Arrest after BPAS abortion advice service site hacked
- 9 March 2012
- From the section UK
A man suspected of computer hacking is being questioned by police after the website of one of Britain's largest abortion providers was accessed.
The 27-year-old claims to have links to hacktivist group Anonymous.
The British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) said no medical or personal information relating to women who had received treatment had been accessed.
But it took out a court injunction after details of people who requested information was compromised.
Police said they were alerted to allegations that the BPAS website had been hacked on Thursday.
Claims later appeared on Twitter that the culprit had accessed the names of women who had undergone terminations and was threatening to release them into the public domain.
The suspect was arrested on suspicion of offences under the Computer Misuse Act during the early hours of Friday, Scotland Yard said.
He is in custody at a West Midlands Police station after being arrested at a property in Wednesbury, West Midlands by officers from the Metropolitan Police's central e-Crime unit.
Det Insp Mark Raymond from the Met's e-Crime Unit said: "We have taken rapid action to identify and arrest a suspect involved in hacking. This was done to prevent personal details of people who had requested information from the BPAS website being made public.
"It should be stressed that the stolen data did not contain the medical details of women who had received treatment or why individuals had contacted the British Pregnancy Advisory Service."
BPAS said in a statement: "The website does store details (names, addresses and phone numbers) of people who have requested information from BPAS via the website, including those making personal inquiries as well as health and education professionals, the media and students.
"These may have been inquiries relating to contraception, pregnancy, abortion, STI testing and sterilisation. Relevant authorities were informed and appropriate legal action taken to prevent the dissemination of any information obtained from the website.
"While the confidentiality of women receiving treatment was never in danger, this episode was taken very seriously indeed."
BPAS is a non-statutory abortion provider and has a number of clinics across the country.
It also provides counselling for unplanned pregnancy and abortion treatment and gives advice about contraception, sexually transmitted infection testing and sterilisation.