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News Corp. Subsidiary Under Fire For Hacking Dead Girl's Voicemail

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the playing-with-fire dept.

Communications 251

Hugh Pickens writes "Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. came under pressure from UK Prime Minister David Cameron to respond to 'really appalling' allegations that its News of the World tabloid hacked into the voicemail of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler. The tabloid printed a story based on a voicemail left on Dowler's mobile phone on April 14, 2002, when she had been missing from her home in Surrey, southwest of London, for more than three weeks. According to a Guardian newspaper report, a private detective working for the tabloid gained access to Milly Dowler's phone messages after she was abducted in March 2002 and the detective, Glenn Mulcaire, is alleged to have deleted voicemail messages on Dowler's phone, giving her parents 'false hope' she might still be alive and thereby complicating the police investigation. According to one source, when her friends and family discovered that her voicemail had been cleared, they concluded that this must have been done by Dowler herself and, therefore, that she must still be alive."

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251 comments

But why? (1)

shadowfaxcrx (1736978) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666172)

In all the articles I've read on this, it's never explained why they did it. It's obvious that when they hack phones belonging to celebrities they're looking for scandal dirt. What did they expect to dig up on a little dead girl?

Re:But why? (4, Informative)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666196)

Allegedly the investigator did it so that the voicemail wouldn't run out of space. As in they'd heard the ones on the phone, but wanted to ensure that they could hear new ones coming in.

Re:But why? (4, Informative)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666204)

Because she was still missing at the time. They wanted the scoop. Bunch of sick fucks, deleting messages and giving the parents hope their kid is still alive (it's not the only time they've done this too).

Re:But why? (1)

Normal Dan (1053064) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666298)

I agree. Don't fuck around with situations like this. Losing a loved one can be very painful for some people and to have shit like this going on only makes it worse. Unfortunately, the way the justice system works, nothing will probably happen besides a couple of news articles.

Re:But why? (2)

SpongeBob Hitler (1848328) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666456)

I agree. Don't fuck around with situations like this. Losing a loved one can be very painful for some people and to have shit like this going on only makes it worse. Unfortunately, the way the justice system works, nothing will probably happen besides a couple of news articles.

Yeah, it would be a real shame if the parents were so distraught this happened that they took a chainsaw to the reporters responsible. I'm just saying...

Re:But why? (2)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666476)

I'm not familiar with specific laws in the UK but I think the individuals would be guilty of interfering with a police investigation and tampering with/destruction of evidence at the very least.

Re:But why? (1)

asdf7890 (1518587) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666704)

It depends how the technicalities have translated to modern technology (sometimes old case law ends up being applied in the most illogical ways).

If they had removed and destroyed mail addressed to anyone involved in a case they would definitely be guilty of tampering with evidence and interfering with a legal investigation. A "good" lawyer might even get them for willingly perverting the cause of justice.

Re:But why? (4, Insightful)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666982)

From the story I understood that the journalist or PI deleted the voicemails addressed to her leading everyone to believe she was still alive and had access to her phone. Although I don't know the specifics of the voicemail system, I think they fact that they accessed them and played them may be enough for tampering. Most systems records that fact that the voicemail has been played. Even if they did not delete them, the indication that the voicemail had been played would have been enough to completely change the investigation from the viewpoint of the police. The teenager in question may have been considered a runaway who had access to her voicemail and/or phone instead of an kidnapping or murder victim who didn't have access to her voicemail and would have changed how the police responded.

Re:But why? (4, Informative)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666694)

The News of the World Hacking Scandal is a big thing in the UK at the moment. It has now emerged that they hacked the phones of two other murdered girls, Jessica Chapman and Holly Wells, who were murdered by Ian Huntley; and the police are now looking at many other child murder cases.

Re:But why? (3, Informative)

zonky (1153039) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666440)

Spoofed callerid to the voicemail number, if people don't have a PIN set for voicemail, you can access voicemail without any further barrier.

Re:But why? (1)

Tarlus (1000874) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666984)

What did they expect to dig up on a little dead girl?

Something that would give News Corp the "exclusive" edge.

It's a similar mentality to paparazzi who try to snap and sell photos of celebrities in private situations. It's appalling but it's something that news companies will use to rouse more attention.

