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News Corp. Hacking Scandal Spreads To Government

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the fox-in-the-house-of-commons dept.

Privacy 105

wiredmikey writes "The scandal revolving around the News Corporation's now defunct British tabloid, News of the World, has entered a new phase with news that the hacking extended into areas of national security, as detectives working for the Murdoch media empire may have hacked into the computer of a government minister responsible for Northern Ireland. Scary stuff, yet the enterprise security community seems strangely quiet on the topic, aside from showing other journalists how easy it is to do. Potentially, if you know the correct mobile number and you can guess four digits, you too can be listening to your elected leaders' personal messages. The chances are pretty good that it could be their birthday."

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Qestion (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38217222)

>if you know the correct mobile number and you can guess 4 Digits

Would that be any 4 digits, or some particular ones?

Re:Qestion (4, Funny)

mr1911 (1942298) | more than 2 years ago | (#38217546)

Would that be any 4 digits, or some particular ones?

Any of these particular digits: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Re:Qestion (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38217594)

You would think if any phone in the world had "Precedence dialing" ABCD buttons, it would be the govt phones, but they dont. Of course the govt types would rely on security thru obscurity and therefore all their passwords would be "A"

Obligatory (2)

bberens (965711) | more than 2 years ago | (#38218880)

I randomly generate all of my passwords. http://www.xkcd.com/221/ [xkcd.com]

Re:Qestion (4, Informative)

zonky (1153039) | more than 2 years ago | (#38218450)

You don't need to guess any digits. You spoof the caller id to be the cell phones number. Most people don't bother with a PIN if they call voicemail from their own phone.

Re:Qestion (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#38218628)

1 2 3 4

Re:Qestion (1)

kbg (241421) | more than 2 years ago | (#38219726)

That's amazing. I've got the same combination on my luggage.

Re:Qestion (1)

newcastlejon (1483695) | more than 2 years ago | (#38220858)

Hmm, that took over an hour.
We're slipping, guys!

Well, well.. (4, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38217276)

Will a contrite Rupert Murdoch make a tearful visit to No. 10? MI5?

Really not surprised, when the people in News International (NI) were going for a story they let nothing get in their way. And the juicier the story, the more Big White Letters on the cover of NotW or Sun. Drunk with it, they were, the idea of digging where they should not and getting away with it.

Another round of review for suitability of the Murdoch Clan by stock holders? Might just be enough to dislodge the old goat and his son.

Re:Well, well.. (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#38217350)

Will a contrite Rupert Murdoch make a tearful visit to No. 10? MI5?

If things work out correctly, he should be spending significant amounts of his time in the near future at the Old Bailey.

Re:Well, well.. (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 2 years ago | (#38217420)

Too bad it's not the Old Baily of old.

Re:Well, well.. (4, Insightful)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 2 years ago | (#38217698)

To treat him exactly as any other criminal would be necessary, sufficient and unlikely.

Re:Well, well.. (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 2 years ago | (#38218482)

I can dream... 'e stole a loaf a bread, put 'im on the gibbet and feed 'im to the crows!

Re:Well, well.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38218986)

You know, I'm no fan of the man, I think his news organizations prey on the disenchantment and fears of many. Having said that, don't you think you're being a bit harsh? Last I checked, there was no evidence that he was directly involved in that stuff. I want him to fail because his business plan has helped turn people in my country against each other, not because some people who worked for a company that he owned were two-bit crooks. You really think Murdoch babysits any of these people?

Still, I guess the victims of Al Capone would have preferred that he got hit with murder charges too but still, at least Capone actually was responsible for the tax thing.

On that note, I don't think hacking should be something that gets you thrown into a forget-me-not.

Re:Well, well.. (4, Insightful)

E IS mC(Square) (721736) | more than 2 years ago | (#38219480)

>> You really think Murdoch babysits any of these people?

No, but do you think it's unlikely that get-the-story-no-matter-what directives came from the top? Also, it was not just one case, they were doing this for long, and doing it systematically, and doing it with no regards to moral, ethical or legal aspects. I am not sure all this went on without it being the culture from top to bottom.

Re:Well, well.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38217532)

Will a contrite Rupert Murdoch make a tearful visit to No. 10? MI5?

If things work out correctly, he should be spending significant amounts of his time in the near future at the Old Bailey.

Caused by Old Barley?

Re:Well, well.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38217394)

This is a British cultural problem, not a Murdoch problem.

Re:Well, well.. (5, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38217534)

This is a British cultural problem, not a Murdoch problem.

Don't know where you live, mate, but Murdoch's (Rupert and Prince James, the News International heir apparent) have control over London Times, The Sun and News Of The World (now defunct) and wrote the cheques and managed the managers who made all this possible.

