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News of the World Investigation Expanded to 9/11 Victims

samzenpus posted about 3 years ago | from the got-to-tap-them-all dept.

Media 135

DMandPenfold writes "Police are questioning whether a change in News International's email retention policy was part of an effort to conceal widespread phone hacking by the News of the World, a scandal which is threatening Rupert Murdoch's planned takeover of BSkyB. The trawl for emails and the questioning of changes in News International's email retention policy has important implications for IT security and corporate governance professionals, and is likely to see organizations examining their own policies and reminding their staff on acceptable usage and best practice for email."

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for the wrong reasons (5, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | about 3 years ago | (#36720724)

is likely to see organizations examining their own policies and reminding their staff on acceptable usage and best practice for email

It'd be pretty sad if the lesson people take from the News Corp fiasco is: man, their IT staff should've really been more on the ball about making sure no evidence of the crimes they committed was accidentally retained.

Re:for the wrong reasons (5, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 3 years ago | (#36720882)

It'd be pretty sad if the lesson people take from the News Corp fiasco is: man, their IT staff should've really been more on the ball about making sure no evidence of the crimes they committed was accidentally retained.

It's been an open secret for well over a decade now that email retention policies are purely legal dodges. There is no other reason to automatically delete such massive stores of institutional memory except for the possible legal threat they may pose. It isn't like email storage requirements are a practical limitation - any company with terabytes of email is going to have an IT budget so large that those costs will be lost in the noise.

And, while I don't have a link at hand, I recall a case a couple years ago where the government was pursuing charges that a large corp's email retention practices were a deliberate form of destruction of evidence - despite all of the lawyerly sign-offs and standardised corporate practices verbiage. I wish I did have a link because I'd like to know how that case turned out.

Re:for the wrong reasons (3, Funny)

vlm (69642) | about 3 years ago | (#36721052)

It isn't like email storage requirements are a practical limitation

Talk like that is going to result in the lawyers requiring all emails to be hidef videos with 5.1 sound, no more plain text. Keep quiet lest a lawyer hear us, unless you look forward to supporting that kind of a monstrosity...

Re:for the wrong reasons (2)

ray-auch (454705) | about 3 years ago | (#36721504)

It's been an open secret for well over a decade now that email retention policies are purely legal dodges. There is no other reason to automatically delete such massive stores of institutional memory except for the possible legal threat they may pose

Not true.

Emails often contain personal information, at the very least contact information, and keeping such information indefiintely risks breaching data protection laws in various jurisdictions.

Re:for the wrong reasons (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36722164)

It'd be pretty sad if the lesson people take from the News Corp fiasco is: man, their IT staff should've really been more on the ball about making sure no evidence of the crimes they committed was accidentally retained.

It's been an open secret for well over a decade now that email retention policies are purely legal dodges. There is no other reason to automatically delete such massive stores of institutional memory except for the possible legal threat they may pose. It isn't like email storage requirements are a practical limitation - any company with terabytes of email is going to have an IT budget so large that those costs will be lost in the noise.

And, while I don't have a link at hand, I recall a case a couple years ago where the government was pursuing charges that a large corp's email retention practices were a deliberate form of destruction of evidence - despite all of the lawyerly sign-offs and standardised corporate practices verbiage. I wish I did have a link because I'd like to know how that case turned out.

(Posted anonymously for the sake of my employer) Where I currently work, there is a fairly short email retention policy (1 year), but it's less a "legal dodge" than it is a financial one. As we are a government agency, we're subject to the Freedom Of Information Act, as well as subject HIPAA and FERPA to make everything extra fun. We have a legal department who is tasked with dealing with all of that. So the hardware of storing the email is not the cost we are trying to avoid, it's the cost of the lawyers required to sift through the email to deal with it... the shorter the retention policy, the less legal staff required. And, unsurprisingly, it's not nearly as trivial as the hardware costs...

Re:for the wrong reasons (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36723384)

You are absolutely right; I previously worked for a subsidiary of a major insurance company that received a pretty hefty fine as a result of their policy of deleting e-mails.

The result was a policy of the company retaining all e-mails (and all physical documents dealing with clients) for (I think) 10 years- even if you delete it from your inbox- the company still holds a copy for a decade.

Whereas deleting e-mails to prevent proof of wrong-doing may help some companies- it will land others in hotter waters. Best policy anyone company can make is to take an ethical standpoint from the beginning. All wrongdoers get caught eventually if they do wrong for long-enough. Deleting e-mails won't help them.

Re:for the wrong reasons (1)

Lythrdskynrd (1823332) | about 3 years ago | (#36723904)

Perhaps you mean:

http://www.aiim.org/Infonomics/ArticleView.aspx?id=30580 [aiim.org]

Stiff sanctions have been awarded against parties who fail to meet their production obligations and criminal prosecutions are possible for deliberate attempts to interfere with federal investigations or administrative proceedings. (7)

7. See, e.g. Coleman (Parent) Holdings, Inc. v. Morgan Stanley, Inc., 2005 WL 674885 (Fla. Cir. Ct. March 23, 2005) (entering default judgment based on, iner alia, failure to timely produce relevant email); In re Prudential Ins. Co. of Am. Sales Practice Litig., 169 F.R.D. 598 (D. N.J. 1997) (imposing fine for failure to adequately act to preserve email). In addition, as part of the enactment of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, Congress stiffened existing law and added new criminal penalties if one knowingly alters or destroys documents with the intent to impede a federal investigation or proceeding or "in relation to or contemplation of such matter or case." 18 U.S.C.A. 1519 (2002).

