Yes emails were hacked police confirm

0
475

  By a Newsnet reporter
 
Private emails sent from the account of a Yes Scotland member were accessed illegally, a police investigation has concluded.
 
However despite intensive enquiries which included interviews with journalists and digital companies overseas, the culprit has yet to be identified.

In a statement issued to Newsnet Scotland, Police Scotland said: “Officers from Police Scotland conducted a full and thorough investigation, in both Scotland and overseas (Europe and America) in connection with unauthorised access of an e-mail account and those enquiries are now complete.

“The person who accessed the e-mail account has not been identified, however, should additional information come to light, that will be further investigated.”

Fears that Yes Scotland emails were being hacked emerged in the summer of 2013 after information that could only have been gleaned from an email account of a Yes member fell into the hands of a journalist.

Commenting at the time, Yes Scotland head Blair Jenkins called the illegal access of confidential messages an “assault on democracy”.

Mr Jenkins said: “This is a deliberate and quite sinister attempt to illegally access Yes Scotland email.”

He added: “We know this is serious, we know it’s been done with a level of sophistication, we don’t know what lies behind this.”

The episode witnessed email messages being sent to Yes Scotland board members by the hacker.  When news of the police investigation broke, the culprit sent messages which appeared to indicate a degree of nervousness at the investigation.

 “If you want to rein in the officials and in return be granted a full disclosure of my ‘intrusion’ then I shall be more than happy to comply. In addition, you can be assured that there will be no publication of documents. Let me know if there’s a compromise to be reached.” Said one.

In another email, the individual appeared to threaten blackmail: “My offer to disclose all remains, thereby ensuring you have full comfort and control of all the facts. My find was purely by accident, however, I will have absolutely no hesitation in releasing this in full.

“There is sufficient public interest for disclosure and that in itself would work to my advantage.”

Commenting on the conclusion of the investigation, a spokesman for Yes Scotland said: “We appreciate the time, effort and professionalism the officers of Police Scotland invested in what has been a very difficult and protracted investigation – more than eight months, in fact.  Regrettably, the hacker remains at large.

“It is to be regretted that there was a reluctance by digital service companies in two countries outwith the UK to co-operate fully with requests from the Scottish detectives.”

Rival organisation Better Together, which had previously called the investigation, “extraordinary waste of police time”, this time went further and accused Yes Scotland head Blair Jenkins of having made his claims up.

A spokesperson for the anti-independence campaign told the Herald, “This has been a sorry episode. In order to try and deflect attention from the fact that the Yes camp were paying people to write nice things about them, Blair Jenkins concocted a story about their email system being hacked and then sent his spin doctors out to whisper about who was behind it all.

Despite Police Scotland confirming confidential emails had been accessed, but the identity of the culprit remained unknown, the Better Together insider added: “This statement from Police Scotland exposes the truth.

“The Yes Scotland email system was not hacked. There were no ‘force or forces unknown.’ There was no ‘assault on democracy’.”