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Murdoch Faces Allegations of Sabotage 201

Presto Vivace writes "Neil Chenoweth, of the Australian Financial Review, reports that the BBC program Panorama is making new allegations against News Corp of serious misconduct. This time it involves the NDS division of News Corp, which makes conditional access cards for pay TV. It seems that NDS also ran a sabotage operation, hiring pirates to crack the cards of rival companies and posting the code on The House of Ill Compute (, a web site hosted by NDS. 'ITV Digital collapsed in March 2002 with losses of more than £1 billion, overwhelmed by mass piracy, as well as technical restrictions and expensive sports contracts. Its collapse left Murdoch-controlled BSkyB the dominant pay TV provider in the UK.' Chenoweth reports that James Murdoch has been an advocate for tougher penalties for pirates, 'These are property rights, these are basic property rights,' he said. 'There is no difference from going into a store and stealing a packet of Pringles or a handbag, and stealing something online. Right?'"
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Murdoch Faces Allegations of Sabotage

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  • by Isca ( 550291 ) on Tuesday March 27, 2012 @12:20AM (#39481385)
    I wonder how much Fox news will report it. You can't tell me all the other networks aren't going to have a field day with this in the US.
  • by Michael Woodhams ( 112247 ) on Tuesday March 27, 2012 @12:23AM (#39481405) Journal

    If ITV Digital was a publicly traded company
    And it has ceased to exist due to bankruptcy
    And the bankruptcy proceedings have been all wound up
    And the allegations against BSkyB are true
    And BSkyB can be successfully sued for large damages for what they did to ITV Digital

    Who could bring such a suit? How would the proceeds be distributed? The obvious candidates are ITV Digital's creditors (who got paid less than they were owed) and ITV Digital's shareholders. However, it won't always be clear who owns those shares and bad debts, as they've been assumed to have zero value, so haven't been tracked since the end of bankruptcy.

  • Re:WAKEUP! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by XDirtypunkX ( 1290358 ) on Tuesday March 27, 2012 @12:27AM (#39481423)

    Unfortunately no one has invented a vaccine for being an ass-hat. Until someone does, these things will continue.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 27, 2012 @01:06AM (#39481585)

    NDS card hacking has been well known for a long time. They spent a year with some 30 guys using electron microscopes to reverse engineer their competitor's cards. When they published each new revision, they destroyed the Dish network's profitability for years, and everyone else using their competitor's technology. NDS mades the cards for DirecTV. They actually rate the security of their chips in electron-microscope years. This is well known, and well known that NDS and DirecTV are more Murdoch properties. I'm sure the people who have been discussing this for years are not surprised by the phone hacking scandal, which is like comparing pre-school with ... electron microscope school?

  • by RelaxedTension ( 914174 ) on Tuesday March 27, 2012 @02:14AM (#39481807)
    There is clear signs of piracy, that was intentional. Close down ALL of it, all the newspapers, the tv stations, everything, and sort it out in court first.

    Thats what they did to Megaupload, fair is fair.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 27, 2012 @03:01AM (#39481939)

    I'm sure the people who have been discussing this for years are not surprised by the phone hacking scandal, which is like comparing pre-school with ... electron microscope school?


    The boring story is about Murdoch's recent scandals. The interesting story is what, if any, complicity there was between two competing businesses, using the reverse-engineers as pawns (and whether or not the reversers knew they were pawns!) in a much larger chess game.

  • by Xest ( 935314 ) on Tuesday March 27, 2012 @04:12AM (#39482195)

    Really? Did you not see Sunday's headlines in the UK?

    A Murdoch publication published evidence of the Conservative party's deputy treasurer admitting you could buy access to the prime minister and influence policy for a £250,000 party donation.

    Nice to see these things exposed, but the timing and target weren't exactly coincidence. Murdoch knows he's on a downwar spiral in the UK and is already trying to take the PM with him.

    I'm not convinced Murdoch will get away with it this time, there's too much public anger and opposition pressure. Now that some semi-independent authorities in the police, judiciary, and oversight committees have become involved it's arguably even past the point it can be sweeped under the carpet.

  • It's not so much being nice to each other. Fox and MSNBC employees seem to loathe each other from what I've read. The issue is that the businesses are looking at something more long term than todays viewership. Sure, CNN kicking Fox while it is down will help improve ratings tonight. The problem is when the current administration is no longer in power. If beating on Fox is ok now, you can bet beating on CNN will be ok in the future. This is merely the networks acting out of fear of mutually assured destruction [].