Newscorp isn't in the business of news (5, Informative)

milbournosphere (1273186) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666198)

It's a tabloid and a rag with a political agenda, thinly disguised as news, and it was designed that way: http://gawker.com/5814150/roger-ailes-secret-nixon+era-blueprint-for-fox-news [gawker.com]

It's a long article, but is really worth a read. It talks about Ailes and his plans for what would be Fox News. It uses primary sources, and goes into some depth about an interesting bit of history. Murdoch may not have come up with the idea, but he sure has done well with the execution.

Re:Newscorp isn't in the business of news (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36666396)

You mean there's a single source of news without a political agenda ? Which one ?

Too bad for them they didn't just hack a republican's email address, that would have brought them heaps of praise.

Re:Newscorp isn't in the business of news (5, Informative)

SpongeBob Hitler (1848328) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666512)

You mean there's a single source of news without a political agenda ? Which one ?

Too bad for them they didn't just hack a republican's email address, that would have brought them heaps of praise.

There is a world of difference between having a political agenda and deliberately lying and distorting the news. In the first, you describe things from your own biased point of view. In the latter, you actually make shit up. It's like the difference between a witness in court that tells a story from his/her own particular viewpoint and a witness that actually commits perjury. Most news sources are like the witnesses telling their accounts from their own viewpoints. Fox "News", on the other hand, is the perjurer.

Re:Newscorp isn't in the business of news (-1, Troll)

LBArrettAnderson (655246) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666578)

[Citation Needed]

John Stewart doesn't count.

Re:Newscorp isn't in the business of news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36666718)

I'm glad you dont obviously watch Fox News, otherwise you wouldnt be asking, you would know.

Re:Newscorp isn't in the business of news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36666812)

Please give me an argument other than "it's common knowledge." I've had these discussions dozens of times, and that's all I get.

Re:Newscorp isn't in the business of news (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36666446)

News Corp owns many news outlets. While I agree many of them are tabloids and not hard journalism, not all qualify for the tabloid label. The WSJ is still an excellent source of business news, even if its opinion pages are most definitely conservative. And, let's be honest, most all news outlets are owned by media companies that are selling entertainment. Witness the Casey Anthony trial as Exhibit A.

Re:Newscorp isn't in the business of news (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36666494)

I think the specific targets are meaningless in the context of the scope. Between 7,000 & 9,000 phone are reported to have been tapped/intercepted.

I want to know the technique used. Was an automatic dialler used, trying common PINS or something less/more sophisticated? And how can one defend against it.

To those that frown at us who demand the right to encryption for personal privacy; please shut the fuck up.

Any message intercepted is likely to be taken out of context, possibly embellished by the paper, and publish for public consumption, with little regard for the consequences.

Then we have Rupert Murdoch leaning on the British goverement to hush up the scandel, and corrupt cops deliberately fucking-up investigations.

From wikipedia:
On January 17, 2011, The Guardian reported that Glenn Mulcaire, a private investigator paid by the paper, testified that he had been asked by the newspaper's leadership to hack voicemail accounts on its behalf.[20] In April 2011, attorneys for the victims alleged that as many as 7,000 people had their phones hacked by the News of the World[21]; it was further revealed that the paper's owner, Rupert Murdoch, had attempted to pressure then-Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Labour Party MPs to "back away" from investigating the scandal.

Absolute.
Fucking.
Scum.

Re:Newscorp isn't in the business of news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36666834)

It's apparently the top seller in England. Tells you what kind of people the British are.

Re:Newscorp isn't in the business of news (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666874)

Murdoch may not have come up with the idea, but he sure has done well with the execution.

Huzzah! I nominate both Ailes and Murdoch for the Joseph Goebbels award.

All UK tabloids have done this (4, Interesting)

madprof (4723) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666208)

This is a particularly disgusting example of a very common practice within UK tabloid newspapers. I wish we could single out the News of the World but in fact the tabloids in general have all been up to it.

The interesting thing here is that Rebekah Brooks, who currently heads up News International in the UK, was editor of the News of the World when the phone was hacked and she is on record as saying she knew about phone hacking from back then. It is pretty likely (despite her protestations) that she knew what was going on - editors do - and it will be interesting to see how News Corp react to this with respect to her. She is one of Rupert Murdoch's favourites and all along they have been protecting her but we'll see what happens now.

Re:All UK tabloids have done this (4, Insightful)

mr_lizard13 (882373) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666292)

She's also David Cameron's neighbour and horse riding buddy, and the replacement for Andy Coulson, who resigned over the phone hacking scandal then bagged a job as Cameron's communications advisor before finally stepping down from that role too. Cameron - let it not be forgotten - stood by Coulson the whole time.

