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Murdoch Voicemail Hacking Story 'Ain't Over Yet'

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the press-7-to-erase dept.

Communications 113

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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Huh? (-1)

intellitech (1912116) | more than 3 years ago | (#35838280)

Intercepted? Is that what they're calling it these days?

And, I may have said this before, but.. Rupert Murdoch? Do these journalists have a death wish? I hope those were some really juicy voicemails, because I personally would not want to bat against Murdoch's full legal brigade. I guess not everybody fears the super-rich, not even those with a personal net worth exceeding $6 billion USD (enough to fund a freaking army, if he doesn't already have one).

We need more people like these journalists in the world. But, illegally accessing voicemail, well, I'm currently frowning, to say the least.

Re:Huh? (2)

Hortensia Patel (101296) | more than 3 years ago | (#35838286)

I think you've misread TFS. The journalists are not doing the suing. The suing is by "20 public figures". The journalists are the villains of this story, and are employees of Murdoch, who is the villain of pretty much every story.

Re:Huh? (4, Insightful)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#35838296)

The villains are those who buy Murdoch's products.

For example, if you have Sky TV subscription then you are part of the problem. Everything from NotW to Fox News is your fault.

Boycott Murdoch's products globally (2)

OldHawk777 (19923) | more than 3 years ago | (#35840328)

It is always elitist dogma bullshit framed as patriotic-religious public interest dogma. Fox is just one of many....

Without the Internet and WWW news resources, no one in any country gets the truth today. Broadcast and publishing news is all about hype, snipe, pop, frame, spin, faux experts, pseudo pundits....

The more the citizens of any country listen to broadcast and publishing news the greater the stupidity or illiteracy. Yes, I have just insulted the general public of every nation, but the truth never hurts the stupidity or illiteracy, because they never hear the truth.

Re:Huh? (1)

intellitech (1912116) | more than 3 years ago | (#35838316)

Oh, wow. Indeed. But, either way, "intercepted," what exactly do they mean by that?

Re:Huh? (1)

dattaway (3088) | more than 3 years ago | (#35838376)

Intercepted: if you are caught being rich.

Wiretapping: if you are caught being poor.

Re:Huh? (4, Informative)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 3 years ago | (#35838688)

Intercepted - British English (eg http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1985/56 [legislation.gov.uk] )
Wiretapping - American English

Re:Huh? (2)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 3 years ago | (#35840928)

You must be a Brit. The correct term here in the states is Freedom Listening.

Re:Huh? (1)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 3 years ago | (#35838496)

They hacked mobile phone voicemail. Was a pretty simple "hack" for most, some was social engineered afaik.

They broke the law. If it was a teenager their life would be ruined, Murdoch seems to think that apologising gets them out of it. Far from it, seeing as some were cabinet ministers.

The whole thing boils down to an endemic problem within (at least) News of the World, so far it hasn't been seen that the rest of News Corp conducts themselves in this way.

Re:Huh? (2)

tcr (39109) | more than 3 years ago | (#35838996)

They hacked mobile phone voicemail. Was a pretty simple "hack" for most, some was social engineered afaik.

Perhaps even simpler than that...

I'm amazed the carriers haven't come in for any criticism. Voicemail accounts could be accessed from any phone by entering a PIN - and they were mostly preset to a default, such as '1111' or '1234'. In these cases, you just needed the phone number of the celebrity. Call the remote voicemail service, enter the PIN, and you'd be in.

I remember working for a cellphone reseller in 1997, and being surprised by this. The company leased handsets to the stars of certain soap operas, and the customer care peeps were listening to voicemails down the pub of an evening.

Re:Huh? (1)

newcastlejon (1483695) | more than 3 years ago | (#35839654)

When I worked for Orange, many moons ago, remote voicemail access was disabled by default. It could only be used after the customer set up their own PIN.

If this was and is the case with other networks then this "hacking" is down to social engineering. That or famous people using their publicly-known birthdays as their PINs.

Re:Huh? (1)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 3 years ago | (#35843278)

so this is just like what that teen did to Palin, right....

that teen who was sentenced to a long time in JAIL!!! Depending on the countries of the reporters and the public officials, this could easily be "espionage" which is against US and UK laws and carries BIG trouble... maybe they can put them on the same boat with the Brit who hacked the DOD... it's that serious.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35838478)

I think you've misread TFS.