  • by bfandreas ( 603438 ) on Tuesday March 27, 2012 @05:58AM (#39482541)
    This is not as far away as you might think.

    I'm heavily involved with a couple of huge European chemical companies and they found out that sustainability is the only thing that will keep them afloat for another century. They test if their reps are corrupt, if ethical guidelines are followed, that they don't leave a mess, how their employees fare worldwide, if they eed to get involved in education and how far away they are from their own goals. Which still is quite a bit. But still.

    The frequent corruption scandals German industry faced and a few other desasters have caused a serious shift in what they think is needed. Stockholders don't quite get it but they are still doing fine.

    Now I reckon this is also the case in other companies(I only consult those) so this makes Muroch Corp look like a bit of a dinosaur. You will not be able to steal, cheat, lie and sleaze your way to the top and can expect to end up with a slap on the wrist. Quite a few execs of Murdoch Corp are now facing charges, some are in jail. Also Murdoch had politics by the colloar for quite a while and now that public opinion swings the other side you can expect something quite drastic to happen in GB.

    There's an old Fry&Laurie sketch on Murdoch, that's how long his sleaze has been public knowledge.

    SCHADENFREUDEGASM indeed(thanks, dintech).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 27, 2012 @06:45AM (#39482711)

    What's it like where money matters above all else, nepotism abounds and professional ambition transcends all known ethics? Let me tell you.

    I've been an employee of NewsCorp for the last 4-5 years. I stay with them because they offer the best compensation in my field, security in this recession, and yet we have our differences. On many occasions I've defended my employer and media outlets, mainly Fox News by saying, "I may not agree with the narrative but no one can say it's not a commercial success." Each business unit only worries about the bottom line, and not a soul has the well being of the U.S. and it's future in mind. Now it's starting to bother me.

    Rupert Murdoch may be more feared by his employees than Steve Jobs ever was. Instead of a razor sharp focus on perfection and simplicity, Murdoch works his media holdings like a venture capitalist, his political influence like the dirtiest lobbyist, and just doesn't seem to 'get' the web and social media. This old-fashioned media tycoon acquires, prunes and drives companies and their talent to exact his will.

    The pressure on his people shows. Employing very creative accounting (tax havens), phone hacking and leveraging threats of media smear campaigns, NewsCorp employees cross ethical boundaries more often than Rupert crosses time zones. It's no secret he enjoys the power he wields. On the editorial conferences he attends, on the way he treats political enemies, competitors and anyone else that dare disagree, it is striking from the inside.

    Rupert has always shown his considerable ego, from the (good for all of the British press) breaking of the print unions in Wapping to his new rambling outlet, Twitter (@rupertmurdoch) . This 80 year old man tweets solo from his iPad, attacking Google, President Obama and others, all the while disregarding his plethora of Lawyers, PR entourage and social media experts. But that's the thing. He doesn't care. He's an old, angry, ballsy billionaire with mostly incompetent, disappointing children who is set on nothing more than doing what he and he alone wants for the rest of his life. I would say his tireless work has earned him that privilege if his empire wasn't pro-SOPA, against LGBT and other rights, constantly polarizing America and driving the Republican Party farther right than I ever predicted. The national dialogue has turned into a screaming match and I know who to thank.

    With Roger Ailes as his Dick Cheney, Murdoch has incredible control over conservatives. 'Fair and Balanced' stopped being a funny joke years ago. I never thought I would live in a country where science was laughed at on the news, calling the sitting President a Communist was acceptable, or where a GOP candidate has no chance without the backing of Ailes, Czar of Fox News.

    This might be the future, where only money matters, your voicemail isn't safe and anything can happen when dirty police officers get their take. It might be, but I don't like it.

  • All the more reason (Score:4, Interesting)

    by microbox ( 704317 ) on Tuesday March 27, 2012 @10:22AM (#39484223)
    All the more reason to make an example out of Murdoch. What type of society do you want to live in? One where the powerful break the law and cow politicians by endlessly propagandising the public? The Murdoch's probably think of themselves as stand-up guys, but they have caused so much harm that it is an embarrassment to a civilised society. Jobs said that Murdoch should think about his legacy, like somehow the karma boggie-man will do something about his behaviour. I would put more faith in jail-time for serial malfeasance.

Exceptions prove the rule, and wreck the budget. -- Miller