Re:for the wrong reasons (2)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 3 years ago | (#36724000)

Maybe you aren't aware that corporations also destroy physical dead tree documents, religiously. Papers are retained for as long as the law requires, then they are destroyed. Electronic documents of a similar nature should be dealt with in the same manner. There is no reason to archive stuff for decades, just because you consider the cost to be trivial.

The more records being retained, the more records are available to be stolen, whether they be stolen by industrial espionage agents, the courts, or whoever.

Ditch those records, at the earliest opportunity.

Re:for the wrong reasons (2)

jimicus (737525) | about 3 years ago | (#36724102)

It's been an open secret for well over a decade now that email retention policies are purely legal dodges. There is no other reason to automatically delete such massive stores of institutional memory except for the possible legal threat they may pose. It isn't like email storage requirements are a practical limitation - any company with terabytes of email is going to have an IT budget so large that those costs will be lost in the noise.

You'd be surprised.

Data storage on one single desktop-class SATA disk is very cheap, you're right there.

Data storage on a SAS disk is about three to six times the cost - that's before you factor in storage losses through RAID.

If you want really fast access to data, it's common to buy lots of smaller drives and spread the data across more spindles. This increases your cost per gigabyte quite a bit further because smaller disks are never very cost-effecient.

If you need the manageability you get from something like a SAN (and you actually want the manufacturer to support you), you need vendor-certified drives. Even if the only difference between them and a bog-standard drive is the label on the front (though customised firmware is by no means unknown), that bumps the price up quite a bit further - and you wouldn't buy something like that without a hardware maintenance contract.

Next up you've got backup and retention. If you want the backup to be complete in a short space of time, you need something fast. There's a few options available, such as live mirroring with snapshots (Oh goodie! Now you need two SANs in two separate locations and a very fast link between them!), tape (fast sequential access but pretty dire random access), virtual tape (hard disk based systems that present themselves as tape, frequently for compatibility reasons).

Re:for the wrong reasons (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36720908)

Call it the Nixon Watergate Tape lesson.

Re:for the wrong reasons (2)

tpholland (968736) | about 3 years ago | (#36721690)

Yes, but according to the Guardian who have been doggedly pursuing this story, there was an external company involved, Essential Computing, who were the ones who blew the whistle and recovered the incriminating messages. In other news, it sounds like the Bangalore operation they outsourced most of their IT to have had no problems disappearing vast amounts of information.

Breaking News!!! They hacked the PM! (1)

Kamiza Ikioi (893310) | about 3 years ago | (#36722418)

News International papers targeted Gordon Brown [guardian.co.uk]
Newspapers obtained details from the former prime minister's bank account and legal file and his family's medical records - Thanks to Jeff Jarvis [google.com] for the story.

Re:for the wrong reasons (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36723522)

It has hardly been mentioned that News International and the News of the World ran an Irish operation (12 full-time and 20 part-time staff) from offices in Dublin. They seem to have had a view that this out-of-jurisdiction operation was not subject to any of the legislation applying to UK staff, and passed a lot of fax spoofing and telephone hacking through this office.

At some point this will get a mention - possibly from the 32 very annoyed ex-staff they just sacked in Ireland.

Re:for the wrong reasons (1)

throbber (72924) | about 3 years ago | (#36723596)

Your right. That's the job of their Records Management staff.

Re:for the wrong reasons (1)

throbber (72924) | about 3 years ago | (#36723612)

You're

Different email policies (2)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 3 years ago | (#36720728)

...Because we all know the best solution to morally bankrupt business practices is to make sure there is no paper trail, analog or digital.

Re:Different email policies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36721070)

There are valid reasons to do it for non-evil companies as well. Let us all take the lesson of mcom.bad-attitude [jwz.org] to heart. Well, for 30 days. And then perform cardiac expungings.

Yeah like it's only them doing this sort of stuff. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36720730)

There is no way the News of the World is the only paper or new group being doing this sort of stuff.
It's all too easy to do for any hack to resist.

Re:Yeah like it's only them doing this sort of stu (1)

echnaton192 (1118591) | about 3 years ago | (#36721004)

This may be the case. Like there is not only one rapist, child abuser, murderer, thief and kingpin. But to ME that does not mean that the prosecution of those bastards should stop. It's bad enough the government is far to excessive in their invasion of the private lifes of people who are no criminals because there might (!) be a case somewhere. But a news corporation that invades the privacy of other people just because their completely legal activities might be news is despicable. The only place for such "journalists" is behind bars.

There's blood in the water.... (3, Insightful)

darien.train (1752510) | about 3 years ago | (#36720732)

And a lot of it too. Everyone can smell it and the revelations are only in their infancy. I always thought Murdoch was a blight on the news industry and a poster child for the evils of media consolidation but this scandal shocks even me. This is mafia-level shit.

Re:There's blood in the water.... (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | about 3 years ago | (#36720850)

Yeah, real evil nasty business.

I think the only way this could get worse is if Rupert Murdoch did a press conference with a long mustache that he kept curling.

Re:There's blood in the water.... (4, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | about 3 years ago | (#36720910)

Oh, pfft, Murdoch could eat an orphan live on Sky 1, and he'd still be feted and fawned over come the next general election. Keeping that harridan Rebekah Brooks on-board is a clear F-U to the peons (in which I include such non-entities as mere Prime Ministers).