The real question shouldn't be if News Corp is a fit owner of BSkyB, but if Cameron's government is fit to preside over any aspect of Murdoch's takeover bid.

News Corp org structure (2, Insightful)

Black Sabbath (118110) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666214)

Ruthless fucking cunts all the way down.

Re:News Corp org structure (-1, Troll)

Sooner Boomer (96864) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666628)

Ruthless fucking cunts all the way down.

Fascinating. Anonymous, LulzSec, Wikileaks all publish information, and are praised by all slashdotters. A private investigator, somehow associated with Rupert Murdoch (and therefore all of Fox News) does the same thing and all are ready to stone him to death? I suppose no one else sees the hypocrisy?

Re:News Corp org structure (5, Insightful)

biodata (1981610) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666714)

Hacking websites of the rich and powerful for the sake of lulz or political protest is one thing - this is anon attacking big money. Being emplyed by the rich and powerful to hack the voicemail of innocent dead teenage girls is a different thing - this is big money attacking anon. The difference is obvious.

Re:News Corp org structure (2)

techcodie (1140645) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666744)

The difference would be whether you are seeking the information to try to help stop corruption at high levels, or just to get a few more un-educated readers to buy your rag, specifically at the expense of the loved ones.

Not even comparable circumstances.

The idea that you think they are, I find a little scary.

Re:News Corp org structure (1)

i_ate_god (899684) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666748)

no, no one else but you, because you're confusing the exposition of information with the deletion/tampering of information. In fact, when Wikileaks started editing the information they released, people on Slashdot clearly developed a change of heart towards them, realizing that they became just as biased as the journalists they derided.

Re:News Corp org structure (5, Insightful)

joggle (594025) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666830)

The previous leaks didn't delete the source information after distributing it. These guys recorded the phone messages then deleted them, potentially interfering with a police investigation and causing the family to believe their daughter had deleted the messages so must have still been alive. See the difference?

Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36666216)

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. . . .
 
Is that really necessary? I know there's a serious anti-Fox News crowd here, but it's quite a stretch to include the entire organization when even the tabloid itself probably frowned on what one individual did.

Re:Really? (1)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666252)

... when even the tabloid itself probably frowned on what one individual did.

"The tabloid" doesn't frown, it just fucks people up and rakes in the proceeds. There's no way the high-ups didn't know this was going on.

Re:Really? (1)

LBArrettAnderson (655246) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666294)

Not OP, but I agree that it's ridiculous to mention News Corp. and especially Rupert Murdoch. The only motivation I see for doing so is out of dislike. When ESPN does something, you don't say "A Disney subsidiary . . ." Rupert didn't do this, and no one from News Corp. (outside of the tabloid) had anything to do with it either.

Re:Really? (1)

willoughby (1367773) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666364)

The only motivation I see for doing so is out of dislike.

It's as though you're trying to make that sound like it's a bad thing.

Re:Really? (1)

asdf7890 (1518587) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666798)

Not OP, but I agree that it's ridiculous to mention News Corp. and especially Rupert Murdoch. The only motivation I see for doing so is out of dislike. When ESPN does something, you don't say "A Disney subsidiary . . ." Rupert didn't do this, and no one from News Corp. (outside of the tabloid) had anything to do with it either.

If those higher up in the group did not know what was going on then they should have or should at least take action against those who should have told them and those who should have not done it in the first place.

Perhaps when ESPN does something we should say "a Disnet subsidiary..." - that way umbrella groups might start taking in interest in what their underlings are doing instead of ignoring it until it becomes publicly noticed, defending them until it becomes painfully obvious there is no "reasonable doubt", then disclaiming all responsibility. If they don't get let off becuse the public don't know of the connection they might take an effort to control the worst nature of their investments.

Re:Really? (1)

shadowfaxcrx (1736978) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666276)

I think it was fair. In any news organization, ethics generally come from the top down. As Murdoch and his corporation are both ethically bankrupt, we can expect the individual media outlets he owns to be ethically bankrupt.

Or, put another way, if it were only this ONE tabloid in his whole operation that was busy making a mockery of journalism, it'd be one thing. But every one of his properties is encouraged, by the head office, to view "journalistic ethics" as a curious anachronism best left dead and buried.

When the leader is busy telling his employees that it's not only OK to be ethically repugnant, but that it is required, then the leader bears a large share of the culpability when one of his employees is ethically repugnant.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36666318)

I know I'm far from original with this, but seriously, [citation needed].