Any editor worth his pay packet, when presented with an astounding story, based upon what appears to be inside information, has to ask, "Where did you get this information?" When you are in James' place, overseeing the British arm of News International (incorrectly stated as News Corp in the article above) you have to do more than gaze in wonder at what a talented and resourceful lot you have under you. You should be paying the occasional visit to your managing editors and ask, "Where are we getting this?"

There has always been the ability of the government to enquire, which they've done a poor job of, just how the news knows some things. Dave's doing his best CYA, but it keeps going along. What are you going to do about foreign ownership of a large part of your media, Dave? Learning anything important, Dave?

Re:Well, well.. (2)

similar_name (1164087) | more than 2 years ago | (#38218076)

overseeing the British arm of News International (incorrectly stated as News Corp in the article above)

News International is the British arm of News Corp.

From Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]

News International Ltd is the United Kingdom newspaper publishing division of News Corporation.

Re:Well, well.. (5, Interesting)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 2 years ago | (#38218280)

" (incorrectly stated as News Corp in the article above) "

There is a lot of that. The Murdoch Empire (probably the most correct name possible) moved quickly to attach the stigma of "hacking" to those few select managers at one specific newspaper, then closed that one newspaper. The naive are supposed to conclude that those few select managers were rogues, and that they were punished by the Murdoch Empire. And, the naive have mostly come to that conclusion. Amazing, that Rupert is so good at manipulating the gullible masses.

One thing that can't be dismissed, is that Rupert personally paid multiple settlements, out of pocket, long before the scandal really broke. Many people overlook it, but no one can dismiss that fact. Rupert Murdoch was intimately familiar with the details of this hacking operation. Rupert Murdoch personally approved of the operations, or they would have been shut down to prevent the necessity of paying out more settlements.

I can't fault you for naming names in the manner you used. But, I insist that "Murdoch Empire" is most appropriate, and that the Emperor is entirely responsible for all misconduct. This particular emperor seems to hate delegating any authority, to anyone.

Re:Well, well.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38219624)

I wonder too if it was Rupert's empire who hacked into the emails at East Anglia giving us climategate.
Seems like he closed down one of his papers very fast, perhaps they had something to hide.

Re:Well, well.. (0)

The Askylist (2488908) | more than 2 years ago | (#38218582)

The main movers against Murdoch are the Labour Party. This is, of course, the same party whose chairman didn't know about loads of dodgy donations, the party who brought you the dodgy dossier, and in Tom Watson's case the same MP who was sitting next to Damien McBride when McBride was busy smearing all and sundry who didn't toe the party line.

.

News International was allowed to do all their "hacking" under a Labour government, but made the mistake of not supporting the brothers at the last election.

Don't let anyone tell you this isn't political - it's nothing but politics.

Re:Well, well.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38222592)

Milly Dowler's parents might not agree that this is just 'nothing but politics'.

Re:Well, well.. (1)

Grumbleduke (789126) | more than 2 years ago | (#38223068)

Don't know where you live, mate, but Murdoch's (Rupert and Prince James, the News International heir apparent) have control over London Times, The Sun and News Of The World (now defunct) and wrote the cheques and managed the managers who made all this possible.

Because all the non-Murdoch British newspapers are perfectly well-behaved? The various Dailys, other tabloids etc. have spent years breaking all sorts of laws (just look at the number of cases they've lost in privacy and defamation alone), and that's the stuff they've been caught for - not the daily set of lies, spin, manipulation and hypocrisy (like the Daily Mail trying to use [guardian.co.uk] it's greatest target of hate and contempt, the Human Rights Act, to blow the privacy of people ... giving evidence to an inquiry into breaches of privacy by newspapers). Even the Guardian's been publishing some dodgy stuff recently... Every day the newspapers seem to look more like part of the entertainment industry than journalism. The Murdochs wouldn't have been able to get away with all of their 'wrongdoing' if everyone else wasn't doing it as well.

Also, it's just "The Times", and has been since 1788.

Re:Well, well.. (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | about 2 years ago | (#38226760)

You [Murdoch, pere et fils] should be paying the occasional visit to your managing editors and ask, "Where are we getting this?"

In the case of Murdoch pere, who has worked in the newspaper industry from the bottom up, there is no plausible defence ; for Murdoch fils, he has (AFAIK) never worked in a newspaper, but has only ever worked as a paper-shuffling manager. So he has a pathetically weak defence of "I'm a manager ; I've never been trained in the common ethics and best practices of journalism." (How he explains not knowing about normal human ethics is another question ; he could probably take the "look at my father" defence on that one.)

There has always been the ability of the government to enquire, which they've done a poor job of, just how the news knows some things. Dave's doing his best CYA,

Yes, Clean-boy Dave has worked hard to shield Murdoch pere et fils from the consequences of their actions. This begs obvious questions.

but it keeps going along. What are you going to do about foreign ownership of a large part of your media, Dave? Learning anything important, Dave?

