Given the current febrile atmosphere of the election campaign here in the UK, this is worth revisiting. A comprehensive report by the Media Standards trust shows how politically targeted phone hacking at News of the World was – mainly under the editorship of Andy Coulson (the only surviving phone records to confirm hacking date from a year or so of his editorship
A striking number of targets were people in positions important to national security. Four consecutive Home Secretaries from 1997 to 2007 are reported to have been hacked, as well as many senior officers from the Metropolitan police (including Sir Ian Blair, John Yates, Mike Fuller, Andy Hayman, Brian Paddick and Ali Dizaei).
And it turns out that the News of the World was seven times more likely to hack a Labour politician than a Conservative one.
But what emerges most clearly is that the great majority of those who were hacked were people most of us had never heard of. Many were connected to public figures, but often simply by being related to them, or working with them, or being their friends. You might be hacked because you were, for example, the partner or ex-partner of a public figure, or a work colleague or a friend or acquaintance or a parent or step-parent.