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Communications Privacy The Courts United Kingdom News

Murdoch Voicemail Hacking Story 'Ain't Over Yet' 113

Posted by timothy
from the press-7-to-erase dept.
lee317 writes "Reuters is reporting that Rupert Murdoch's headache over the alleged phone hacking by his News Corp's reporters could be small compared to what is ahead. So far, around 20 public figures who believe their voicemail messages were intercepted by journalists at the popular News of the World tabloid are suing News International, the UK newspaper arm of News Corp. After a public apology from the newspaper aimed at 'put(ting) this problem into a box,' a UK judge eluded to the fact that civil cases against the firm could run into next year at least."
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Murdoch Voicemail Hacking Story 'Ain't Over Yet'

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 16, 2011 @04:51AM (#35838334)

    ...those sneaky judges, so elusive.

    Perhaps he "alluded" to the fact?

    • Thank you for eliding their elusive allusion.

    • by lee317 (687169)
      Dang homophones! Their sew illusive sum times!
  • by TubeSteak (669689) on Saturday April 16, 2011 @05:06AM (#35838406) Journal

    An investigation into newsgathering practices at the News of the World has so far touched celebrities, government ministers, sports stars and British Prime Minister David Cameron, repeatedly making headline news in rival publications.

    TFA leaves out the fact that the News of the World "journalists" also went after the voicemails of military and police officials as well.

    I'm amazed that the British Government hasn't arrested more people, if for no other reason than there were serious national security concerns when they first found out about it.

    • by 91degrees (207121)
      I'm amazed that the British Government hasn't arrested more people, if for no other reason than there were serious national security concerns when they first found out about it.

      That's not the British way. This is a lot more subtle The implication is if you break the law, then the authorities will catch up with you. They won't do it all guns blazing. You won't be arrested with a group who can look out for each other. You'll be on your own.
    • by deniable (76198)
      The editor in charge of this became David Cameron's press secretary until this came back and he became toxic. Not just the government, these guys messed with the royal family. Maybe the Queen can send them to the tower.
      • by jd (1658)

        Not quite. High treason as a capital crime was abolished back in the 90s I think. On the other hand, she can appoint whomever she likes (such as editors for rival papers) to the House of Lords in the Queen's Birthday honours (the only honours she can bestow without political interference). That's one thing that the Queen really should use that list for - promoting rivals to those who seek power and influence criminally. Democracy is great, but just like video games you really do want to be able to use cheat

    • by Blymie (231220)

      There'd better not have been a single voicemail in the "national security" category! The idea is absurd!

      • by pjt33 (739471)

        Bear in mind that anything which exposes someone with access to secret documents to blackmail ought to qualify.

      • by jd (1658)

        Then-Prime Minister Gordon Brown, not to mention several other leading cabinet figures in the government, were certainly hacked. The midnight raid by police suggests that they're beginning to get more than a little concerned that there might indeed be national security implications. The efforts by the Civil Service to block criminal investigations at the time the story first broke also hints that hushing things up was a major concern, over and above any legal liability.

        The part of the story that isn't getti

    • by Aneurysm (680045)
      I believe that previously there was not enough evidence that the voicemail hacking took place. New evidence came to light which is what has spurred these court cases to take place.
      • by sincewhen (640526)

        I not enough evidence

        I always took that to mean that they had dirt on senior police and/or the politicians who control them.

    • by ewe2 (47163)

      Read the Hugh Grant story. The Prime Minister himself is implicated. A significant number of police are implicated. Murdocracy has corrupted politics itself in the UK. I'm not amazed the government has done nothing, I'm amazed they're allowing the story to build up steam.

      • by jd (1658)

        The Guardian rightly pointed out that Hugh Grant's tapes said almost nothing new, that the Prime Minister had been implicated long ago. Yes, Murdoch has corrupted UK politics (well, he wasn't the only one to be fair, but he is a major player). The government knows that Murdoch's papers now decide who win in general elections (much as happens in the US when the moguls decide who gets airplay and who doesn't). Because of this power, the government is effectively powerless.