Misread? This is Slashdot - he probably didn't read TFS at all and instead just misread the summary. :P

Re:Huh? (1)

JustOK (667959) | more than 3 years ago | (#35838488)

they have summaries now?

Re:Huh? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35838292)

Umm... try reading the story before commenting?

Journalists working for a paper owned by Rupert Murdoch intercepted the voicemail of (well, guessed passwords for) a lot of famous and/or important people.

After denying it for years and some other shenanigans, finally it's coming to court. News International just want it to go away. They've already said 'OK, we did it, but it was just a rogue journalist. Well, maybe two. Or a few. But not many.' Turns out it may have been quite a bit more widespread than that. Statements made to a ministerial inquiry mean the investigation is also spreading to look at journalists paying the Police for information.

It won't be going away any time soon...

Would they hack computers to get stories? (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#35838448)

Seems like a possibility. What then?

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35838490)

Perhaps he did, he just might not have had his morning coffee. =O

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35838530)

Rupert Murdoch? Do these journalists have a death wish?...We need more people like these journalists in the world.

Completely wrong much? Not only do you get the facts backward, your conclusion is crazy. We do not need more "journalists" getting their "news" stories that way.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35838976)

We also dont need to call these people journalists. If you've ever read NotW or it's daily equivalent The Sun you'd know better.

Re:Huh? (1)

Pax681 (1002592) | more than 3 years ago | (#35839106)

We also dont need to call these people journalists. If you've ever read NotW or it's daily equivalent The Sun you'd know better.

yupos , agreed they are the type of newspaper ,which when used for emergency toilet roll.....

.......more shit comes off the paper.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35839196)

Yup, you really dont want to get Page3 bum.

Well if we're making corrections (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 3 years ago | (#35838674)

I'm pretty sure the word TFS was looking for was "alluded", not "eluded". The difference is pretty significant in context.

Re:Well if we're making corrections (2)

jbengt (874751) | more than 3 years ago | (#35839046)

a UK judge eluded to the fact that civil cases against the firm could run into next year at least

I'm pretty sure the word TFS was looking for was "alluded", not "eluded". The difference is pretty significant in context.

Not only that, but allude is not the right word to use in the first place as, according to TFA, the judge directly said that civil cases against the firm could run into next year at least.

Re:Well if we're making corrections (1)

Deadstick (535032) | more than 3 years ago | (#35839154)

Yes, your right in you're analysis...

ow bouht it aint even start yet? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35838290)

It be new to me

An ow els cn u mak mony if u don relez

releZ releZ

mad u lukk

UK judge eluded to the fact (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35838334)

...those sneaky judges, so elusive.

Perhaps he "alluded" to the fact?

Re:UK judge eluded to the fact (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35838400)

Thanks. That irked me immediately too. Someone posting on a news site needs to know at least SOME common English words.

Re:UK judge eluded to the fact (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#35838720)

Actually, in stories about Rupert Murdoch, the Chicago Manual of Style states that Tabloid Enlgish should be used. This requires at least one inappropriate homophone and several grammatical errors in an article. Every paragraph should contain at least one word with transposed and no more than 60% of apostrophe's may be correctly placed.

Re:UK judge eluded to the fact (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35839442)

Snarky right winger, who seems to say that this is just another birther conspiracy theory. Is that what right wing talk radio is claiming?

Re:UK judge eluded to the fact (1)

scdeimos (632778) | more than 3 years ago | (#35839028)

Thanks. That irked me immediately too. Someone posting on a news site needs to know at least SOME common English words.

This is /., they only know American words like color and honor.

Re:UK judge eluded to the fact (1)

click2005 (921437) | more than 3 years ago | (#35839210)

Its the NotW/TheSun.. i'm just surprised its not in text speak so their readers can understand it.

Re:UK judge eluded to the fact (2)

FrootLoops (1817694) | more than 3 years ago | (#35838616)

Thank you for eliding their elusive allusion.

Re:UK judge eluded to the fact (2)

Tau Neutrino (76206) | more than 3 years ago | (#35840848)

Thank you for eliding their elusive allusion.

Or was it just an illusion?

Re:UK judge eluded to the fact (1)

HaveNoMouth (556104) | more than 3 years ago | (#35842668)

...matter of fact it's all dark.

Re:UK judge eluded to the fact (1)

FrootLoops (1817694) | more than 3 years ago | (#35843324)

Hah, now I have a picture of a courtroom where lawyers in magic capes dramatically reveal evidence while the jury claps appreciatively.