Re:Really? (1)

LBArrettAnderson (655246) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666352)

His citation is other people spewing the exact same comment any time Fox News is mentioned. They never have any evidence aside from a few mistakes (which all news organizations have) blown way out of proportion. Often Fox News will be vindicated, but these vindications are never publicized by Rachel Maddow, which seems to be the only show these people watch.

You are such a tool (0)

iserlohn (49556) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666492)

I don't know where to begin.

Re:You are such a tool (1)

LBArrettAnderson (655246) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666520)

This discussions is a prime example of the arguments presented against Fox News. "OMG FAUX NEWS!" "What's wrong with them?" "You are such a tool"

Re:You are such a tool (2)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666672)

Here's a good example of why people say that about Fox: Fox News Finally Admits There Are No Death Panels [politicususa.com]. And it's hardly the only example of them flat out making up shit to put on the air in their never ending war against liberalism.

Re:You are such a tool (-1, Flamebait)

LBArrettAnderson (655246) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666702)

You're citing politicususa? You have got to be kidding. "Real Liberal Politics." Oh, surely we can believe anything on that site! But seriously, I've read dozens of stories on that site. They lie. They distort. They censor comments (even though they claim not to). Try coming up with a better example.

Re:You are such a tool (1)

joggle (594025) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666942)

Try clicking the link. It includes video directly from Fox News. They did not make this up.

Re:Really? (2)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666572)

Ask the people of Liverpool [guardian.co.uk] where a tragedy where nearly 100 people died was used as the backdrop for some horrendous lies about the people there trying to rescue the injured and dying. There are so many other examples of low ethical standards from this rag and its stablemate the News of the World that it really doesn't take too much digging to find plenty of examples. I have never watched Fox News but if its journalists are of the same ilk as those on the Sun and the News of the World then I'm not surprised that they are widely despised.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36666666)

"The Sun | The Best for News, Sport, Showbiz, Celebrities"

That's a tabloid. You using an example from a tabloid to say that Fox News sucks is beyond dumb.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36666368)

Seriously? You know so little about News Corp you want a citation? How fucking lacking in basic knowledge of this foul company are you?!?!?

Re:Really? (0)

Revotron (1115029) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666436)

Sorry, I'm not well-versed enough in the agenda of the anti-News Corp hate machine to know all about why News Corp is so evil and Rupert Murdoch eats babies. Hence, [citation needed].

P.S. Anti-Fox News speak always sounds so much more entertaining when you picture it being spouted by an arrogant Frenchman smoking a cigarette.

Re:Really? (1)

pregister (443318) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666838)

P.S. Anti-Fox News speak always sounds so much more entertaining when you picture it being spouted by an arrogant Frenchman smoking a cigarette.

I just tried it. You're correct.

Re:Really? (4, Informative)

damburger (981828) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666472)

1. The editor of the paper at the time is now NIs most senior person in the UK.

2. The voicemail messages were deleted by NotW journalists, NOT by the investigator who initially gained access to the voicemail.

Don't try and let NI off the hook for this (even if you are an astroturfer working for them).

Re:Really? (1)

asdf7890 (1518587) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666810)

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. . . . Is that really necessary? I know there's a serious anti-Fox News crowd here, but it's quite a stretch to include the entire organization when even the tabloid itself probably frowned on what one individual did.

The tabloid itself is only now frowning on what one person did because it had been made public. Before then they were perfectly happy to ignore the behaviour completely and make what money they could by raking as much as they could from any resulting scoop.

Double standards anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36666236)

"I have to tell you that I am sickened that these events are alleged to have happened," Brooks said in a memo to staff. "If the allegations are proved to be true then I can promise the strongest possible action will be taken as this company will not tolerate such disgraceful behavior."

Translation: "Awesome! We're getting AWESOME publicity out of this!!!!! Our circulation is through the roof! Whoever did this is going to get a HUGE bonus!"

On another note: If an individual did this to a News Corp machine, does anyone think there would be a bit more than outrage? Like guys with badges and guns kicking down the door of the alleged perpetrator and having his name all over the news and the News?

Of course that doesn't happen to big, rich, and powerful corporations; especially one that has the capability of smearing a politician into resigning - if he happens to go after said corp.

Just pointing that out.

