Thursday, February 14, 2008

Email, every case seems to come down to email

The murky world of pay TV pirates
If few remarked on Adams’s departure in May 2002 during the hullabaloo, no one noticed a minor incident involving his vehicle. According to NDS, someone broke into the family car that month and stole the hard drive from his laptop. The hard drive contained some 26,000 pages of confidential NDS documents, including hundreds of pages of internal NDS emails detailing the activities of its covert operations group.

In a global hunt to retrieve the documents, NDS lawyers appeared in a Vancouver court last September, where they claimed the hard drive had been obtained by Plamen Donev, a Bulgarian hacker who had been on the NDS payroll. He had passed copies of the documents to Canadian satellite pirates on two CDs.

The Vancouver hearing was just an outlying skirmish related to a much larger case due to go to trial in April in the California District Court, where EchoStar (and its smartcard provider, NagraStar Corp) is claiming $US1 billion damages against NDS for industrial espionage in a trial.

The EchoStar lawsuit quotes extensively from an explosive series of NDS emails that NDS says came from the missing hard drive. EchoStar says it obtained the emails from a range of sources.

The issue of source seems beside the point. The bottom line is that on NDS’s own account, the innermost secrets of its undercover ops are on CDs being hawked around the world in a boxed set.

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