Los Angeles: A security firm hired by Britney Spears’ father monitored the pop singer’s phone calls and text messages during the court-sanctioned conservatorship she has lived under since 2008, according to a just-released New York Times documentary.
In Controlling Britney Spears, Alex Vlasov, a former Black Box Security employee who said he worked with the singer’s team for nearly nine years, said the company “mirrored” the pop singer’s phone on an iPad by logging in to her iCloud account. A listening device also was placed in her bedroom, Vlasov said.
He told the filmmakers that he was asked to encrypt some of Spears’ text conversations so they could be sent to her father, Jamie Spears, and an employee of a business management firm he had hired.
When Vlasov questioned the monitoring, he said he was told that Britney Spears’ communications were reviewed “for her own security and protection” and that the court overseeing the conservatorship was “aware of it,” as was her attorney at the time. The monitoring included discussions between Britney Spears and her laywer, Sam Ingham, according to Vlasov, as well as monitoring her communication with her boyfriend Sam Asghari, now her fiance.
Vivian Thoreen, a lawyer for Jamie Spears, did not discuss specific allegations, but said that his actions “were well within the parameters of the authority conferred upon him by the court,” and “were done with knowledge and consent of Britney, her court-appointed attorney and/or the court”.
“Jamie’s record as conservator – and the court’s approval of his actions – speak for themselves,” Thoreen added, saying Jamie Spears had helped his daughter rehabilitate her career and improve her financial situation.
A lawyer for Black Box Security President Edan Yemini, in a statement shown in the documentary, said, “Mr Yemini and Black Box have always conducted themselves within professional, ethical and legal bounds, and they are particularly proud of their work keeping Ms Spears safe for many years”.
Britney Spears is petitioning to end the conservatorship, which Jamie Spears set up in 2008 to oversee his daughter’s personal affairs and roughly $60 million estate after she had a mental health breakdown. The Stronger singer said in June that the arrangement was abusive and humiliating.