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FBI Investigating Leaks in UC Telecommunications System

March 26, 1994|Associated Press

BERKELEY — The FBI is looking into reports that a computer hacker has found a way to penetrate and extract information from the University of California's private electronic communication system, FBI spokesman Rick Smith said.

University officials are concerned over breaches in the UC communications system, especially since the San Francisco Examiner's publication earlier this week of what it called a verbatim account of a private March 2 meeting between UC President Jack Peltason and university chancellors.

Peltason made derisive remarks about state legislators and a UC regent in the account of the meeting. He has rejected calls by several state senators that he resign.

UC officials also confirmed that there is an investigation into possible leaks in the communication system but declined to release any other details about the inquiry. The interceptions could include tapping phone lines and breaking into electronic systems, although evidence of that has not been found.

"What we're not commenting on is the scope of the investigation," said Tom Debley, UC assistant news director.

State Senate President Pro Tem Bill Lockyer, who was the target of Peltason's barbs during the March 2 meeting, said Thursday that a hacker called a radio talk show host and claimed to have broken into the UC communications system.

Lockyer refused to release any further information about the call, including the name of the show.

The Oakland Tribune, citing an unidentified source close to the university, said that the interception of UC communications could have been going on for up to a year.

The fear among UC officials is that the hacker may have had access to private lawyer-client discussions in addition to staff meetings. They have criticized the published account of the meeting as an invasion of privacy but have not disputed its accuracy.

"This apparent illegal bugging is serious," Peltason said in a letter sent to Regent Frank Clark.

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