Re:There's blood in the water.... (3, Interesting)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 3 years ago | (#36722448)

It's getting actually downright scary. Apparently there's evidence that a member of the Queen's security team was taking bribes for information on the doings and whereabouts of members of the Royal Family. Let's keep in mind here that the Queen is the head of state of the UK and fifteen other Commonwealth Realms, and this is a massive breach of security.

Imagine for a moment what would be happening right now to any newsroom that had managed to penetrate the Secret Service and was gaining information on the President's whereabouts, or that of his wife and children. The Secret Service would be tearing the newsroom to pieces, reporters and editors, Christ, even the bloody janitors and the guy that flips the water bottles, would be sweating it out under a bright light bulb in front of guys in suits and sunglasses.

Re:There's blood in the water.... (1)

Nimey (114278) | about 3 years ago | (#36722754)

Not the same at all. The Queen is an utterly powerless figurehead, and if she dies tomorrow Cameron's still in charge.

It wouldn't be /good/ if her security was penetrated, but it's not the same sort of "oh fuck" as if a for-real head of state had that happen.

Re:There's blood in the water.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36722864)

I'm pretty sure we could plod along quite merrily if Cameron dropped dead tomorrow. In fact, "oh fuck" probably wouldn't come into it at all.

Re:There's blood in the water.... (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 3 years ago | (#36723500)

He is, after all, merely a Prime Minister.

Re:There's blood in the water.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36723456)

The Queen is an utterly powerless figurehead

In practice, yes. In theory, no; for example, she is the ultimate head of the armed forces. Of course this is actually a side issue - the GP's point is absolutely correct. We're talking about a head of state, whether she has power or not.

Re:There's blood in the water.... (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 3 years ago | (#36723466)

Anybody with even a passing familiarity with the British constitutional system knows that the Queen is not powerless. That the Sovereign rarely if ever uses her powers does not make her powerless. The last UK election showed just how extensive the Regal powers can be.

Re:There's blood in the water.... (1)

Nimey (114278) | about 3 years ago | (#36723558)

Explain your point about the last election. How'd the Queen arrange to get Labour booted out?

Re:There's blood in the water.... (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 3 years ago | (#36723880)

In the case where there is no clear winner of a general election, the British Sovereign (and their Vice-regal representatives in the other Commonwealth Realms) can decide who forms a government. Since the previous government no longer is in a position to advise the Sovereign on who forms a new government, other than the Sovereign's advisers, this is entirely up to the Sovereign.

Beyond that, the Sovereign still holds wide reserve powers. Under normal circumstances these are only used on the advice of the Government of the day, but never the less, the fact that the Sovereign holds them means the Government does not. This is the underlying concept of "negative power".

Re:There's blood in the water.... (3, Insightful)

Hope Thelps (322083) | about 3 years ago | (#36722724)

Keeping that harridan Rebekah Brooks on-board is a clear F-U to the peons (in which I include such non-entities as mere Prime Ministers).

Maybe.

I'd pretty much assumed that she was just being kept ready as the scape goat of choice when things get really bad (and we don't know how much there is yet to come). "Oh, we don't want to lose Rebekah, we have complete confidence in Rebekah, no absolutely we won't fire Rebekah... well, okay, you win, Rebekah has been escorted out of the building - a big triumph for the will of the public. Massive embarassement for us but you beat us. Now let's move on."

Maybe I'm just naive.

Re:There's blood in the water.... (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 3 years ago | (#36723926)

No, that's pretty standard fare for a scandal. Pick your scapegoat, support them until the point when supporting them is no longer possible and then get them to fall on their sword.

The chief difference in this case is that Brooks is a good pal of David Cameron's, which means her downfall may be the last straw for him. He's already bleeding like crazy over Andy Coulson's being charged. There are legitimate questions as to how much more damage Cameron can accrue before his own position becomes untenable.

Re:There's blood in the water.... (1)

echnaton192 (1118591) | about 3 years ago | (#36721020)

+1

Re:There's blood in the water.... (1)

Tasha26 (1613349) | about 3 years ago | (#36723902)

Just in: "Former prime minister Gordon Brown had his phone hacked and bank account breached by The Sunday Times, another British newspaper owned by Rupert Murdoch's media empire" ....god know what darker things will come out the woodwork.

Ok, ok. (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 3 years ago | (#36720740)

Can we finish locking the News of the World staff in their headquarters and burning it to the ground, along with anybody found to have aided or abetted them(given that their contacts with the Met and right up to the PM are well known, this probably includes a few people in addition to their shady PIs...) and get on to an important matter:

Why are phones, particularly the VM box that is more or less an automatic part of today's cell phone, so damn vulnerable? The Telcoes seem to have no trouble tracking our activities in great detail if those activities are something for which we can be billed, and they also seem eminently willing to cooperate with law enforcement. Why, then, do I have absolutely no way of knowing when, and from where, my VM box was called into, and why would the VM box of a phone that is subject to police investigation be accessible from the outside at all?

I certainly wouldn't mind seeing a bunch of tabloid flacks roasted in their own slime; but if voicemail hacking and phone intercepts by random PIs are that easy, we have a problem that needs to be solved by better security, not just crushing malefactors after the fact...

Re:Ok, ok. (4, Insightful)

Herkum01 (592704) | about 3 years ago | (#36720862)

I know VM is not very secure, but what I don't understand is why everyone is not screaming about this being a hacking crime. If an individual does this they want to throw the book at them and lock them up for years.

