In Australia, News Corp’s pay-TV platform Foxtel has denied any involvement in promoting piracy following allegations that a covert unit within NDS set out to sabotage rivals. The Australian Financial Review (AFR) had reported that a unit within News Corporation hacked smartcards of Austar – a competitor to the partly News Corporation-owned Foxtel.
The allegations come days after the BBC’s Panorama rehearsed similar allegations of abetting hacking of BSkyB rival ITV Digital; allegations denied by News Corp. Of the story in the AFR, Foxtel said: “Foxtel is focused on building subscription television choice for consumers and we use many external service suppliers. NDS is one of them. Foxtel notes that there are no allegations of wrongdoing by Foxtel. Foxtel has always worked hard and spent significant amounts of money to combat piracy.
“This has included running an extensive court case against pirates and working with the Australian Federal Police, other subscription TV providers including Austar, and advocating with Government to enact effective laws to protect Australia’s creative industries and legitimate consumers.
Under former Foxtel chief executive Kim Williams, who now heads up News Limited, the pay-TV company won court cases against encryption violations, and worked on a encryption code of conduct, which is still on-going
Foxtel is currently in the process of acquiring Austar in a A$1.9 billion deal, subject to regulatory approval from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). The allegations made today are not expected to delay proceedings, according to reports.