New York Comptroller Nixes $27 Million Deal With Murdoch Company Over Hacking Scandal

Flickr / World Economic Forum

World Economic ForumMurdoch acquired 90 percent of Brooklyn-based Wireless Generation for about $360 million last November.

In the long wake of the News of the World phone hacking scandal, New York state has scrapped a controversial $27 million deal between Rupert Murdoch’s Wireless Generation and the state’s Education Department. The company, a News Corp. subsidiary, was to develop software to be used to keep tabs on student test scores from kindergarten through college. That plan was developed as part of the state’s education reform program, for which it was awarded $700 million in a federal grant competition called “Race to the Top” last summer.

According to The Huffington Post, Michael Mulgrew and Richard Iannuzi, respective heads of New York City’s and the state’s teachers’ unions, protested the proposed contract with Murdoch’s company earlier this month: “It is especially troubling that Wireless Generation will be tasked with creating a centralized student database for personal information even as its parent company, News Corporation, stands accused of engaging in illegal news gathering tactics, including the hacking of private voicemail accounts.” —ARK

Chalk it up to the hacks: New York scraps $27 million education contract with Murdoch firm

New York Daily News:

The Rupert Murdoch phone hacking scandal has prompted the state to kill a controversial $27 million contract with one of the media mogul’s subsidiary companies.

State Controller Thomas DiNapoli this week quietly rejected the Education Department’s contract with Wireless Generation, a News Corp. affiliate.

Wireless Generation was to pocket $27 million of the state’s $700 million in “Race to the Top” funds to develop software to track student test scores.

News Corp.’s British tabloid “News of the World” was shuttered last month amid a phone hacking and police bribery scandal.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is reviewing whether reporters from Murdoch’s media empire hacked the phones of any 9/11 victims.

The controversy proved too much for the state to stomach.

Read more here

Comptroller Rejects Contract With Murdoch-Owned Ed Tech Company

DiNapoli’s office cited “ongoing investigations and continuing revelations” with respect to News Corporation, which has been under scrutiny because of a phone hacking scandal involving one of its British tabloids.

Its letter to the state education department also said the record remains incomplete with respect to “vendor responsibilities involving the parent company of Wireless Generation.”

Murdoch purchased Wireless Generation late last year. The Brooklyn-based company helped New York City build ARIS, a data system for tracking student achievement, and it was to create a similar system for the rest of the state with federal Race to the Top funds.

A state education department spokesman accused the comptroller of allowing “political pressure” to get in the way of vital technology. Teachers unions had filed a complaint to DiNapoli about the contract and Murdoch’s ownership of Wireless Generation. But the state said it chose Wireless because of its experience building data systems, specifically in New York City.

The comptroller invited the state to pursue a new round of competitive bidding and the state says it’s reviewing its options. A spokeswoman for Wireless Generation indicated the company would be willing to try again.

“Viewed on its merits, we strongly believe Wireless Generation’s bid was the best choice for the State,” said spokeswoman Joan Lebow. She cited the company’s “long track record of success and more than a decade of experience partnering with municipalities and districts in 50 states by providing tools and services that help teachers improve student learning.”

Murdoch also hired former Schools Chancellor Joel Klein as a vice president of educational technology last fall. There are conflict of interest rules preventing him from dealing with the city schools. But critics have suggested that his involvement with Wireless Generation as chancellor gave the company an edge when the state wanted a new data system. The state has said it began looking into a partnership with Wireless Generation a couple of years ago, long before he went to work for Murdoch.

Read more here

Meanwhile, FBI confirms they’re is going for his @ss !

News Corp Phone Hacking Scandal Expands To US Probe 

The UK-based phone hacking scandal that has taken a massive toll on Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp empire is still playing out, only now US media attention has shifted to claims made about events here … Minyanville.com

Eric Holder Meets with 9/11 Families About Phone Hacking Scandal DNAinfo
9/11 Families Meet with Attorney General Eric Holder About Phone Hacking Scandal ABC News
US authorities announces investigation of the 9/11 phone hacking The Voice of Russia

And,

Britain’s Channel 4 is launching a new comedy to mock Rupert Murdoch called ‘HACKS …

Drop The Dead Donkey writer creates phone hack comedy

Drop The Dead Donkey writer Guy Jenkin is creating a TV comedy about newspaper phone hacking for Channel 4.

The hour-long programme will take a “satirical swipe” at the scandal. The show is set in a fictional paper where staff indulge in phone hacking, blagging and “pinging” to get a story by any means.

British TV plans phone hacking comedy – ‘HACKS’

Britain’s Channel 4 said on Friday it had commissioned a one-off television comedy about the phone hacking scandal which forced the closure of the News of the World tabloid and engulfed Rupert Murdoch’s newspaper business.

“HACKS,” described as a working title for the show, is being written by Guy Jenkin, co-creator of comedy series “Drop the Dead Donkey” set in the fictional offices of a TV news company.

HACKS will be set at a newspaper where, according to the publicly owned Channel 4, “the drive to get the story is intense — the phrase ‘by any means necessary’ doesn’t even cover it.

“Phone hacking, blagging, pinging … the staff here do it all. But it’s all about to unravel, and in a big way…”

The hour-long special is expected to air later this year.

Jenkin said in a statement: “We hope to be faster and funnier than all the enquiries so far.”

Britain’s parliament and police are investigating claims against Murdoch’s newspapers that they illegally hacked into the voicemail messages of individuals in pursuit of exclusive stories.

Channel 4 commissions phone-hacking comedy Musicrooms.net
Drop the Dead Donkey writer Guy Jenkin is writing a one-off spoof based on the phone hacking scandal. The comedy, given the working title HACKS, will be based at a fictional newspaper where hacking, blagging and pinging 
TV comedy penned on British hacking scandal AFP
C4 to make phone-hacking comedy BBC News
Channel 4 to make phone hacking comedy Insideireland.ie

Cameron Murdoch ink smudges

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