Re:UK judge eluded to the fact (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35843988)

and now its turning into awful alliteration by anonymous authors.

TFA isn't the full story. (4, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 3 years ago | (#35838406)

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.

Re:TFA isn't the full story. (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 3 years ago | (#35838422)

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.

Re:TFA isn't the full story. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35840130)

The problem is in this case that the police weren't even going to keep investigating as their first attempt at 'investigating' determined there wouldn't be enough evidence to go ahead. It was only when the solicitors working for minor celebs managed to stack up their own evidence that suddenly the police decided they might be able to actually find stuff themselves... and what a surprise when they looked the second time they managed to find plenty of incriminating evidence.

Some might suggest that because it's a well known secret that papers pay police for tip offs they thought it best to try and make it go away without too much fuss.

Re:TFA isn't the full story. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35840812)

WTF - have you actually been following the story? The implication is the authorities will attempt to turn a blind eye for as long as possible and will only act when the pressure from high profile 'celebs' becomes too much to ignore. NoW are still not proactively saying who they've spied on and despite a half arsed apology appear to have no intention of revealing all names. I suspect the truth will never properly be out.

You think hackers can only target journalists? (0)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#35838440)

This is the tip of the iceberg. Political rivals can be targeted by hackers. This includes activists, union members, or the priests and pastors at churches. Nobodies dox are safe, anyone can be owned and exposed.

Re:You think hackers can only target journalists? (2)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 3 years ago | (#35838698)

Erm this was journalists targeting political rivals, union activists etc

Re:TFA isn't the full story. (2)

deniable (76198) | more than 3 years ago | (#35838498)

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.

Re:TFA isn't the full story. (1)

jd (1658) | more than 3 years ago | (#35843566)

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 codes in special cases.

Re:TFA isn't the full story. (1)

Blymie (231220) | more than 3 years ago | (#35838512)

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

Re:TFA isn't the full story. (1)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 3 years ago | (#35838756)

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

Re:TFA isn't the full story. (1)

jd (1658) | more than 3 years ago | (#35843624)

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 getting much news is that much of the former Fleet Street operates in the same manner. This scandal won't just affect NotW but will touch ALL tabloids. There will be paid crackers, hackers and phone phreaks working for all of them.

(It's possible that the investigation will also implicate papers in other parts of the world - do you seriously imagine any paper that feeds off paparazzi hijinks won't have dabbled in such practices?)

Re:TFA isn't the full story. (1)

Aneurysm (680045) | more than 3 years ago | (#35838590)

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.

Re:TFA isn't the full story. (2)

ewe2 (47163) | more than 3 years ago | (#35838660)

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.

Re:TFA isn't the full story. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35838906)

Maybe the said politicans who have to suck Murdoch cock to get anywhere near power want payback? Allow something like this to snowball - brings down the odd casuality you dont want but you finally do some real damage to News Corp.

I can imagine there's more than a few who would be quite happy to see Murdoch's power eroded, even just a bit

Re:TFA isn't the full story. (1)

jd (1658) | more than 3 years ago | (#35843686)

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 British political system has essentially three sections - those elected on the grounds of democracy (the Commons), those selected - supposedly, but rarely, on the grounds of merit (the Lords), and those hired to do the legwork (the Civil Service). The downgrading of the powers of the House of Lords, the selling of honours and the use of appointments to keep favoured MPs in power after they are rejected by the people means the Lords is effectively useless. And, yes, that matters in a case like this. It limits who outsiders can hold hostage. By politicizing the otherwise apolitical Civil Service, you also have an organization that wants corruption - especially when it happens to the "wrong side".

Re:TFA isn't the full story. (1)

madprof (4723) | more than 3 years ago | (#35839598)

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.

It's too late. Hire hackers to solve problems. (2)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#35838430)

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.

Re:It's too late. Hire hackers to solve problems. (2)

Raffaello (230287) | more than 3 years ago | (#35839274)

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.

Re:It's too late. Hire hackers to solve problems. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35842992)

That's because you never find out about the ones that don't get caught...