Just because it is a newspaper out to make money does not entitle them to escape criminal charges. They should be out there pressing charges and fining Murdoch for this behavior.

Re:Ok, ok. (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 3 years ago | (#36720934)

Oh, I would certainly view the pressing of serious criminal charges against as many of them as possible with the greatest pleasure. I'm just not entirely optimistic that a media empire as influential as Murdoch's will be attacked as strongly as it ought to be, and definitely sure that if a major newspaper got away with hacking high-profile phones without being noticed, much less stopped, for a period of years, Joe Blow doesn't have a chance in hell if somebody with the cash for a PI takes an interest in him.

The former problem is solvable with sufficient political will, and plenty of cells and hard labor; but the latter is really a systems security issue.

Re:Ok, ok. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36721188)

...attacked...

The rhetoric here and in other posts is really strong. What's wrong with just applying the law and seeking justice?

Re:Ok, ok. (1)

Score Whore (32328) | about 3 years ago | (#36722258)

Um, the PI they hired to do the this work is already in jail because of it.

Re:Ok, ok. (0)

clickclickdrone (964164) | about 3 years ago | (#36720916)

Why are phones, particularly the VM box that is more or less an automatic part of today's cell phone, so damn vulnerable?

All they did is access voicemail accounts which had the default PIN i.e. 1234 or whatever. Nothing clever. Once they had the mobile numbers, they just dialed in from another phone, access VM and entered the PIN. Simples.

Re:Ok, ok. (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 3 years ago | (#36720966)

Which changes nothing about how illegal it is. It is very easy for me to open your house with a bump key, but I don't because it would be illegal and I am not that sort of person.

Re:Ok, ok. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36720980)

Why are phones, particularly the VM box that is more or less an automatic part of today's cell phone, so damn vulnerable?

All they did is access voicemail accounts which had the default PIN i.e. 1234 or whatever. Nothing clever. Once they had the mobile numbers, they just dialed in from another phone, access VM and entered the PIN. Simples.

No, they were spoofing caller ID to get around the PIN requirement altogether.

Re:Ok, ok. (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | about 3 years ago | (#36721012)

OK, I'd not heard that and it wasn't what was initially reported (but then what was..). Thanks for the correction :-)

Re:Ok, ok. (1)

jabuzz (182671) | about 3 years ago | (#36721202)

There is many stories about what they actually did, but there is a suggestion that it is only a four digit pin, so they manually brute forced it. Yes it is tedious but the $$$ rewards made it worth it.

Remember they where making payments totaling hundreds of thousands of pounds to corrupt police officers.

Re:Ok, ok. (1)

digitalmischief (1643053) | about 3 years ago | (#36721304)

or they could have done it with CLI spoofing, as when you call up from your own phone by default the vm system will not require a pin, so if you use a CLI spoofing service you can get it with no pin. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caller_ID_spoofing [wikipedia.org]

Re:Ok, ok. (2)

canajin56 (660655) | about 3 years ago | (#36721412)

It's kind of clever, actually. I can only speak for my provider (Bell Mobility Canada) but it only asks for your PIN if you are calling from an outside line. And (apparently, I've never tried) it tells if it's an outside line by caller ID, not some tower signal voodoo. So even if you change from the default password, you can still be hacked if your provider works that way. (Bell doesn't for landline VM, it prompts even from your own line). But on the other hand, I think the default voicemail password was randomly assigned. When I got my new phone, I received a text that said "Your default voicemail password is 8231, please dial #whatever to set up your inbox" (or whatever, like I remember). So, that's good. It's just too bad about the caller ID trick ;)

Re:Ok, ok. (2)

khr (708262) | about 3 years ago | (#36720932)

Why are phones, particularly the VM box that is more or less an automatic part of today's cell phone, so damn vulnerable?

Probably the trade-off between security and convenience... Not enough paying customers have yet to demand increased security on it, or canceled their accounts because of the lack of it...

Re:Ok, ok. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36721532)

Also this is stuff which happened in the past, not stuff happening now. The phone companies _assumed_ you'd want this feature to work out of the box. Once they were told that people used it illegally they changed it to be off by default. So if you buy a phone today the News of the World trick doesn't work until you set up a PIN and most people will never bother to do that.

What was going on at News International wasn't about this specific hack, in a way it was almost admirable. It was about being able to prove every exclusive story. They wanted to run only true stories. Which is nice. But they didn't care how they got them. If they had to bribe your milkman to hide a camera in your pint that's what they would do. If they ran a story that broke up a marriage, that was fine by them. If they ruined a police investigation or messed up a trial, that was OK too. Nothing was more important than being able to put an exclusive story on the front page.

Assuming things haven't changed radically, I would expect that last month NotW staff spent their time trying to match email addresses and usernames from files provided by outfits like Luzlsec with the names of celebrities and their staff. A Facebook password for a major celebrity is way better than Voicemail access to a royal aide's phone.

Re:Ok, ok. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36721116)

0000 or 1234. Users don't change their PIN.

Re:Ok, ok. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36721268)

The most recent reportage explains that police were bribed by the News Of The World (ROH, as in Rot In Hell to that rag) to give the paper the police access levels to the VMs.

Re:Ok, ok. (2)

wolrahnaes (632574) | about 3 years ago | (#36721286)

Why are phones, particularly the VM box that is more or less an automatic part of today's cell phone, so damn vulnerable?

In most cases, because the users are stupid. In some cases, because the telco is stupid.

