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Phone Hacking Probe Extends To Stolen Cellphones

The British probe into Rupert Murdoch's tabloid operations has extended into an investigation of information obtained from stolen cellphones. The New York Times reports that a senior police officer testified that an investigation found payoffs were given to public officials and that medical and banking records were obtained illegally.

The Times adds:

"The officer, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Sue Akers of Scotland Yard, gave the most detailed assessment yet of the three investigations prompted by allegations in 2009 that The News of the World tabloid had illegally intercepted voice mail messages on an industrial scale.

"The newspaper was closed last summer under the weight of public outrage. But detectives have fresh details on a swath of related illegal activities, Ms. Akers told the panel headed by Lord Justice Sir Brian Leveson."

The Guardian goes into the evidence in depth. But here are some of the highlights:

-- Investigators have between 8 terabytes and 12 terabytes of information related to the investigation.

-- Some of that information seems to have come from stolen cell phones.

-- Police have told 2,615 that they may have been victims of hacking. "702 were likely to have been victims. There may have been more in the "likely to have been victims" list, but for one reason or another, the Met had been unable to contact those people," the Guardian reports.

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Eyder Peralta
Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.