.gov gender issue, asked to leave, squats, pees (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35838442)

even more glowering deception from our incestuously inbred uncle sam, & his feloniously fatal neogod associates. here on solidarity saturday. let 'er rip. will we be needing a receipt for that? these long goodbyes can be so unrewarding for us being depopulated unchosen ones. chariots working ok? just leave.

disarm.

read the etchings. thank you

.self.chosen.gov; more damage than all deities (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35838510)

as the deities have not done any damage, as they are fictional characters, & could not possibly have plotted to have us sponsor any world wide murder sprees, & because proceeds of sales of their sci-fi books, goes for even more real sex religious 'trainings' elsewhere, so we have to pay for the never ending crusades? for the love of god.

it's all in the teepeeleaks etchings. it's almost impossible to avoid weeping when reading them.

Eluded, alluded. (1)

jamesl (106902) | more than 3 years ago | (#35838468)

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

Re:Eluded, alluded. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35838482)

Beat me to it. Come, on, alluded & eluded mean completely different things! And alluded is the correct word in this case.

Re:Eluded, alluded. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35838524)

I wish we could insure that such mistakes don't happen in the future. /runs

Re:Eluded, alluded. (2)

deniable (76198) | more than 3 years ago | (#35838522)

You're suggesting that the correct term escaped him?

Re:Eluded, alluded. (1)

u38cg (607297) | more than 3 years ago | (#35841676)

If only there was a word for that.

Re:Eluded, alluded. (0, Offtopic)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 3 years ago | (#35838664)

Call it off? We can't call it off!

I just installed my new Elludium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator!

He's saying the judge failed to grasp the facts (1)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 3 years ago | (#35839578)

eludedpast participle, past tense of elude (Verb)
1. Evade or escape from (a danger, enemy, or pursuer), typically in a skillful or cunning way: "he managed to elude his pursuer".
2. (of an idea or fact) Fail to be grasped or remembered by (someone).

Interestingly this almost reverses the meaning.

voicemail intercepted..? (1)

lostsoulz (1631651) | more than 3 years ago | (#35838596)

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 page, reactionary crap on page two and hooters on page three. It may be tomorrow's fish and chips wrapper, but it has already peddled its sordid agenda by the time some fat-ass is chomping his way through the deep fried goodies it contains.

Tabloid journalists and their paymasters? I shit 'em.

End rant.

Re:voicemail intercepted..? (0)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#35838780)

We can hope...

...Murdoch chokes on an olive pit and in that single act makes the world a better place?

Re:voicemail intercepted..? (1)

SteveM (11242) | more than 3 years ago | (#35838900)

Yes.

Re:voicemail intercepted..? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35839446)

You think to the dark lord of deception from the down-underworld can be foiled by a mere olive pit?

Re:voicemail intercepted..? (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 3 years ago | (#35839750)

Would a pretzel work?

Re:voicemail intercepted..? (1)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 3 years ago | (#35839734)

The next generation of the new aristocracy will take over and it will be business as usual.

Re:voicemail intercepted..? (1)

geniice (1336589) | more than 3 years ago | (#35840120)

The next generation are James Murdoch and co and lack their father's competence.

Easily solved (2)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 3 years ago | (#35840676)

They have "minders" trained by KRM. It's already looking like an Eastern government, in which the civil servants of the original ruler have the real power under his sons, until everyone has forgotten the original - like the Mikado (which I believe means "Palace gate")

Webpages.ge (-1, Offtopic)

webpages (2042992) | more than 3 years ago | (#35838610)

WWW.WEBPAGES.GE , , , , ,

Other newspapers? (2)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 3 years ago | (#35838630)

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?

Re:Other newspapers? (1)

madprof (4723) | more than 3 years ago | (#35839614)

At this rate we will find out in 2047

Re:Other newspapers? (1)

geniice (1336589) | more than 3 years ago | (#35840140)

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.

"The UK newspaper arm of News Corp" (1)

ConaxConax (1886430) | more than 3 years ago | (#35838752)

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).

the NSA already has all this stuff (1)

decora (1710862) | more than 3 years ago | (#35838844)

why the outrage at reporters doing something the government is doing all the time?

Re:the NSA already has all this stuff (1)

madprof (4723) | more than 3 years ago | (#35839644)

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.

Journalists are criminals (1)

slackzilly (2033012) | more than 3 years ago | (#35838878)

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.

Re:Journalists are criminals (1)

slackzilly (2033012) | more than 3 years ago | (#35838942)

To clarify before an armada of journalists reply here: Yes I know that not EVERY journalist/reporter is bad news (pun intended).