The first obvious question is "what does Dave know that Murdoch, pere et fils also know (and that Dave knows that they know)?"

My bet is that something nasty, and probably severely actionable, happened at the Knobs Restaurant-Smashing Club when Dave was a student, and has so-far been covered up.

Actually, Murdoch, pere is no idiot ; probably he doesn't trust his son with this sort of bombshell. If I had a son, I'd think twice about letting him know "where the bodies are buried" (as the standing joke goes ; not that I'm implying that I suspect Clean-boy Dave of being involved in actually digging graves).

On a related topic, I wonder what the contents of insurance.aes256 are?

Re:Well, well.. (5, Informative)

newcastlejon (1483695) | more than 2 years ago | (#38217988)

You could certainly argue that this is a problem with the culture and practices of the press and not one specifically with Murdoch. That said, when a significant portion of the popular press is in fact owned by Murdoch the distinction seems moot.

I heard this on the radio yesterday and it seems pertinent: Charlotte Church (a singer - just think 'Bieber' but with classical training and a proper excuse for looking like a girl) was asked to perform at a Murdoch birthday party. She was told that if she waived her usual fee she would be treated "favourably" in News Int. papers. Now, maybe I'm being too cynical but that sounds rather a lot like extortion. It's even worse when you bear in mind we're talking about a girl who was in her early teens at the time.

Re:Well, well.. (5, Interesting)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#38218190)

I'm not convinced that Britain has anything to do with it, besides merely being where the story was first exposed. Do you suppose the Italian press (mostly owned by their soon-to-be-ex-leader) has never hacked into the phones of people Berscolini wanted discredited? Perhaps you imagine Fox News and TMZ are wholly innocent of any kind of malpractice in the United States? Clear Channel Radio is, of course, wholly innocent of any wrongdoing, right?

It seems to me that most nations have press scandals that they've either successfully suppressed or don't need to suppress because they own all the media that matters.

Re:Well, well.. (2)

newcastlejon (1483695) | more than 2 years ago | (#38221042)

I can think of only one difference between Britain and the US in this regard: we don't have O'Reillys, Colberts or Mahers. The only analogue I can think of is Jeremy Paxman but he's not even close; we just don't celebrate(?) political commentators to the same degree.

I can't speak Italian so I won't comment on their media but I will say this: it seems as though Berlusconi got away with much worse than defamation or phone hacking. Ultimately though, I'm only really concerned with how my own country's media operates, parochial as that may be.

Re:Well, well.. (3, Informative)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#38221578)

We don't celebrate the same sort of commentary. From "That Was The Week That Was" (TW3) to "Spitting Image" to "The Mary Whitehouse Experience", we've had apolitical satire (ie: everyone's fair game, and like most game it's apparently best served plucked and roasted). Politically-inspired satirists (Ben Elton, Alexi Sayle, etc) also exist. However, they're nowhere near as nasty, cruel or mass-marketed. They're humourists who present the warts-and-all view of contemporary life, including politics, in a way that might provoke a little thought here and there ("Bumbledown: Life and Times of Ronald Reagan" is a great example) but isn't intended to be the mouthpiece of some specific segment of society. There wasn't the mean-spirited attitude there.

Paxman - psssh! He interviews political figures and is nasty to some of them, but David Frost was both a stronger interviewer and a more respectful one at the same time. Being unpleasent isn't necessary or useful in political commentary.

Indeed, I'll argue that that that is really the underlying difference there. Us Brits can get nasty - In Scotland, never, ever try and put ginger ale in a single malt Scotch if you value your life - but it's just not in the same way. We save our violent rhetoric for where it belongs, the football terraces^W^H^WLongship Burnings and the LARP SummerFest.

Re:Well, well.. (2)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 2 years ago | (#38225008)

Paxman - psssh! He interviews political figures and is nasty to some of them, but David Frost was both a stronger interviewer and a more respectful one at the same time. Being unpleasent isn't necessary or useful in political commentary.

Paxman only cares about one thing: getting an answer to his question. He won't tolerate the typical politician's response of ignoring the interviewer and answering their own question ("Well, I think the real question is..."), and will push it until they either respond or look like the devious bastards that they are.

Around the early part of the 2000s politicians stopped agreeing to be interviewed with their opposition. You would get a Labour MP and a Troy MP come on to be interviewed, sitting right opposite each other, but the interviewer would speak to them one at a time with no debate between them. As such the interviewers had to start asking much more aggressive and difficult questions on behalf of each participant since they could no longer speak to the other person. Things have started to get better now but aggressive questioning is apparently here to stay, and it wasn't Paxman who started it.

Watch him carefully. If he gets annoyed it is because people are bullshitting him. That should be the normal reaction, not the extremely mild response that Frost normally provides.