        Mind you, that is its own fault. The

    • by madprof (4723)

      Don't be amazed - it is rapidly emerging that senior police officers had dinner with people from the press. The reason it has taken so long to look into this may well be related to the Met trying to cover it up on behalf of their friends at News International.

    • by Xest (935314)

      But that wont happen in Britain, our political parties recognise that Murdoch's media is an election ticket and so wont do anything to piss him off.

      Rather than work together to slap down his horribly criminal organisation they would focus on working to please him so he might grant them the next election result.

      Because yes, the British population is that fucking stupid, that is, stupid enough to read his trash in the first place.

      Worse the Lib Dems were actually going to slap down his Sky takeover, but Vince

  • Whether the problem is an election, a rival corporation, or a rival nation, chances are an army of hackers can go about solving it in sophisticated or simple ways.

    I think we are in the cyberwarfare era. Corporations, governments, and private individuals will be able to hire hackers for doxing services, or other more controversial services.

    • by Raffaello (230287)

      Yeah, just like the Watergate burglars "solved" Nixon's 1972 re-election problem. Oh, wait...

      Hackers get caught. The repercussions are ususally worse than never having done the hack in the first place.

  • Eluded. Alluded. Potatoe. Potatoe. Let's call the whole thing off.

  • Rant.

    How about listening devices planted in flowers sent to the bereaved? The UK's tabloid press have been out of control for years. This isn't about press freedom, or even freedom of speech or expression. It's about Murdoch's agenda, gutter journalism and selling salacious crap to any window-licker that'll buy it.

    We can hope that his sorry newsprint empire will wither like his online presence behind its paywall. Sadly, that's not going to happen...not for as long as the unwashed want innuendo on the front

  • by John Hasler (414242) on Saturday April 16, 2011 @06:23AM (#35838630) Homepage

    According to early reports there is evidence that News of the World was not the only UK paper doing this. Is there any effort to identify the others?

    • by madprof (4723)

      At this rate we will find out in 2047

    • by geniice (1336589)

      Said reports came from news corp papers so there is a slight conflict of interest. It's possible that there was some similar activity at other tabloids but the evidence is pretty sketchy.

  • It isn't /the/ UK arm of News Corp, just one of many. The main arms are The Sun [wikimedia.org] and The Times [wikimedia.org], going by their daily sales (for The Sun) and 'prestige' (The Times).
  • why the outrage at reporters doing something the government is doing all the time?

    • by madprof (4723)

      The government don't then print what they heard in a national newspaper. Not excusing any misdirected government snooping of course.

      Just enjoying the fact that the News of the Screws is getting the kicking it deserves.

  • What else is new? I'm sure the percentage of hackers within a news corporation is bigger then the percentage of hackers in the world.

    Social engineering is the main method.
    But I am fairly certain, though I have no proof of this, just a hunch (hey thats what a reporter would say!) that methods like eavesdropping and payoffs are far more normal than people think.
    • To clarify before an armada of journalists reply here: Yes I know that not EVERY journalist/reporter is bad news (pun intended).
    • Journalism *is* social engineering: you're either tricking someone into giving you info you're not supposed to be given, or tricking someone to go on the record saying something that, taken out of context, supports the narrative the paper wants.

      • Agree with you, when it comes to big news about politicians and rich people, media are trying to uncover scandals or even construct scandals when there is none to be uncovered.
        br> But journalism is also the the stories about a kindergarden visiting a retirement home and those kind of cute articles. No social engineering there.
        Or the tech reports about about some new hardware. No social engineering there.

        Thats why I made my disclaimer.
  • Wikileaks (Score:1, Troll)

    by DNS-and-BIND (461968)

    So, when wikileaks does it, it's important to have this information out in the open. When The Evil, Evil People[tm] do the exact same thing, it's a horrible miscarriage of the expectation of privacy and needs to be loudly denounced.

