UK energy companies clandestinely monitoring climate change activists: Leaked documents

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

LONDON - Leaked documents have shown that three large British energy companies have been paying a private security firm to gather information on climate change activists.

The Guardian quoted the leaked cables as saying that the security firm ‘Vericola’s’ owner, Rebecca Todd, has been passing on information about the activists to the executives of three companies-the energy giant E.ON, Britain’s second-biggest coal producer Scottish Resources Group and Scottish Power, one of the UK’s largest electricity-generators.

Todd’s firm had gathered information by hacking the activists’ emails. The leaked documents have also claimed that Todd had instructed an agent to attend campaign meetings and guided him on how to ‘ingratiate himself with activists’, the paper said.

Over the past three years, Todd, using different email addresses, has hacked a number of email addresses of environmental groups who have been organising major demonstrations like the G20 rallies in London, demonstrations against E.ON’s Kingsnorth power station and the expansion of Heathrow airport, the paper added.

Todd, who denies being a corporate spy, has said that she gathers all information through the websites of the environmental groups, adding that her company does not “infiltrate” meetings of protest groups because they are open to the public.

She said that her Canterbury based company Vericol is a “business risk management company” offering a “bespoke” service to clients “regarding potential threats” to their businesses.

Meanwhile, senior police officers have complained that spies hired by commercial firms are barely regulated, unlike their own agents. (ANI)

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