Wikileaks (1, Troll)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 3 years ago | (#35838972)

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.

Re:Wikileaks (1)

therealmorris (1366945) | more than 3 years ago | (#35839036)

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.

Re:Wikileaks (1)

vakuona (788200) | more than 3 years ago | (#35839184)

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 secrecy. Secrecy is useful. An imperfect solution in an imperfect world.

Julian Assange needs to respect our democracy. As for Rupert Murdoch, I think he should be taken for everything he has.

In Switzerland I think it is, fines for road offences are based on the nature of the offence and the means of the offender. So you can have fines reaching the millions of dollars (or swiss franc). I think this is a good concept. Punishment for the rich should reflect their riches. So Murdoch, in this case, should lose more, otherwise the rich buy a 'right' to intrude on our privacy for a pitiful sum.

1998 - Chiquita Banana (1)

brokeninside (34168) | more than 3 years ago | (#35839620)

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 record. The reporter was convicted of several crimes, fired and the Enquirer paid several millions of dollars to Chiquita.

Now, if the allegations of immoral and illegal conduct were true, is that really a good ending to the story? An investigative reporter had his career effectively ended, a large corporation had their record whitewashed in an Orwellian fasion, and a newspaper effectively agred to longer investigate allegations of illegal deeds by one of the largest produce companies in the US.

It seems to me that if the allegations were true, society is better off by them becoming public. And even if they weren't true, a case could be made that making the evidence public to allow informed citizens to make up their own mind serves the public interest.

In such cases, an organization like WikiLeaks is a good thing over all. Sure, it's messy. Sure, there are gray areas. Sure, it's possible for them to overstep the bounds of what ought to be released. But those dangers pose less danger than the alternative, media silence on such issues.

The difference between the Chiquita/Enquirer SNAFU and the present News Corp. situation is largely over corporate vs. individual communications. (Although, to be fair, some of the government communications intercepted by News Corp. would fall under the corporate rubric rather than the individual rubric.) There is also another possible distinction, tabloid journalism vs. "serious" journalism. But I don't think that there is any real way to limit one without limiting the other.

So, in the end, I think it's not a cut and dried situation. On the balance, I think investigative reporting and organizations lie WikiLeaks serve the public good. But insofar as they do target individuals in their private capacity rather than in a corporate role, they do pose a danger to basic civil rights.

Re:1998 - Chiquita Banana (1)

vakuona (788200) | more than 3 years ago | (#35841022)

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.

Re:Wikileaks (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35839474)

So, when wikileaks does it...

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

Re:Wikileaks (2)

Microlith (54737) | more than 3 years ago | (#35839658)

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.

Re:Wikileaks (2)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 3 years ago | (#35840106)

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 stirring defenses of the same behavior?

You know as well as I do that views change according to who can be villainized. It's an inconvenient truth.

Re:Wikileaks Mod Parent "Insightful" (1)

ukemike (956477) | more than 3 years ago | (#35839678)

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.

Re:Wikileaks Mod Parent "UnInsightful" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35840190)

Unfortunately, WIkileaks doesn't "intercept" anything. Wikileaks is only a venue for others to supply sensitive information. WIkileaks then makes such information available without revealing the source.

So unless the summary is completely wrong, Wikileaks is nothing like what is being described.

Re:Wikileaks (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 3 years ago | (#35839830)

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

Re:Wikileaks (1)

mr100percent (57156) | more than 3 years ago | (#35840348)

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.

alluded (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35839246)

...not eluded.

Go ahead, call me a 'meaning' Nazi

Re:alluded (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35839518)

Technically, you'd be a homonym Nazi :)

What kind of "hacking"? (1)

Kongming (448396) | more than 3 years ago | (#35839904)

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?

Re:What kind of "hacking"? (1)

u38cg (607297) | more than 3 years ago | (#35841686)

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.

!alleged (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35839930)

There have already been convictions for this. Please don't use that awful cowardly word (which is no protection anyway) when it isn't needed.

The ends justify these particular means? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35842806)

I'm not sure I really feel the same amount of anger about this. Invading the privacy of public figures can sometimes occur for the public good. I can think of lots of situations where depending on the information uncovered, we would be praising these people as heroes.

I'd just like to avoid feeling like a hypocrite.

Amoral Culture (1)

oldmac31310 (1845668) | more than 3 years ago | (#35843024)

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?
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