Let's Put This In Perspective (-1, Troll)

Revotron (1115029) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666266)

Before the typical string of "OMG FAUX NEWS" posts pop up (somehow always modded Insightful?), let's lay down some basic fundamentals of the story:

A News Corp subsidiary that happens to be a tabloid (which as we all know don't count as real journalism) hired a private investigator to complete his own investigation on the murder of a girl. The private investigator, acting as a lone agent, "hacked in" (Is it hacking when you guess the passcode? 1-2-3-4?) to her voicemail and used a message on it to add to his investigation.

Rupert Murdoch didn't personally hold anybody at gunpoint demanding a passcode. News Corp didn't send Nazi Zombies after her family demanding information. But I can already tell from the headline that some people will just go there right off the bat.

I'm all for charging the PI with obstruction of justice, but unless News Corp explicitly told him what to do, their involvement in this is tangential at best.

Re:Let's Put This In Perspective (1, Informative)

Nick Fel (1320709) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666316)

Well, the investigator says he was put under massive amounts of pressure from NOTW (but he would). There are also reports that then-editor Rebekah Brooks, now major exec in the company, contacted investigators personally. So it could still be the case that at least one major exec was entirely in on this. However, nothing has been proven at this point. I personally don't like the way the public (read: Twitterati) has launched a campaign to destroy the company's advertising revenue without any wrong-doing being proved.

Re:Let's Put This In Perspective (5, Informative)

pmc (40532) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666372)

One reporter and the private investigator have already gone to prison for this: I think wrong-doing has been proved beyond a reasonable doubt by convictions in a criminal court.

In addition News International have setup up a ~£20million fund to pay compensation to those who they have admitted they hacked. I think wrong-doing have been proved beyond a reasonable doubt by a confession and an apology.

What is up for debate here is exactly how evil and corrupt they are - it has been proved that they are evil and corrupt already.

Re:Let's Put This In Perspective (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36666320)

The fact that they used the information retrieved from the voicemails for a story makes them just as culpable. They hired the guy and they used the info he provided.

Re:Let's Put This In Perspective (2)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666338)

Okay answer this. To access the voicemail the "hacker" would have needed to know her phone number. How on earth would a newspaper get such information unless volunteered?

It's likely they paid a bent cop or a friend for the information. That's not exactly good is it?

It doesn't matter how good the passcode is, the fact is they obtained the phone number with a view to trying to gain access to personal information. Even if the passcode was 0000 they still had no legal right to be accessing the voicemail, not to mention deleting messages which could have been vital information for the Police investigation.

Re:Let's Put This In Perspective (1)

LBArrettAnderson (655246) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666384)

You don't think a private investigator would be able to attain that kind of information independent of the tabloid? If not, what's the point of a private investigator? I'm not saying the tabloid didn't do anything wrong (especially if they published the information, knowing how it was attained), but your argument doesn't make sense. The main point of the GP, however, was the ridiculous line drawn all the way to News Corp. and Rupert Murdoch.

Re:Let's Put This In Perspective (1)

Revotron (1115029) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666386)

I never said what they did was okay, it's just that the actual definition of "hacking" is completely different from what the submitter thinks it is. And as an aside, ALL tabloids (grimy little nosy bastards, all of them) pay people for information. Let's not act like this is some special case, especially considering that in the UK, tabloids love "hacking" voicemails to get info for their largely made-up stories.

Re:Let's Put This In Perspective (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666516)

Maybe "illegally accessing" would have been more descriptive however when hackers obtain usernames and passwords through social engineering rather than guessing, many here would consider it hacking.

Re:Let's Put This In Perspective (1)

Asic Eng (193332) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666522)

ALL tabloids (grimy little nosy bastards, all of them) pay people for information.

Paying people for information is not morally wrong, in general. For example you could offer a reward for information about the girl's whereabouts, which would be fine. Paying people to get personal information about the girl in a way which interferes with a police investigation - that's obviously wrong.

Re:Let's Put This In Perspective (2)

auLucifer (1371577) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666604)

I think you'll find your definition of hacking is not what you think it is
The Free Dictionary states: [thefreedictionary.com] To gain access to (a computer file or network) illegally or without authorization A message stored in a voicemail system is a file stored on a computer somewhere and they gained access without permission.

So what's your definition? Is it because they used such an easy to use password it's not hacking? Does that then mean brute force or the use of a dictionary or simply trying the most common passwords is not hacking? Or is it because it was a phone connecting to the network that makes it no longer hacking? Or maybe it's that they managed to gain access to her phone records without actually having possession of her phone that stops it from being hacking?

Re:Let's Put This In Perspective (1)

zonky (1153039) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666458)

Voicemails are set without passcode by default generally. All you need to do is spoof the inbound caller id, and call the network's voicemail number.