Re:Well, well.. (4, Interesting)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 2 years ago | (#38218264)

Yes; those damn brits who insist on making their police actually investigate corporate crimes. If this was a proper civilised country the corporations would be allowed control the media for political benefit and nobody would lift a finger. Look at how the FBI have managed to make accusations of hacking 9/11 victims completely disappear for example*. That's a proper example of a police system that knows that it's job is controlling the people.

* we'll leave Australians for a while; there has been some uncivilised muttering about news international corruption, but it's quite possible that nothing will be done..

Re:Well, well.. (4, Funny)

smellotron (1039250) | more than 2 years ago | (#38222220)

Drunk with it, they were, the idea of digging where they should not and getting away with it.

I've always wanted to hear Yoda's take on the Mines of Moria. Thank you.

Standards couldn't be much worse (4, Informative)

Don_dumb (927108) | more than 2 years ago | (#38217408)

Alastair Campbell - (Press Secretary for Tony Blair) not someone who I would normally believe on anything. Wrote a pretty comprehensive witness statement outlining how far the problems goes and how much it affects the running of the country and to be fair he understands the media more than most. It is worth a read - http://www.levesoninquiry.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Witness-Statement-of-Alastair-Campbell.pdf [levesoninquiry.org.uk]

Re:Standards couldn't be much worse (4, Informative)

The Askylist (2488908) | more than 2 years ago | (#38218630)

Bear in mind when reading Campbell's statement that this is the man who brought us the dodgy dossier and the 45 minutes to WMD claims. He's a master of selective statement and a propagandist worthy of Goebbels himself.

Re:Standards couldn't be much worse (4, Interesting)

Don_dumb (927108) | more than 2 years ago | (#38218852)

But yet, he researched his statement and provided several references for each assertion, exactly what is missing from journalism. Like I said, I wouldn't usually take his word for much. But I did read the entire statement and have to say that there is many a good point.

Bear in mind, he knows more than almost everyone about the relationship between the press and the government. For better or worse.
He didn't call for regulation by government but concluded that self paid regulation was pointless and self serving. Which I think is fair.

If I am honest I think it has given me a small amount of new found respect for the man who sold the world a terrible war.

Re:Standards couldn't be much worse (5, Interesting)

The Askylist (2488908) | more than 2 years ago | (#38220662)

He circulated his statement around various friends and ex-colleagues before publication, so I doubt whether all of the references were his. One copy found its way to the Guido Fawkes website on Sunday, which caused Leveson to issue instructions on Monday that evidence to the inquiry was not to be circulated beforehand. Leveson was threatening to force the owner of the site to give evidence tomorrow on how he came to be in possession of Campbell's statement, but backed down this afternoon when it became clear that Campbell had circulated it widely.

.

Be very careful how much respect you gain for both Campbell and Leveson - the inquiry has one aim and one aim only, and that is to come up with a framework for press and internet reporting restrictions. Campbell is only one of the chosen witnesses whose statements will be used to this end.

Re:Standards couldn't be much worse (1)

shilly (142940) | about 2 years ago | (#38224776)

Who are you, Askylist? Paul "the twat" McMullan? You seem ever-so-eager to read this as entirely political, despite the large numbers of apolitical figures, public and private alike, whose privacy has been invaded and whose lives have been damaged by tabloids acting with the most atrocious viciousness.

Even Easier than Guessing a Birthday (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38217418)

About 6 years ago when this all originally flared up, it became clear people were simply not changing their default voicemail pin-codes from the network supplied default. All you needed to do was call the mobile number, listen for which operator it was that was which was responsible for the voicemail, then punch in the default pin-code for that network operator.

At the time, this caused a few MNOs to change their systems so that you could not use remote voicemail until the user had set a new pin-code other than the default. In fact, its sad that operators were not somehow made partially liable for all this in the first place!

Re:Even Easier than Guessing a Birthday (3, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38217584)

While its good you are up on the Phone Hacking. This is about hacking a server... I don't know everything about servers, but I don't think you call many of them and retreive voicemail on them with a PIN. This was about going in and learning things of a highly sensitive nature. Documents. Names. Etc.

We'd probably applaud Wikileaks for publishing some of this stuff. But since it's the weasels at News International (NotW, Sun) you should wonder what they're doing this for.

Re:Even Easier than Guessing a Birthday (1)

kqs (1038910) | more than 2 years ago | (#38218400)

That's all true, but so what? Are people allowed to wander along a road, trying all of the doors, and entering when one is unlocked? Voicemail PINs, like locks on luggage, will never be terribly effective; they're to keep the honest people from making honest mistakes. When someone dishonest tries to break the system, the correct action is legal plus jail time.

Re:Even Easier than Guessing a Birthday (1)

zonky (1153039) | more than 2 years ago | (#38218476)

This is not correct. It's even simpler- they spoof the callerid to be the mobile's number. Most people have voicemail set to not require PIN from their own phone. Instant access, no pin guessing required.

