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ThE MaStEr

Peled responds to Panorama mischaracterisation
By Julian Clover
March 29, 2012 09.19 Europe/London

NDS executive chairman Abe Peled has told the BBC that Monday nights edition of the investigative programme Panorama relied on manipulated email chains that misled viewers.

In a letter to the Panorama producer Alistair Jackson, Dr Peled said that contrary to the impression given, the emails in their original form demonstrated NDSs anti-piracy activities.

You have seriously misconstrued legitimate activities we undertake in the course of running an encryption business. You have used footage to falsely demonstrate your allegation that we sent certain emails externally to facilitate piracy when in fact the email was sent internally as part of our anti-piracy work. You have also taken emails wholly out of context. This has helped paint a picture for your viewers that is incorrect, misleading and deeply damaging to my company and our sister company News Corporation.

Dr Peled demanded an immediate retraction to the allegations that had been followed by further allegations in the Australian Financial Review.

However, the BBC is refusing to back down, issuing its own statement in response to the Peled letter and separate comments by News Corp chief executive Chase Carey. We stand by the Panorama investigation. We have received NDSs correspondence and are aware of News Corps rejection of Panoramas revelations. However, the emails shown in the programme were not manipulated, as NDS claims, and nothing in the correspondence undermines the evidence presented in the programme.

The NDS argument turns on the > symbol that indicates the emails had been forwarded, according to Dr Peled this indicates NDS was internally forwarding material that had been sent to it.

The letter continues: Furthermore, you displayed total flagrant disregard for the true context surrounding emails cited. For example, you purported that an email sent to Ray Adams was evidence of NDSs encouragement of piracy associated with the thoic.com website. That email, however, was sent from an undercover agent at thoic to NDS, not from NDS to thoic.

Dr Peled says that NDS repeatedly requested that Panorama identify the accusations it intended to make on-air Panorama said NDS had declined to be interviewed.

Separately, News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch has taken to Twitter to talk to the latest allegations. Seems every competitor and enemy piling on with lies and libels. So bad, easy to hit back hard, which preparing, he posted.

The central allegation of the Panorama programme was that NDS had acted to bring down the conditional access system provided to On Digital/ITV Digital by the then Canal Plus Technologies.

NDS has also come under fire over a donation of 2,000 made to Surrey Police in August 2000. In response to an article in The Independent, NDS said it was proud of the anti-piracy work it had conducted with the UK Police, and had made a separate charitable donation.

It added The Independent had ignored its verbal and written assurances and had passed the matter to its legal advisors.


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