BBC to tackle political hackers

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The Independent Online
BBC news departments have been ordered to tighten up security measures on their computers after an internal report suggesting that hackers from the political parties have tapped in their systems.

A BBC spokesman last night confirmed that minutes of an internal meeting of the current affair directorate's technology group said new security measures were now operating to ensure people change their password. He added: "Recently, problems have occurred with security and the political parties have managed to access BBC News and Current Affairs running orders."

However, he denied that there was any evidence of hacking into the BBC computers by spin doctors from the political parties. "A section of the minutes does say that but they do not accurately reflect what happened at the meeting. There is no evidence that this has happened despite what it says in the minutes. Of course security has been stepped up recently but that is just to be expected in our newsrooms," he said.

The BBC is keen it should not be seen to be bowing to pressure from spin doctors. It was put in an embarrassing position last autumn when Tony Blair's press secretary, Alastair Campbell, faxed newsrooms insisting they not to lead bulletins with the acquittal of OJ Simpson but with Mr Blair's speech.