UK's News of the World closes after phone hacking scandal

The newspaper is accused of hacking into the mobile voice mail of celebrities and crime victims

The U.K.'s News of the World is closing admit allegations of staff members hacking into the mobile voice mail of celebrities and crime victims.

News Corp. will close its weekly U.K. newspaper News of the World amid allegations that the tabloid hacked into the mobile voicemail accounts of celebrities, the British royal family, and crime victims.

Sunday's edition of the 168-year-old News of the World will be the last, said James Murdoch, chairman and CEO of News Corp.'s Europe and Asia divisions and son of News Corp. owner Rupert Murdoch.

"The good things the News of the World does ... have been sullied by behaviour that was wrong," James Murdoch wrote in a announcement posted on the publication's website. "The News of the World is in the business of holding others to account. But it failed when it came to itself."

Officials at the newspaper first believed that the voice mail hacking activities, first discovered in 2006, were confined to one reporter, Murdoch wrote.

"We now have voluntarily given evidence to the police that I believe will prove that this was untrue and those who acted wrongly will have to face the consequences," Murdoch added.

There are two ongoing police investigations into the voice mail hacking allegations, Murdoch said.

The newspaper closure comes as companies come under increased scrutiny in the U.S. and Europe for alleged tech-related privacy violations. Starting in 2010, Google faced investigations for Wi-Fi snooping by its Street View cars, and in recent months, privacy groups have raised concerns about how much geo-location data is collected smartphones running Google and Apple operating systems.

Privacy groups have also complained about the amount of personal data that websites and advertising networks are collecting.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is grant_gross@idg.com.

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