There’s more controversy facing Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, this time in Oz. After what it said was a 4-year investigation, The Australian Financial Review on Wednesday published a sample of over 14,000 internal emails from NDS -– the video software and content security firm in which News Corp holds a 49% stake and which is being sold to Cisco in a $5B deal. The Australian newspaper said the emails were from the hard drive of a former UK police commander, Ray Adams, who was once head of operational security for NDS in Europe. The report alleges the emails show that a secret NDS unit damaged News Corp rivals Austar, Optus and Foxtel by encouraging pirating of the companies. “NDS sabotaged business rivals, fabricated legal actions and obtained telephone records illegally,” the newspaper said. The piracy, says the report, cost the companies up to $50 million a year. Foxtel, in which News Corp is a shareholder, is now in the process of acquiring Austar. (The Australian competition authority will decide imminently whether that deal can go ahead.) A spokeswoman for the police in Australia told The New York Times she could not immediately confirm whether a criminal investigation had been opened over the allegations in the Financial Review report. News Corp’s Australian arm News Limited said, “The story is full of factual inaccuracies, flawed references, fanciful conclusions and baseless accusations which have been disproved in overseas courts,” according to Reuters. The allegations by the Australian paper follow a BBC One documentary on the Panorama program that aired Monday night that claimed NDS had paid a consultant to intercept and publish the smartcard codes of ITV’s now-defunct OnDigital. Earlier this week, News Corp released this statement: “News Corporation is proud to have worked with NDS, whose industry-leading technology has transformed TV viewing for millions of people across the world, and to have supported them in their aggressive fight against piracy and copyright infringement.”
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