The majority of the time, the user will have a stupidly weak password like 1234, 123456, 111111, etc. I do VoIP for a living and one of the platforms I support, Broadworks, can not block a user from having a password like 123456. 111111 is banned, but easy sequences can't be yet. Due to this, I have on average 3-5 cases a month of people getting their accounts hacked and someone trying to forward calls to some other country. We block this system-wide, so it just results in the user's incoming calls breaking until it's noticed, but it happens with reasonable regularity.

In a few cases, the telco is retarded and allows the user to set that calls from their phone be allowed directly in to the voicemail system. Unfortunately they do not sanity-check this to verify that the call is actually coming from that phone and instead depend entirely on caller ID. Anyone with a VoIP or PRI system and a trusting upstream carrier can send whatever caller ID they want, making it trivial to get in to the voicemail. I think T-Mobile was in that category last time I checked, no idea on the others.

The Telcoes seem to have no trouble tracking our activities in great detail if those activities are something for which we can be billed, and they also seem eminently willing to cooperate with law enforcement. Why, then, do I have absolutely no way of knowing when, and from where, my VM box was called into, and why would the VM box of a phone that is subject to police investigation be accessible from the outside at all?

When, they should easily be able to give you and if they don't its only policy. From where, that's a lot tougher, given the ease of spoofing caller ID. Also, a lot of attacks are routed through multiple systems to disguise the source(s). Most attacks I see seem to come from other PBXes, likely hacked in similar ways.

Agreed on the box being open to remote access. It's trivial on my systems to allow incoming messages but break phone access to any given box, and investigators could just access the e-mail server that stores the messages directly via IMAP.

Re:Ok, ok. (3, Interesting)

bmo (77928) | about 3 years ago | (#36722294)

>The majority of the time, the user will have a stupidly weak password like 1234, 123456, 111111, etc. I do VoIP for a living and one of the platforms I support, Broadworks, can not block a user from having a password like 123456. 111111 is banned, but easy sequences can't be yet.

The next time you go to the ATM take a look at the number pad, where people put in their PINs.

You will see that numbers 1 through 5 have the most wear.

It's like this everywhere.

--
BMO

Re:Ok, ok. (1)

hey! (33014) | about 3 years ago | (#36724308)

Can we finish locking the News of the World staff in their headquarters and burning it to the ground, along with anybody found to have aided or abetted them and get on to an important matter:

No, because you left out the really important part: taking a whiz on their freshly dug graves.

Are they just the ones that got caught? (1)

Coisiche (2000870) | about 3 years ago | (#36720832)

As the continuing revelations over the NotW practices come to light I have to wonder if they were the only newspaper indulging in this... or just the only one to be caught.

Is anybody checking for unusal data clean-ups among other newspapers?

Re:Are they just the ones that got caught? (1)

slim (1652) | about 3 years ago | (#36721000)

Of course the other red-tops have done it. The Daily Mail has been noticeably reluctant to comment on the subject, for example.

Already today, the Sunday Times and the Sun are being implicated in illegally investigating Gordon Brown's affairs (including his child's medical records).

Re:Are they just the ones that got caught? (4, Funny)

clickclickdrone (964164) | about 3 years ago | (#36721046)

>The Daily Mail has been noticeably reluctant to comment on the subject, for example.
They just haven't found an angle yet to blame it on immigrants. Luckily, Murdoch has just arrived...

Re:Are they just the ones that got caught? (1)

biodata (1981610) | about 3 years ago | (#36721132)

Are newspapers the only ones or does this extend into other media? (TV news I am looking at you).

it happened to me (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36721094)

I was a 9/11 victim (killed in the North Tower). A couple weeks later, I checked my voice mail and there were no new messages but there were old messages which I had not heard (I always delete my messages after I hear them). I thought it was odd at the time.

Re:it happened to me (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 3 years ago | (#36722552)

You were killed in the collapse of the North Tower, and the only thing you found odd was old voice mail you hadn't heard before?

When do the investigations here start? (-1, Flamebait)

HangingChad (677530) | about 3 years ago | (#36721108)

the News of the World, a scandal which is threatening Rupert Murdoch's planned takeover of BSkyB.

You know News of the World isn't the only News Corp property hacking people's voicemails. Something like that would be all in a day's work for Fox News. Would anyone even pretend to be surprised if they're doing the same, or worse? It's the same people at corporate.

Wouldn't surprise me to find out the same thing was going on at WSJ. News of the World had a lot of great people working there who were dicked by a few News Corp lackeys. WSJ likewise used to be a reputable newspaper, but that was before Murdoch came along.

Re:When do the investigations here start? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36721164)

I wouldn't be surprised if all big news organizations do it, CNN and MSNBC included. They are all scum, right up there with FoxNews and Mudoch's tripe.

Re:When do the investigations here start? (1)

Danathar (267989) | about 3 years ago | (#36721200)

Or MSNBC for that matter.....

Re:When do the investigations here start? (4, Insightful)

HangingChad (677530) | about 3 years ago | (#36721244)

See, I don't buy that. You may want it to be true because it excuses Fox. False equivalence lets one side keep moving the goal post. The other side does it, therefore it's okay if our guys do it.

Re:When do the investigations here start? (1)

Nick Ives (317) | about 3 years ago | (#36722740)

All tabloid newspapers in the UK are implicated in this hacking scandal; it's only a matter of time before dirt is found on the other tabloids.

No broadcasters are likely to be implicated though, as the broadcaster regulator OFCOM has statutory powers investigate and make broadcasters issue corrections. If any TV news journalist had tried to use evidence gained through hacking or bribery it would quickly have become apparent in any ensuing investigation.

