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ICO drops News of the Screws probe

Missing emails might be missing, might not be

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The Information Commissioner's Office is dropping an investigation into alleged disappearance of emails at Sunday redtop the News of the World.

The data regulator was looking at allegations that emails between senior executives and journalists at the News of the World had been lost while being transported to India. It said it was ending the probe despite the lack of evidence provided by the paper.

Information Commissioner Christopher Graham said he had received assurances from News Group Newspapers (NGN) that in fact no emails were transferred to India.

He said: "I have seen no evidence to contradict this assurance and have concluded that NGN is likely to have complied with the rules set out in the Data Protection Act (DPA)....This case also raised the question of whether information had been kept secure, a separate requirement of the DPA (Principle 7). We have asked NGN to provide us with meaningful answers to questions about the alleged loss and apparent subsequent recovery of the emails. However, they have declined to do so because the matters in question remain sub judice pending final decisions being made in respect of an appeal application."

Graham said because the case remained sub judice, and given the lack of evidence, the investigation was closed.

Graham said: "If the current situation changes substantially or further evidence is brought to our attention, we will review the case.”

The Metropolitan Police recently reopened its investigation into the tabloid following further revelations regarding methods used by the paper. ®

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