Vodafone red faced after blog site hacked

UK Uncut campaigners mock phone giant's charity work

Anti-corporate campaigners have embarrassed phone giant Vodafone, gaining access to blog accounts run by the company to post copy critical of its claimed policies on UK tax.

The rogue blogs were only available on Vodafone's World of Difference charity programme website for around 20 minutes before being taken down, but that was long enough for campaigning group, UK Uncut, to post a press release on the event.

The 'hack' happened after a number of people given access to the site to post under the auspices of World of Difference leaked the passwords to UK Uncut, allowing campaigners to post what they liked.

This is reported to have included photographs from recent UK Uncut demonstrations at Vodafone phone stores as well as articles slating the company for its alleged tax avoidance. One was titled 'Vodafone's Tax Dodge £6bn. Cuts to charities £5bn.'

"Vodafone make a big deal out of their funding to charity, but their charitable giving pales into insignificance compared to the £6 billion they got away without paying in tax," read the UK Uncut press release, quoting one of the anonymous young bloggers that had leaked his or her password.

"I work for a charity and understand how the government's brutal spending cuts will hit the poorest and most vulnerable. So many charities, including mine, are under threat. Vodafone's tax dodge alone could pay for every cut to every charity in the country."

UK Uncut also campaigns against public sector spending cuts being implemented by the Government.

"World of Difference winners are doing great things for charities up and down the country. It's very sad to see how low people will go to further spread misinformation and for the charitable programme to be used as a platform for this kind of protest," Vodafone responded in a statement on its website.

World of Difference is part of the company's attempt to portray itself as a responsible, 'engaged' enterprise. The UK Uncut postings will count as a very small event in security terms but also highly embarrassing.

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John E Dunn

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