The print press, however, just had the non-statutory Press Complaints Commission. This was run by newspaper editors and when they received a complaint, they'd deal with it by asking the paper in question if they really did it or if the story was really true. Obviously they rarely found against newspapers.

Re:When do the investigations here start? (2)

rednip (186217) | about 3 years ago | (#36723860)

Have you even seen an FNC broadcast? It's talking points and wire reports all day with commentary all night. No 'room' for investigative reports.

There is policy and there is practice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36721136)

I once worked for a Fortune 100 company that had a seemingly reasonable retention policy for email:

* You were required to flag certain items and only those items for retention beyond 2 years or some such. Almost all projects lasted well under 2 years.
* You were required to mark anything related to any known existing or reasonably anticipated legal case "do not delete."
* Everything else got automatically deleted.

In practice people found ways to save "local" copies of what they thought they might need later, either on paper or on disk.

With the particular mail system we had at the time, it was simply easier to make a local copy of everything than to save only certain things.

A/C for a reason.

Press charges against Murdoch and Brooks (5, Interesting)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | about 3 years ago | (#36721148)

Published: September 1, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/05/magazine/05hacking-t.html [nytimes.com]

IN NOVEMBER 2005, three senior aides to Britain’s royal family noticed odd things happening on their mobile phones. Messages they had never listened to were somehow appearing in their mailboxes as if heard and saved. Equally peculiar were stories that began appearing about Prince William in one of the country’s biggest tabloids, News of the World.

  As Scotland Yard tracked Goodman and Mulcaire, the two men hacked into Prince Harry’s mobile-phone messages. On April 9, 2006, Goodman produced a follow-up article in News of the World about the apparent distress of Prince Harry’s girlfriend over the matter. Headlined “Chelsy Tears Strip Off Harry!” the piece quoted, verbatim, a voice mail Prince Harry had received from his brother teasing him about his predicament.

The palace was in an uproar, especially when it suspected that the two men were also listening to the voice mail of Prince William, the second in line to the throne

The ones in charge, Rupert Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks, have known about this for years and approved of it. They are the ones who should be charged, not the pianists, i.e. the reporters. They did what they were told to do.

Read more at http://www.observer.com/2010/media/new-york-times-goes-after-murdoch-and-news-world-phone-hacking-scandal [observer.com]

"When The Times reporters asked one veteran News of the World reporter how many people in the offices knew about the hacks, the reporter said “Everyone knew The office cat knew."

and

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/12/world/europe/12hacking.html?_r=1&ref=world [nytimes.com]
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/11/world/europe/11britain.html?ref=world [nytimes.com]

The evidence is there, and everywhere, Murdoch and Brooks are scum.

Re:Press charges against Murdoch and Brooks (3, Insightful)

Zelos (1050172) | about 3 years ago | (#36721220)

What about the morons who kept buying the paper every Sunday to read those kind of idiotic stories?

Perhaps it's a case of getting the newspapers we deserve?

Re:Press charges against Murdoch and Brooks (1)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | about 3 years ago | (#36723248)

Those morons were never in charge or paid by Murdoch to commit crime.

They were not even aware that they were witnesses to crimes, repeatedly.

Re:Press charges against Murdoch and Brooks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36724210)

Those morons were never in charge or paid by Murdoch to commit crime.

No. Its far worse. Those morons were paying Murdoch to commit crimes.

You cannot honestly believe that these sorts of stories can be made available in a publication without either a) the assistance of the individual(s) in question or b) a criminal act of some sort.

The assistance can be in the form of carelessness, emotional public outbursts, candid interview, whatever. Criminal act could be relatively minor like trespassing on up to major stuff like bribery, comm intercepts, and fraud.

Myself, if a reporter/editor/owner thinks the story is worth the crimes it takes to gather the information: prove it. Go to jail for the crimes you had to commit. If you're not willing, clearly the information wasn't worth obtaining.

Re:Press charges against Murdoch and Brooks (1)

tbannist (230135) | about 3 years ago | (#36723998)

I don't think that's particularly fair. How would the readers know that the Newspaper was breaking the law to get it's stories? And, of course, if you're going that way what about the advertisers who paid the News of the World to commit the crimes and entice the readers? After all, the readers are mere witnesses, the advertisers aided and abetted the crimes by providing the money for them...

No, the responsibility for the crimes lies with the people who did them, and the people who ordered them done.

Re:Press charges against Murdoch and Brooks (1)

Viewsonic (584922) | about 3 years ago | (#36721226)

The morning news were saying that the way some laws are written that they will have to do the time, even if proven that they had nothing to do with it. At one point or another someone was tired of watching scapegoats being lead to the slaughter while the people on top were immune. It looks like a few of these laws that may have been broken do hold those in charge at the very top responsible for all the actions of their underlings. They were showing Murdoch's son superimposed behind bars all morning long.

Re:Press charges against Murdoch and Brooks (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 3 years ago | (#36722726)

The Younger Murdoch may be facing serious charges in the US over the bribing of British police officers (and now, we learn, even a member of the Queen's security staff). There's some suggestion that the only reason Rebekah Brooks hasn't been forced to fall on her sword yet is to try to deflect the lightning from James Murdoch, but that won't preserve him if the DoJ decides to go after him over bribery of foreign officials.

The Murdoch's are in serious trouble.