And nothing will effectively change (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38217454)

They'll can some middle and upper middle management types, but Murdock and his cronies that created and encouraged a corporate culture of amoral lawbreakers will continue to walk off, rich and happy, after a few carefully crafted statements full of empty sentiment, and dropping more guilt on top of the scapegoats of the day.

Of course, if there was less government regulation, the field would be level, and countless competitors would exist to force Murdock's News Corp to actually be honest and... aww, damn it, I can't keep a straight face and finish that crap.

Re:And nothing will effectively change (4, Insightful)

dpilot (134227) | more than 2 years ago | (#38217652)

Amazing how less regulation and lower taxes are always the answer to any problem, isn't it?

It's okay, everybody. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38217680)

That strawman had it coming.

Re:And nothing will effectively change (4, Informative)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38217704)

Amazing how less regulation and lower taxes are always the answer to any problem, isn't it?

UK has a concept of Fit and Proper, which could be applied to management of News International, forcing them to divest of certain properties if the government deems the Murdochs as unfit or improper. Could you imagine that in the USA? Not I.

Re:And nothing will effectively change (1)

shilly (142940) | about 2 years ago | (#38224782)

At this stage, I think it's fair to say that the UK has a *nominal* concept of Fit and Proper. Given that it didn't stop Richard Desmond getting his hands on his print and television assets, and given that it hasn't seen the removal of James Murdoch or indeed anyone at all, it appears to be worth three-fifths of fuck-all in practice.

Re:And nothing will effectively change (2)

bberens (965711) | more than 2 years ago | (#38218966)

I support less regulation. Deregulate unions. Remove regulations for statutory maximum civil suit liability. While you're at it, tell the TSA to stop groping my grandma at the airport.

naah, there's a better one (1)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | more than 2 years ago | (#38219388)

There is no problem that can not be fixed with an adequate amount of high explosives. If you still have the problem after you've applied and detonated explosives, you simply weren't using enough of them.

Leveson (5, Informative)

Spad (470073) | more than 2 years ago | (#38217466)

Watching the Leveson inquiry over the last couple of weeks has been one of the most depressing things I've ever done; the lowlight was probably former NOTW journalist Paul McMullen saying the following on the subject of privacy:

In 21 years of invading people's privacy I've never actually come across anyone who's been doing any good. Privacy is the space bad people need to do bad things in.

Privacy is evil; it brings out the worst qualities in people.

Privacy is for paedos; fundamentally nobody else needs it.

Basically the papers are full of amoral arseholes (Not just NI papers either, it's clear that the Daily Mail and others have been up to it as well), the Police and the ICO have been shamefully complicit and the government didn't want to look into it in case it upset Murdoch and he told his papers not to support them any more.

Makes you proud to be British really...

Re:Leveson (1)

Luyseyal (3154) | more than 2 years ago | (#38217500)

Came here to say this as I heard that on NPR this morning. Has the transparent society begun?

-l

Re:Leveson (2)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 2 years ago | (#38217522)

I was wondering if anyone would point out that this scandal isn't just the Rupert Murdoch papers. The others have done it as well, there just isn't as much effort to get to the bottom of those stories.

Re:Leveson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38217618)

Mirror Group appear to be getting the stink on them, but they're obviously not so quick to draw attention to that, and nor are the (remaining) News Corp. media willing to draw attention to phone hacking at all if they can avoid it.

Re:Leveson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38217582)

So Im assuming he won't mind me filling his house with IP cameras and streaming his every waking moment to a website (subscription service of course, or am I supposed to be doing this "in the public interest")

Re:Leveson (2)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38217598)

I wonder if he would say those things if someone were spying on *HIS* wife or kid.

Re:Leveson (3, Funny)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 2 years ago | (#38218306)

He's a British tabloid journalist. He's probably already spying on his wife and child and selling it on the internet.

Re:Leveson (4, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38217780)

Makes you proud to be British really...

But now McMullen and all his awful associates have been dragged out into the daylight and they can't hide anymore. Yes, it is ugly. Yes, it is depressing. But. It will eventually get better. First, there must be the full investigation. Second, there must be the corrective measures. Hopefully they don't wedge a new government agency into the pressroom. For all the rot, there has been some good and press need ability to hold government to account, something which would be difficult if the government vetted news.

Re:Leveson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38217928)

In 21 years of invading people's privacy I've never actually come across anyone who's been doing any good. Privacy is the space bad people need to do bad things in.

Privacy is evil; it brings out the worst qualities in people.

Privacy is for paedos; fundamentally nobody else needs it.

With the existence of immoral and unethical people and governments, I can think of a LOT of reasons onemight need privacy to do any good.

