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Submission + - NewsCorp/NDS Operation Johnny Walker - Enter Chris Tarnovsky (

Presto Vivace writes: "Neil Chenoweth

The plan was recorded in an NDS internal email dated November 24 1997. Tarnovsky would produce pirate software and pirate programmer devices on order from a group of Canadian pirate dealers, which would be engineered in a way that meant that the pirate cards they produced could be “killed” by an electronic counter measure by DirecTV. The object was to disrupt the pirates’ business model and cashflow. And it was all subject to getting approval from Larry Rissler at DirecTV. Ron Ereiser said later that the warning lights were there that Tarnovsky was working for NDS, but at the time “I didn’t have a clue.” Tarnovsky testified about his undercover role in the 2008 EchoStar trial. The trickiest moment was when one of the pirates saw from his ticket that he had caught a connecting flight to meet them in Calgary via Dallas, Texas. NDS had secretly moved Tarnovsky and his family to southern California to live, which was why his ticket went via Dallas, but his cover story was that he lived in Virginia.


Submission + - NewsCorp/NDS sets up operation to expose Canadian pirates, what could go wrong? (

Presto Vivace writes: "Murdoch's Pirates is a business book that reads like a thriller. The chapter excerpted in the Sydney Morning Herald explains how Operation Duck, an effort to discover the identify Canadian pay TV pirates, went horribly wrong.

By October 25 Oliver had been in Toronto four days and had programmed a swag of pirate cards, using a program he had ripped off another pirate hack. And he had been paid a lot of money. That evening, he met with two piracy dealers in a car and programmed a few cards for them with his portable programmer box, to demonstrate that it worked.

The following night Oliver received a call from a friend in London, a partner in his old piracy ring, who was sleeping with a woman who worked for Federal Express. 'He told me, these guys [from the previous night] sent a parcel to Larry Rissler,' Oliver recalls.

Rissler was a former FBI agent who headed the Office of Signal Integrity—the operational security division—of DirecTV, and he had been hunting Oliver for some time. One of the dealers Oliver had met was a Rissler informant and he had despatched a re-programmed smartcard by FedEx to his boss. The parcel would be with Rissler early the next morning—if it wasn't already there.

The story reads like some perverse blend of James Bond and the Pink Panther. It is just amazing."


Submission + - Court testimony about the missing hard drive in the Echostar vs News Corp case (

Presto Vivace writes: "How Ray Adams’ hard drive disappeared

NDS Operational Security chief Reuven Hasak on how Ray Adams’ hard drive went missing, and his plan to sue him immediately after the 2008 EchoStar trial. (This does not appear to have occurred). Given the strength of Hasak’s comments it would be very surprising then if any branch of News Corporation or its associates had ever provided financial or other assistance to Adams, directly or indirectly, after his departure from NDS in May 2002.

Somehow the hard drive feel into the hands of the Australian Financial Review. They have put the emails of Ray Adams online for downloading at their Pay TV Pirates page."

United Kingdom

Submission + - Tom Watson calls for inquiry into Murdoch/NDS payments to police (

Presto Vivace writes: "The AFR is reporting that Tom Watson, the British MP who has been investigating the News International phone hacking scandal, is calling for an investigation into an NDS police informants fund which paid a total of £15,023 to British police.

The bulk of the £15,023 was paid in cash. In internal NDS emails, Ray Adams, a former commander in the Metropolitan Police who was European chief of NDS Operational Security, described how he made sure there was no paper trail for payments and boasted of being able to obtain confidential information about airport arrivals and to track rental cars in the UK.

Any inquiry would complicate things for News Corp in the US."


Submission + - News Corp/NDS forces DocumentCloud to take down emails (

Presto Vivace writes: "When the Australian Financial Review published its series on News Corp's pay TV pirates, it asked DocumentCloud to host the internal NDS emails which documented the allegations. Last week DocumentCloud was forced to take down the emails when NDS threatened legal action and the Financial Review declined to indemnify it. The Financial Review reports that:

DocumentCloud is a free service operated by journalism organization Investigative Reporters and Editors at the University of Missouri. It aims to enable newspapers, websites and broadcasters to host documents supporting investigative reports.
The website uses open source – or community developed – technologies to scan and index information, allowing users to quickly search hundreds or even thousands of pages for references to people, places, dates,company names and key terms.

The NDS emails are available as zip files at the Financial Review's server.
Because DocumentCloud uses open source software,

any news organization — or anyone else — is free to use DocumentCloud’s code to build its own hosted version, on its own secure server, with many of the same capabilities, Aron Pilhofer, DocumentCloud’s co-founder told me. Pilhofer, who is also interactive news editor at The New York Times, said that provides a little bit of breathing room for news organizations whose lawyers may be wary of exposing newspapers to risk through partnering with a third-party.


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