Re:Press charges against Murdoch and Brooks (1)

s0litaire (1205168) | about 3 years ago | (#36723396)

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/23/section/79 [legislation.gov.uk]

Criminal liability of directors etc.
(1)Where an offence under any provision of this Act other than a provision of Part III is committed by a body corporate and is proved to have been committed with the consent or connivance of, or to be attributable to any neglect on the part of

(a)a director, manager, secretary or other similar officer of the body corporate, or
(b)any person who was purporting to act in any such capacity,he (as well as the body corporate) shall be guilty of that offence and liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly

(2)Where an offence under any provision of this Act other than a provision of Part III

(a)is committed by a Scottish firm, and
(b)is proved to have been committed with the consent or connivance of, or to be attributable to any neglect on the part of, a partner of the firm,he (as well as the firm) shall be guilty of that offence and liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly.
(3)In this section “director”, in relation to a body corporate whose affairs are managed by its members, means a member of the body corporate.

"Technology and Moral Panic" is the previous story (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 3 years ago | (#36721174)

"Technology and Moral Outrage" should be the title of this story

some will blame technology, rather than murdoch thugs

don't believe me? just watch. "the devil made me do it" is the oldest defense in the book. where "the devil" = "backwards lyrics on beatle albums" / "videogames" / "dungeons and dragons" / whatever

anything to avoid personal accountability when it comes to punishment, anything to embrace personal accountability when it comes to reward

Re:"Technology and Moral Panic" is the previous st (1)

Gideon Wells (1412675) | about 3 years ago | (#36722234)

There is a chance the inverse could happen here and it will be quietly kept downplayed.

The most adamant, in the US, "The devil made them do it and the devil is technology!" new POV tend to gravitate under or near Murdoch. This is like spending years calling people witches for having warts, strange feline familiars of dark coloring and reports of flying around on a broom. Then one day having it discovered you have a black cat, a well saddle attached broom and industrial strength war remover in your bathroom.

They can't attack the "Devil" without attacking themselves through hypocrisy. Those hounding them are after the head of the leadership, not demonization of the "Devil".

Re:"Technology and Moral Panic" is the previous st (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36723766)

You could do a movie about devil zombies. That would be great.

It's funny... (1)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | about 3 years ago | (#36721198)

A person gets caught doing this to a corporation, and 9 times out of 10 they end up in Federal 'Pound Me In The Ass' Prison with a fine so large it'll take years to pay back.

But if a corporation does it to a person...well, maybe they'll get a strongly worded email or something, or an unflattering article in a major newspaper (but not too unflattering, don't want to get sued for defamation or anything!)

...and people wonder why nobody trusts big business or the government anymore...

Re:It's funny... (1)

rednip (186217) | about 3 years ago | (#36724094)

Actually, the private eye who actually did the crime is in jail already.

...and people wonder why nobody trusts big business or the government anymore...

Yea, some people in government and big business twist facts and logic to suit their purpose, just like you. The only difference is that people listen to them, does that make you jealous?

how easy to hack voicemail (1)

peter303 (12292) | about 3 years ago | (#36721228)

The land line line playbacks had 2-digit codes. A hacker could try all of the them. My cellphone passcode defaulted as my birthdate.

Don't sack the sys admins (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36721230)

To me what comes from this is the fact that NOTW staff are now leaking information all over the shop after being canned. The policy changes were only known to some senior managers and a few of the technical staff a few months ago, and I can't see that that has changed as it was a direct result of the widening investigation into the illegal activities which caused the change in heart of News International (who are in the process of moving all their mail to the cloud including Wade/coulson/Murdoch junior) and the choice to dump a load of mail at the last minute stages of the project.

The moral of the story is don't sack the sysadmin you trusted with this information, management wouldn't leak the story, but a BOFH scorned is a dangerous thing.

What's new here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36721248)

Everyone that's anyone knows to never conduct any business via email. People got wise long ago that the person instigating an (internal to your business) email conversation with you is only doing so to cover their own ass or create incriminating material for future use. Most bosses use phones or meetings for this reason.

I've been burned before, so take this to heart: never commit to anything via email.

You've got the narrative wrong (0)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 3 years ago | (#36721580)

The narrative is wrong here. Journalists are heroes, not villains. They are the hardworking people who ask the hard questions and bring the news to a grateful, if ignorant, public. You see, people will make the correct decisions if informed correctly by the Fourth Estate. I can think of no better standard-bearer for this zeitgeist (widely shared among journalists - get a few drinks in one and ask her) than the quote below:

"CBS News has a culture, has a history that for those of us who work here, is very real - that we see it as a sort of magical mystical kingdom of journalistic knights - and I know I can mentally hear people rolling their eyes, that's the way we feel."
Ex-CBS News anchor Dan Rather

This knight of journalism was run out of office by neocons for trying to show the world the truth about President Bush. It didn't work. :( We got four more years of Bush. :( :( :(

After being fired for his daring move to remove Bush and elect Kerry, Rather said, "In many ways on many days, [reporters] have sort of adopted the attitude of 'go along, get along. What many of us need is a spine transplant." The Texan added. "Whether it's City Hall, the State House, or the White House, part of our job is to speak truth to power." Powerful words, from a powerful man. The world needs more people like him, to tell stories according to the prevailing majority (among journalists, that is) narrative. We miss him.

Re:You've got the narrative wrong (1)

CapuchinSeven (2266542) | about 3 years ago | (#36722142)

The narrative is wrong here. Journalists are heroes, not villains.

