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News Corp 'knew employee was net hacker'

Kept on payroll after allegations emerged

A News Corp executive has confirmed that the company kept two internet hackers on the payroll even after their alleged activities had been revealed.

Media Network Dish is suing News Corp for $900m (about £450m) in lost revenue and system-repair costs following a pirated smart-card scandal that allowed the US public to access the service for free.

Dish has alleged that News Corp is behind the scandal and deliberately employed Christopher Tarnovsky to hack into Dish's satellite network, steal security codes and create pirated smart cards, which were released into the public domain.

According to Reuters, News Corp employee Abraham Peled admitted during the trial that despite being made aware in 2001 that Tarnovsky had posted information on the internet to let users unscramble Dish's network and receive a free service, the hacker remained on News Corp's payroll and was not fired until 2007 .

"We made it clear that these people were turning over to the good side and are expected to fight piracy instead of engage in it and we trusted Mr Tarnovsky and instructed him not to do so," Peled said.

"Obviously, there's a theoretical risk [in hiring hackers]."

The trial continues.


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