and the Daily Telegraph.

He is being questioned at a North London police station about alleged computer hacking relating to the identification of a previously anonymous blogger in 2009. It is believed that blogger is Richard Horton, who was unmasked as the former police constable behind the NightJack blog in that year.

After he was identified, Horton was reprimanded by police chiefs and the blog was closed.

Back in January, it emerged a Times reporter was alleged to have “gained unauthorised access to an email account”, trying to get details about a story. James Harding, editor at The Times, told the Leveson Inquiry he became aware of a journalist who had used computer hacking to acquire information.

“The reporter believed he was seeking to gain information in the public interest but we took the view he had fallen short of what was expected of a Times journalist. He was issued with a formal written warning for professional misconduct,” Harding said.

Earlier this year, Ofcom said it was to investigate Sky News’ hacking of email accounts, after the broadcaster admitted it had accessed the accounts of “canoe man” John Darwin and his wife Anne.

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