Deleting voicemails off of a murder victims voicemail inbox, that they had hacked, and then leading her family to believe that she was still alive and deleting her voicemails not only makes you a villain, you makes you fucking scum, evil and a blight on the face of the earth. Months ago an ex News of the World Journalist claimed on British TV that this sort of thing was going on, and had been for sometime, he claimed he had done nothing wrong in his quest for the truth and I stated at the time, where do we draw the line? If we allow this to carry on, just where will this end, just how much are they getting away with in this quest for the truth? Well, I guess the News of the World showed us where the line is, I guess they showed us just where it would end. Scum.

Re:You've got the narrative wrong (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 3 years ago | (#36724138)

In journalism, the line is supposed to be where the information no longer serves the public good. Journalists have long crossed the line of legality (ie. publishing Wikileaks details), but there has been the justification that the information was in the public interest. But hacking into the voice mail of a missing girl cannot in any way be presented as furthering the public interest. It's a repugnant form of tom-peepery, with no other purpose than to scoop some lurid details and be the first to press with them.

Re:You've got the narrative wrong (1)

Nick Ives (317) | about 3 years ago | (#36722938)

Nobody is arguing against journalists using subterfuge in public interest cases.The NotW famously caught Jeffrey Archer admitting to perjury which led to his conviction.

That doesn't mean it's OK to hack into the voicemail of the Chancellor of the Exchequer and then run a story about his baby daughter dying of Cystic Fibrosis just because that's what you happen to find.

Gotcha! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36721868)

It's not just at the NoTW that fingers are now being pointed:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-14112097 [bbc.co.uk]

(mentions both the Sunday Times and the Sun)

TroSl`l (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36721996)

the deal with you sup4ort gNAA,

Email DELETION policies (1)

ljw1004 (764174) | about 3 years ago | (#36722204)

The phrase "email retention policies" is double-speak. It should be "email deletion policies".

/. would be supporting it (2)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | about 3 years ago | (#36722506)

If Wikileaks had done it.

If Wikileaks was accused of going after Dick Cheney or George W. Bush's email and telephone records there would be overwhelming support for the actions. But News Corp asshats did it so it's a bad thing.

It's actually a bad thing no matter who did it, wikileaks, the FBI, FBS, News International, etc.

Re:/. would be supporting it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36722970)

I think there's a difference. NOTW wasn't trying to do investigative journalism, it was trying to get dirt and something to base sensationalist headlines on things that have little or nothing to do with us aside from our fascination with celebrity and dead people whom we should allow privacy.

There was no journalistic integrity, no working for the common good in according ideology as far as i can see.

It sold news papers, it didn't uncover corruption, hypocrisy in government or corporations breaking the law just created some tabloid fodder.

That is the difference between WikiLeaks and NOTW.

Re:/. would be supporting it (2)

Nick Ives (317) | about 3 years ago | (#36723028)

This is so ridiculous. The NotW does have a proud history of investigative journalism, the most famous example being Jeffrey Archer. The editor at the time ended up resigning over that though as Murdoch didn't want his papers going after Torys. In any case, that was a clear case of public interest.

The same argument can be made about Wikileaks. Leaking things that could embarrass the government in order to expose hypocrisy or lies is fine. Digging up dirt on someone just because they happen to be on TV and having an affair, hacking into dead girls voicemails or doing the same for stories about how a politicians baby girl is dying are not the same thing.

Re:/. would be supporting it (2)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | about 3 years ago | (#36723746)

Wikileaks spokespeople are completely unrepentant about people killed from Wikileaks dumps, so if death is the metric, Wikileaks is much worse.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/aug/01/julian-assange-wikileaks-afghanistan [guardian.co.uk]

"The leak exposed massive corruption by Daniel Arap Moi, and the Kenyan people sat up and took notice. In the ensuing elections, in which corruption became a major issue, violence swept the country. "1,300 people were eventually killed, and 350,000 were displaced. That was a result of our leak," says Assange. It's a chilling statistic, but then he states: "On the other hand, the Kenyan people had a right to that information and 40,000 children a year die of malaria in Kenya. And many more die of money being pulled out of Kenya, and as a result of the Kenyan shilling being debased."

What a wonderful attitude, they are poor and they'd die anyway, so who the fuck cares that more died and were displaced? It's for the greater good!

Or something.

Imo, Murdoch thrives on corruption (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | about 3 years ago | (#36723288)

I'm sure they'd love to say it's just how tabloid journalism in the UK works but that's not the case. One quick look into Fox News and you find them doing all sorts of questionable things like photo manipulation, wikipedia edits and being in bed with Bush. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fox_News_Channel_controversies [wikipedia.org]

I would guess there is a whole load more we haven't found out about. I believe this guy thrives on this sort of scum. I hope someone has enough balls to stop his bskyb bid and I hope more people start boycotting news international products. Let the old man die knowing his empire is falling all around him.

Why has murdoch not apologized? (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about 3 years ago | (#36723550)

Odd, that he has not apologized. KIlled paper and wants to get rid of all evidence. Yet, he has not apologized. Worthless POS.

Re:Why has murdoch not apologized? (1)

Nimey (114278) | about 3 years ago | (#36724152)

Because that would mean admitting this in any way his fault. Politically that would be bad for him.

Collusion (1)

Teun (17872) | about 3 years ago | (#36723556)

The way the UK (Tory) government is pussy-footing this issue I would not be surprised when collusion between the Conservative Party and Rupert's gang is going to be uncovered.
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