INM says it wants alleged 2015 data access issue investigated
CEO tells staff company will facilitate audit of its computer systems
INM’s chief executive, Michael Doorly, promised staff it will revive an “editorial systems committee” as it looks to allay concerns over the security of the emails and other data of journalists.
Independent News & Media (INM) told its staff on Tuesday it will request internal and external investigators to look into allegations that the computers of some senior editors were examined by a cybersecurity expert in 2015.
INM’s chief executive, Michael Doorly, also promised staff it will revive an “editorial systems committee” as it looks to allay concerns over the security of the emails and other data of journalists.
He also said INM would facilitate an audit of its systems over the last 12 months to confirm that the privacy of staff communications was maintained recently. INM is currently the subject of several investigations into the handling of staff data in incidents going back more than five years.
The meeting was called after a weekend report in the Sunday Business Post that said Derek Mizak, a cybersecurity expert, was retained by the company’s former management in 2015 to examine the senior editors’ computers to find the source of a leak about a company matter to another publication.
The Post report aggravated the fears of existing staff, as INM is currently also the subject of an investigation by High Court inspectors and the Data Protection Commission (DPC) into allegations that INM emails were accessed by Mr Mizak in a separate incident in 2014.
At Tuesday’s meeting, Mr Doorly said he would request that the High Court inspectors also examine the 2015 incident. He also said an internal company investigation by Deloitte would look into it.
He told staff the 2015 incident had been outlined in a letter sent to the DPC by Mr Mizak last month.
It is understood that High Court inspectors are about to start interviewing people at INM as part of their investigation. They are thought to be working from the Distillery building in Smithfield and will not interview onsite at INM’s offices.
Staff also asked Mr Doorly if INM is gearing up for a round of job cuts, although he couldn’t confirm details. It is rumoured INM may seek savings of up to €5 million, although it is unclear how much of this total would be accounted for by job cuts.
The company was unavailable for comment.