Re:Let's Put This In Perspective (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36666528)

Okay answer this. To access the voicemail the "hacker" would have needed to know her phone number. How on earth would a newspaper get such information unless volunteered?

I don't know where you live, but here we have these things called phone books. They're great for stuff like door stops, hitting annoying little sisters and looking up peoples phone numbers.

Re:Let's Put This In Perspective (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666754)

I may be old fashioned here, but maybe they got the phone number out of the phone book? Or if that doesn't work, just phone up information from the telephone company. Phone numbers aren't exactly well hidden and private.

Re:Let's Put This In Perspective (4, Insightful)

damburger (981828) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666444)

Are News International paying you for this?

The allegations are of full collusion between NotW and the PI - specifically that although the PI may have gained access to the voicemail, it was News International journalists who deleted messages from it (i.e. tampering with evidence in a murder investigation). Trying to blame some rogue investigator is utter bullshit.

Re:Let's Put This In Perspective (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36666462)

"I'm all for charging the PI with obstruction of justice, but unless News Corp explicitly told him what to do, their involvement in this is tangential at best."

Bullshit. As in, you clearly haven't been paying attention to the story but have nonetheless decided to have your tuppence' worth.

Glenn Mulcaire, the investigator at the heart of all this, has been saying through intermediaries for months that he was explicitly requested to unlwafully access voicemails by staff at the News of the World. Indeed, just this very evening he's released a statement to the Guardian [guardian.co.uk] detailing the pressure he was placed under by NotW staff to "obtain results." See, for example, just about any issue of Private Eye published in the past twelve months.

As it happens, we've now had news this evening that NotW execs, not content with accessing Milly Dowler's voicemails, were also involved in illegally accessing those of Jessica Chapman and Holly Wells, two girls from Cambridgeshire who were murdered in the summer of 2002.

And there's more: Channel 4 news here in the UK tonight detailed how the NotW had placed a senior detective under surveillance during the reopening of a particularly nasty murder inquiry. This includes the allegation that Rebekkah Brooks, who's the current CEO of News International, was interviewed by police about this back in 2002, thus making rather a fucking mockery of the claim that NotW execs aren't in this up to their arse cheeks.

And there's even more: if rumours flying around London this evening are to be believed, we're going to be hearing similar allegations over the coming week including, but not limited to, how the NotW accessed voicemails of Gerry and Kate McCann, the parents of a young girl abducted a few years ago in what became a media shitstorm.

Re:Let's Put This In Perspective (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36666478)

A News Corp subsidiary that happens to be a tabloid (which as we all know don't count as real journalism)

Unlike the rest of News Corp, which totally does.

Re:Let's Put This In Perspective (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36666538)

"Surrey police and taken formal statements from some of those involved in the original inquiry, who were concerned about how News of the World journalists intercepted â" and deleted â" the voicemail messages of Milly Dowler."

That doesn't sound like a PI gone rogue. Regarding News Corp's role, you speak as if the News of The World is regional branch in the boonies. It's one of the latest tabloids in the UK, with a ling and sordid track record. It's sister newspaper, The Sun, is fucking idiotic, but normally less brutal; well, aside from the Belgrano and the Liverpool business.

It would be no loss to see that newspaper driven out of business, and Murdoch's influence rolled-back. Seriously, do you think that Murdoch didn't know what kind if newspaper he owned?

Re:Let's Put This In Perspective (5, Insightful)

mean pun (717227) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666568)

Aww, come on! Do you really believe that? NOTW are also accused of a whole string of similar hacks on royalty and celebrity phones. One such incident they can explain away, but all of them? Especially because they have a well-deserved reputation for other dirty tricks.

And no, Rupert Murdoch didn't personally hack those phones. Osama Bin Laden also didn't personally fly one of those airplanes. Still, OBL was considered a mass murderer. Rupert Murdoch is no mass murderer, but he IS a ruthless psychopath.

Re:Let's Put This In Perspective (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666574)

For the most part I agree with you on the jumping to conclusions part, for example the idea that the editors deliberately deleted voicemails to keep the story alive. We can't know that for sure.

But having printed stories based on the contents of the girl's voicemail, the editors had to have at least been aware that the PI was accessing the voicemail account. This makes them responsible for tampering with potential evidence. Their subsequent use of PIs to illegally access celebrity voicemail accounts shows that this was editorial policy. And since News Corp. hired the editors, it is ultimately responsible.

