Friday 8 May 2009

Telegraph buys stolen personal data

Bastion of conservative values and defender of British citizens' right to privacy The Telegraph has paid up to £300,000 for 650 cleaning bills.

The stolen data disk which held the bills along with various other expense claims made by money grabbing MPs for such frivolities as ivory toilet seats and new boilers had originally been offered to less reputable tabloid newspapers such as The Daily Express and The Sun, but the low-brow publications had declined to do business with the anonymous data tout.

A source from The Express said: 'He said to meet him down by the docks with a brown envelope containing £300k in unmarked bills, and not to bring any friends. He spoke through a Darth Vader voice changer and sounded a bit scary so I said no.'

The information contained on the disk was 'unredacted', meaning that ministers' private mobile phone numbers, phone records, and contact details of any contractors who had carried out work at their houses was stored alongside costs.

The expense records had initially also been offered by the mole at £10,000 per minister as part of a Pokemon style collectable series. The Sunday Express agreed to buy a copy of Jacqui Smith's expenses, details of which it subsequently published in March.

However, when the mole called to arrange payment, he was told that everybody at The Express was on holiday and didn't know anything about any Jacqui Smith expenses story anyway so stop calling.

The incident prompted the source to devise a new contract with stricter confidentiality rules and the threat of 'sleeping with the fishes' if it happened again.

The Telegraph claims the case reveals a 'lack of moral leadership' on the part of the ministers in question.

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