    Aren't we just biasing our views based on if the story portrays the "correct" people as the villains? It's amusing to see the really hateful attitudes and spittle-flecked invective.

    • I hadn't thought of this like that, but I suppose the difference is that this was an invasion of the personal privacy of individuals, whereas the wikileaks stuff was (largely) an invasion of the privacy of the governments who are supposed to represent us, released openly.
    • by vakuona (788200)

      I don't know about you, but I think Wikileaks is a really bad idea. I think all communications that are meant to be private should be protected by privacy laws, even if they are in the course of the conduct of government business. Society just wouldn't work if we expected people to be broadcast on everything they say. If people really don't want any government secrecy, then vote for someone who promises to stop all secrecy. But we shouldn't be held hostage by an idealist minority who demand and end to secre

      • In the late nineties, a Cincinnati Enquirer reporter wrote a series of articles about Chiquita Banana. Parts of the series alleged immoral and illegal practices on the part of Chiquita. Eventually, it came to light that the reporter in question had gained access to the voice mail of Chiquita executive officers. The Enquirer retracted the entire series of articles, going so far as to pull them from Gannett's electronic database (the Enquirer was owned by Gannett at the time) leaving print copies as the only

        • by vakuona (788200)

          Think of privacy in the same way you think of free speech. Free speech means sometimes people will say hateful and hurtful things that cause people's lives to be demonstrably worse. But it's still protected because it goes to the very essence of freedom. Same as privacy. Privacy should be protected in the same way free speech is protected.

          The truth is almost always desirable, but it doesn't trump privacy. Privacy is completely essential to freedom.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      So, when wikileaks does it...

      Except that wikileaks doesn't do it.
      But you already knew that.

    • by Microlith (54737)

      Wikileaks doesn't do a damned thing. They take information given to them. This is a violation of privacy done by intrusion into systems the newspapers have no business being in.

      Aren't we just biasing our views based on if the story portrays the "correct" people as the villains? It's amusing to see the really hateful attitudes and spittle-flecked invective.

      Wow, you must be reading Slashdot in Universe B.

      • So, here, there have been two "violations". First, obtaining data, then publishing it. By only doing the second, Wikileaks keeps its hands clean and wears white and is free from any responsibility for its actions. So, which is the sin? Obtaining the data, or publishing it? And if either one of these is evil, then why is the 'ORRIBLE BIASED MEDIA being criticized for it (observe in this thread educated people publically spewing vile hatred), and Manning and Wikileaks get the exact same people writing st

    • Mod parent "insightful" because he has a good if unpleasant point.

      But there is a big difference in security threat between releasing copies of 6 month old written memos, and listening in on the telephone conversations of the PM in real time.
    • by KDR_11k (778916)

      I will just reply with this [weebls-stuff.com].

    • No, that's like saying Papparazzi have the same rights as Wikileaks.

      Wikileaks publishes confidential information exposing government wrongdoing. What these UK tabloids did was spy on Jude Law's voicemails.

  • I am curious as to what was actually done. All of the news articles on this story only say that phones were "hacked". This is Slashdot. Does anyone know what exactly the reporters did to the phones and/or voicemail accounts, and how difficult or easy it is to do?
    • by u38cg (607297)
      They dialled into mobile phone voiceboxes and tried default or simple PINS. Then they listened to messages that had been heard but not deleted. Erm, that's it.
  • Seems to me that this culture of amorality stems directly from Murdoch himself. I would dearly love to see that man convicted of crimes against humanity. The reporters surely are the small fry and now the scape goats. On whose orders did they conduct the hacking of the voicemail?
  • when parents set a bad example for the kids.

    But dad, you wiretapped my phone, why can't I wiretap yours? What makes you better than me?

    Kids. Always asking difficult questions.

An inclined plane is a slope up. -- Willard Espy, "An Almanac of Words at Play"

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