There's plenty damning here without making things up.

Re:Let's Put This In Perspective (2)

SpanglerIsAGod (2052716) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666608)

Is it hacking when you guess the passcode? 1-2-3-4?

Yes. If someone steals your care because you left the keys in while you went back in the house and grabbed something it's still theft.

In the US at least if you hire a PI for something you are responsible for anything they do that is illegal.

Re:Let's Put This In Perspective (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666698)

Is it hacking when you guess the passcode? 1-2-3-4?

Yes. If someone steals your care because you left the keys in while you went back in the house and grabbed something it's still theft.

It could diminish the charge from premeditated to opportunistic though, but yes it's still theft even if you are an idiot for leaving the keys in the car (which could be a crime in itself depending on where you live)

Re:Let's Put This In Perspective (1)

blind monkey 3 (773904) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666632)

So.... plausible deniability... you'll go far revoltron!
Why is FAUX News an insult? Surely since they report Fair & Balanced news, it would be a big compliment - a nick name for being fair and balanced.

If organisations keep appearing in a bad light and there is a common link, do you not think the common link should be mentioned?

P.S. You, dear sir are the first to use the term "FAUX NEWS" TM !!!

Re:Let's Put This In Perspective (1)

formfeed (703859) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666650)

Rupert Murdoch didn't personally hold anybody at gunpoint demanding a passcode. News Corp didn't send Nazi Zombies after her family demanding information. But I can already tell from the headline that some people will just go there right off the bat. I'm all for charging the PI with obstruction of justice, but unless News Corp explicitly told him what to do, their involvement in this is tangential at best.

The profits make their way up, why not responsibility?

Re:Let's Put This In Perspective (1)

biodata (1981610) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666738)

If they paid him for the info they are guilty. It's like how viewers of child porn are guilty because their demand causes children to be abused for the pix.

Re:Let's Put This In Perspective (4, Insightful)

copponex (13876) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666772)

Just because you remove yourself from the equation with money -- just like a mafia don does when he hires a hitman -- doesn't mean you get a pass when they correctly interpret your winks and nods, even if you escape the legal ramifications on technical grounds. As Nick Fel and pmc point out, the participation of people within NotW seems to have been already proven in a court of law.

In a larger perspective, this perfectly supports the theory that News Corp doesn't give a shit about news, but it pretends to for money. Take the American side of his empire, for instance. Roger Ailes founded Fox to push his political agenda, and Murdoch bankrolled it because he thought it would make money. That's not a conspiracy. That's just a common sense understanding of known facts. The idea that a Nixon aide and a capitalist would lie and cheat and hire people of questionable character to achieve their objectives shouldn't surprise anyone at all.

Advertiser boycott in progress (4, Informative)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666278)

The way to deal effectively with this is to take out the advertisers. A boycott is in progress and is getting results.

* News Of The World advertisers list [google.com] - includes handy Excel spreadsheet, suitable for mailmerging
* Addresses and phone numbers of advertisers [wordpress.com]

So far, Ford have withdrawn their advertising from NOTW, and Mumsnet have removed their advertising from Sky. The latter will hurt, as that's advertisers considering all of News International too toxic to deal with.

Re:Advertiser boycott in progress (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36666340)

It will just mean slimier advertisers will move in.

Just like Gambling sites advertising on pirate sites and Goldline on Glenn beck.

Re:Advertiser boycott in progress (1)

Asic Eng (193332) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666546)

Yeah, slimier advertisers might move in. They are not stupid though: they'll pay less.

Re:Advertiser boycott in progress (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666556)

It will just mean slimier advertisers will move in.

I doubt they will be paying as much as Ford did.

Re:Advertiser boycott in progress (1)

lordandmaker (960504) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666434)

And the best bit is that this sort of a campaign really wouldn't look out of place in the News of the World.

Re:Advertiser boycott in progress (1)

LocalH (28506) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666508)

Not that it's a bad thing in this case, but too often, getting advertisers to pull is the modern censorship. Get enough advertisers to pull out and they'll have to get rid of the show, right?

I wish this earth would just go ahead and spontaneously combust. It'll save billions of lives' worth of suffering and pain.

They keep getting away with it (0)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666404)

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. came under pressure from UK Prime Minister David Cameron to respond to 'really appalling' allegations that its News of the World tabloid hacked into the voicemail of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler.

How about just throwing some of those assclowns in jail? Let the pressure come from their new cellmate, Tyrone, who likes cuddling and moonlight walks around the exercise yard.