As for bad people doing bad things, it sounds like McMullen has been able to be a right prick quite publicly.

Re:Leveson (1)

debrain (29228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38218160)

Any debate on privacy always draws me to The Right to Privacy, by Warren and Brandeis Harvard Law Review. Vol. IV December 15, 1890 No. 5 [mit.edu] :

Of the desirability -- indeed of the necessity -- of some such protection [for privacy], there can, it is believed, be no doubt. The press is overstepping in every direction the obvious bounds of propriety and of decency. Gossip is no longer the resource of the idle and of the vicious, but has become a trade, which is pursued with industry as well as effrontery. To satisfy a prurient taste the details of sexual relations are spread broadcast in the columns of the daily papers. To occupy the indolent, column upon column is filled with idle gossip, which can only be procured by intrusion upon the domestic circle. The intensity and complexity of life, attendant upon advancing civilization, have rendered necessary some retreat from the world, and man, under the refining influence of culture, has become more sensitive to publicity, so that solitude and privacy have become more essential to the individual; but modern enterprise and invention have, through invasions upon his privacy, subjected him to mental pain and distress, far greater than could be inflicted by mere bodily injury. Nor is the harm wrought by such invasions confined to the suffering of those who may be the subjects of journalistic or other enterprise. In this, as in other branches of commerce, the supply creates the demand. Each crop of unseemly gossip, thus harvested, becomes the seed of more, and, in direct proportion to its circulation, results in the lowering of social standards and of morality. Even gossip apparently harmless, when widely and persistently circulated, is potent for evil. It both belittles and perverts. It belittles by inverting the relative importance of things, thus dwarfing the thoughts and aspirations of a people. When personal gossip attains the dignity of print, and crowds the space available for matters of real interest to the community, what wonder that the ignorant and thoughtless mistake its relative importance. Easy of comprehension, appealing to that weak side of human nature which is never wholly cast down by the misfortunes and frailties of our neighbors, no one can be surprised that it usurps the place of interest in brains capable of other things. Triviality destroys at once robustness of thought and delicacy of feeling. No enthusiasm can flourish, no generous impulse can survive under its blighting influence.

The relationship between this 120 year old paper and modern society is illuminating.

Re:Leveson (1)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 2 years ago | (#38218578)

Lol. This Paul guy is such a turd.

Privacy is the part of life where your personal ethics are found and expressed; and it is shared, smartly, with those who agree with said ethic and are included in the privacy.

In all of us, we have thoughts, acts, and materials in private, that if made public, would be construed to be 'evil' or 'wrong' in some form. There is no absolute ethic, though many genius minds like John Rawls have tried (and I agree with him, but some don't).

The big kicker for privacy is that the personal ethics you apply in said private situation needs to be agreed upon by those who are included -- and if not, one may end up facing public scrutiny, forced to disclose said privacy by way of evidence and testimony.

Everyone *needs* privacy, or we won't actually get along at all. Make all of our private lives public and we will all go to jail. Take away privacy permanently, and life IS jail.

Who else? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38217486)

Does anyone believe that journalists are the only ones hacking phones? Why so much attention to the tabloids?

Re:Who else? (1)

shilly (142940) | about 2 years ago | (#38224798)

erm, because:
a) they sell millions of paper on the back of their actions
b) they have publicly ruined the lives of hundreds or possibly thousands of people
c) there has been blanket impunity until very recently
d) the hacking has been on a vast scale

Government accused of something scandalous? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38217498)

Nothing to see here, move along.

Pin based Social Engineering (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38217508)

Social Engineering.

I hate to be the bearer of obvious news, but the DEFAULT password on everyones voicemail is usually 1234, 1111 or something. Every place I worked it was the same. Every cell carrier, landline and VoIP... they use the same default password, not random ones.

Plus there are people who have the voicemail password programmed into their cell phone. That sets the stage for hacking the voicemail without doing much at all. Just call in via a landline and try the defaults first, then try their birthday and family birthdays. You'll get most peoples PIN's this way.

The only reason there isn't large amounts of chip+pin/ATM pin fraud is because ATM's eat cards after 3 wrong answers, but if you have access to a POS system to keep trying, keep trying PIN's. Keep buying sticks of gum from gas stations and 711's until you guess the pin.

In voicemail systems, the voicemail retrieval number is easily found, and everyone STUPIDLY puts their full name in the voicemail greeting. NEVER DO THIS. Your voicemail message should not be in your voice, and should not have your full name in it. Better yet, only list the extension. The reason is that you make yourself a voicemail hacking target for social engineering by having your name on the voicemail.

Say I'm a hacker wanting to get the PIN to someone elses voicemail. I keep trying voicemail boxes until I find someone with a name that works their. Next thing I do is get ahold of the technical service desk and ask for them to reset the voicemail PIN and say I'm the person on the voicemail greeting. Oversimplified (if they're doing their job they'll ask for the employee badge number, but oh, that can be socially engineered too.)