Confusion... (5, Insightful)

damburger (981828) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666510)

The summary says the investigator deleted the voicemail messages. In the news report I saw, the allegation is that the NotW journalists deleted the messages.

(alleged) chain of events is:

1. NotW hires investigator to gain access to voicemail

2. NotW listens to voicemail to get soundbites from loved ones for their shitty, amoral rag.

3. Once voicemail is full, they delete stored messages so they can get more juicy copy from distraught friends and relatives of a murdered 13-year old girl

4. They then interview parents of said girl, the mother speaking about the hope that her daughter is still alive based on the deleted voicemails.

Do not try to excuse this. The people doing this are pitiless psychopaths.

Some more context here: (1)

damburger (981828) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666562)

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/jun/30/news-corporation-powerful-media

This cancerous organisation has just made a deal with the government it is deep in the pockets of, to extend its media monopoly in the UK - this scandal is unlikely to reverse that decision, given how personally close News International is to the Conservative Party:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uk_general_election_2010#Endorsements

"came under pressure from UK Prime Minister" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36666586)

David Cameron wilfully employed the person who had to know and was involved in phone hacking. And new allegations released tonight suggest that person who Cameron employed (Andy Coulson) was involved in paying police officers for information (that is illegal).

So please don't paint this at St David saves the day - David Cameron is involved in this scandal whether he likes it or not - and he cannot take the regal "above it all" line.

Right-wing fools! (2)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666626)

For all of the right-wing clowns here who are saying that it is unfair to brand Fox News and the other "fine" Murdoch properties with the tar coming from this story, I have one response: If you buy properties that lie down with dogs and don't clean them up, you shouldn't be surprised when the fleas hop onto you. God knows Rupert's had time to change this paper's editorial policies if he didn't approve of them - he's owned it since 1969.

What's the Big Surprise? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36666636)

To me, it's that Fox News U.K. actually attempted to gather primary source material, as despicable as their tactics were.

Fox News U.S.A. doesn't need to hack into anybody's mail, they can just make shit up.

The editor in question is a friend of the PM (2)

damburger (981828) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666750)

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/feb/04/david-cameron-dinner-rebekah-brooks-mystery

We are a perfectly corrupt society.

Bit of background (5, Informative)

DaveGod (703167) | more than 2 years ago | (#36666814)

This might be the straw that's very likely going to break the camel's back, but it's been a long running story now. Back in 2005 they were rumbled for hacking into voicemail of aides to the royal family, a good article from a US source, the NYT, here [nytimes.com]. The tl;dr version of that article is a minor uproar ensues but Newscorp contains it and is more or less successful claiming it as a one-off, rouge scenario, offering up the resignation of Andy Coulson, the editor, though he claims not to have known anything about it of course.

Now Andy Coulson makes the mistake of getting a job - head of communications, think Toby Ziegler in the West Wing - in the Conservatives, who get into government. This, combined with statements made by the private investigator who's decided he's not going down alone, adds enough fuel to get the fire burning again. The Guardian and Channel 4 get digging and out comes a documentary. A handful of celebrities are sniffing around it now, lo and behold Hugh Grant throws gas on the fire by bugging the bugger [newstatesman.com]. All is forgiven Hugh, well played.

Accusations just keep mounting up and the picture is forming pretty solidly of a newsroom where such things were par for the course. An oft-repeated point directed at Coulson I'll paraphrase as "either he knew and he broke the law, or he didn't and he's grossly negligent" (not sure who started that, I think Ian Hislop [wikipedia.org]). Coulson is given the boot.

The shit is flying pretty thick now and it just keeps coming. But it's all the royals, celebs and politicians. There is a sense that whilst it's overstepping the mark considerably, these are all public people and fair game. Milly Dowler, on the other hand, was a child and a tragedy. This is a recent turn in events and very quickly major advertisers have started to step away. I'll applaud Ford for being the first of the big advertisers to drop them, though I'm quite surprised it took so long. I suspect more shuffled away quietly.

News is now coming in [guardian.co.uk] that the police investigating the phone hacking have contacted the parents of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, the girls killed by the Soham Murderer. This was one of the biggest stories and national tragedies I can remember.

The News of the World really must not be allowed to survive this, it is a stunning failure of ethics, governance and plain decency on a huge scale with substantial evidence. If they can't be brought down for this, they clearly cannot be taken down for anything. Yet it's even proving difficult to remove the editor.

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