When I worked for (CELL PHONE CARRIER), it's easy to reset passwords, just call in, verify the SSN and the password will be reset. Such horrible abuse of personal information.

When I worked for (INTERNET SERVICES), someone tried to social engineer me using the voicemail. Fortunately my name isn't easy to spell. Someone went through the phone directory and left messages asking to be called back to deal with their account. As the customer was in the US and I was not handling US customers it raised a red flag right away.

Re:Pin based Social Engineering (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38218520)

Confirmed for not having worked in retail - at least, not in the UK.

If you try the card in a POS multiple times and keep getting the PIN wrong, it will lock the card out. The chip on the card itself keeps track of this, and after the third (or fifth, depends on the issuer) consecutive failure, the card stops working. The POS system will flash an error message when this happens (typically 'PIN BLOCKED'), and will be unable to proceed to pin entry. The retailer is contractually bound to retain the card and return it to the issuer (or in some cases to their merchant bank), normally with one corner cut off.

The only way to unlock the card is to take it back to the issuer; some can unlock the card once they're satisfied that it's yours, others will mail out a replacement to the card holders registered address and destroy the compromised one (or ask them to do this if the contact was via phone).

You *can* use someone elses card without their PIN, and without having to try and guess it. Look for the contactless symbol in the top right corner of the front of the card - if it's there, you can pay at some locations by just holding the card near or against the screen of the card reader. The stipulations are that the card will occasionally start to deny contactless transactions until you run a normal chip+pin transaction, and will deny any contactless payment request of more than £20.

Please don't respond in seriousness to this (1)

bytesex (112972) | more than 2 years ago | (#38217510)

"The chances are pretty good that it could be their birthday."

Is that the so-called 'birthday attack' ?

Re:Please don't respond in seriousness to this (1)

glitch0 (859137) | more than 2 years ago | (#38222270)

Hahaha somebody get this guy some mod points

Obligatory declaration of being shocked. (1)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38217514)

I'm shocked! Shocked, I tell you!

What about government hacking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38217548)

The government hacks people all the time, but I rarely see outrage about it. It's always unethical, so why not protest the far more dangerous government hacking with the same or more energy?

Re:What about government hacking? (1)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38217642)

I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you aren't just a troll trying to divert attention from this particular incident of malfeasance by News Corp (itself a rather vile organization), and note that there is rather strenuous objection to government hacking, spying on its own citizens and the whole big brother thing on a regular basis. In fact, such objections can be found in just about every single thread over 100 comments, regardless of the actual topic of the thread.

Re:What about government hacking? (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38217870)

In fact, such objections can be found in just about every single thread over 100 comments, regardless of the actual topic of the thread.

A new variation on Godwin's Law?

Wunderbar!

Re:What about government hacking? (4, Interesting)

newcastlejon (1483695) | more than 2 years ago | (#38217888)

The government hacks people all the time, but I rarely see outrage about it.

Cite or STFU. That is all.

Actually, no it isn't. The government - or more correctly the police - are quite capable of getting their hands on your data easily, without resorting to "hacking" if they get a court order. They don't need to hack anything.

Besides that, Britain isn't some tin pot dictatorship (yet) where the police are basically there to do what politicians say: ministers have been tried, convicted and sentenced for a number of crimes, so they patently aren't above the law. I've no doubt, however, that they still get away with the same kinds of financial shenanigans that any rich banker or company executive does.

Re:What about government hacking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38223770)

They don't need to hack anything.

and warrentless wiretapping also never happened.

Re:What about government hacking? (1)

jpapon (1877296) | more than 2 years ago | (#38218564)

I don't see how government hacking is "far more dangerous". The government already has, or can legally get, access to most of your information without much trouble. I'm much more worried about private interests hacking into personal data.

To summarize: The likelihood of the government blackmailing you is pretty low.

Could a little hacking be good? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38218182)

Are there some instances where it is okay?

Perhaps if a journalist was investigating something that really mattered. Do they do that?

Quick guide:
Grieving mother - very little chance it really matters.
Government official with multi-million dollar art in their home - a possibility that it matters. Not that I know anything about this particular minister.

Re:Could a little hacking be good? (1)

jpapon (1877296) | more than 2 years ago | (#38218604)

So what you're saying is that the ends justify the means? Remember, if it's okay for the goose, it's okay for the gander. Dangerously slippery slope, that.

Re:Could a little hacking be good? (1)

shilly (142940) | about 2 years ago | (#38224810)

Wow. Just wow. How can you present the discovery of the public interest defence as something new?? I despair, I really do.

Why isn't FOX News shut down in the U.S.? (3, Interesting)

wisebabo (638845) | more than 2 years ago | (#38218208)

Look, it's bad enough that Fox News is owned by a man who allegedly changed his nationality to get around foreign ownership laws of media outlets (how come the Aussies and Brits don't have those laws? That way he'd only influence ONE country's media).

But aren't there laws in the U.S. against the blatant use of the public airwaves to push a particular viewpoint or even "hatemongering" (just as one example: look at the number of times Fox accidentally spelled "Obama", "Osama" and mentioned his middle name "Hussein")? For a detailed look at this bias watch the documentary "Outfoxed".

Even if you were to claim that this is protected free speech (yes but not using public spectrum! Use a satellite like Howard Stern!) couldn't there be a case made for shutting the network down for the public interest? Several recent studies have shown that Fox viewers are not only less informed than viewers of other network/media, but they are less informed than people who WATCHED NOTHING AT ALL (don't know exactly the comparisons, google it).

Until then I didn't know that ignorance could be a negative value. Wow.

Of course, if there is any proof to the allegations that his company spied on Americans, perhaps some form of justice will be done.

Re:Why isn't FOX News shut down in the U.S.? (1)

jpapon (1877296) | more than 2 years ago | (#38218648)

yes but not using public spectrum

I don't like Fox news, and I hate defending them, but they don't use public spectrum. They're a cable/satellite channel. Outside of inciting violence (and various libel laws I'd imagine) they can pretty much say what they want.

Man am I ignorant! (No really) (1)

wisebabo (638845) | more than 2 years ago | (#38218848)

Thanks for not thoroughly trashing me. I didnt realize they weren't on public airwaves. I got confused when I saw the local Fox affiliate (which IS broadcast I think) and thought it was tied to the Fox cable news network (it isn't is it?).

Anyway, my only excuse is I've been out of the country for 5 years and I'm at my uncle's place. He's got his A/V setup as a mishmash of satellite, cable (and terrestrial?) and I'm not sure where I'm getting ech feed from.

Definitely the restrictions on what he has to say are much less if he's on satellite/cable. Sorry to all of you right-wingers out there! In this case I'M the one who's definitely less informed! ;)

Re:Man am I ignorant! (No really) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38219264)

Public airwaves vs cable is irrelevant when talking about speech content, for the most part - everything adheres to the broadcast standards (except premium pay channels), since they're expecting to be delivered somewhere that the FCC might have jurisdiction. The FCC (the US's version of Ofcom) really can only regulate obscenity in terms of content - they really don't even get to determine "offensive" speech. Basically, the only parts of broadcasts that the FCC has the power to regulate are nudity and swearing. That's it. Everything else is acceptable, from the FCC's standpoint. Broadcasts of course are subject to libel laws, but the fact is that the USA doesn't have anything like the preventative measures (i.e. prior restraint) on content that the UK allows.

Fox is a broadcast network, so Fox's news program definitely has to adhere to FCC standards. However, the confusion comes in where over 2/3 of all US homes get their TV via a cable system, NOT broadcast. It's still the Fox channel with identical content, regardless of whether it comes in over broadcast, cable, or satellite. There is also a separate channel called "Fox News", but that is broadcast over satellite and cable, though it adheres to FCC regulations, too.

The bottom line is that the USA has virtually no restrictions whatsoever on pure speech; you're only remedy is a slander suit. There's no pre-filtering done by any agency other than the broadcast company itself (which, frankly, can be significant, as those companies definitely censor content provided to them by advertisers and show-producers, according to whatever bent that media company has).

Re:Man am I ignorant! (No really) (1)

jpapon (1877296) | more than 2 years ago | (#38219410)

That's not entirely true. There was the Fairness doctrine until Reagan's cronies eradicated it, and there still is the Equal time rule.

Even-so, while broadcast news may generally be biased one way or the other, in my experience they are much more fair than Fox News.

If there is no law forcing them to do so, I'm not sure why exactly that is. I expect it is because they fear that if they cross the line too far that there will be repercussions. The Supreme Court did rule, after all, that the Fairness Doctrine was Constitutional.

Re:Man am I ignorant! (No really) (1)

jpapon (1877296) | more than 2 years ago | (#38219312)

Right, there IS a FOX channel which is broadcast in most areas, but it is entirely distinct (in terms of content, anyways) from the Fox News channel, which is essentially the "right wing CNN".

Re:Man am I ignorant! (No really) (1)

said213 (72685) | more than 2 years ago | (#38219614)

They are absolutely on public airwaves.
There isn't a major market in the United States which doesn't have, at least, one media outlet which broadcasts Fox News.
Especially traditional broadcast radio... Jpapon was speaking incorrectly.

Re:Man am I ignorant! (No really) (1)

jpapon (1877296) | about 2 years ago | (#38232726)

Fox News is a cable/satellite channel. I have never heard of them being broadcast on television. FOX is the broadcast television channel, available in almost all markets.

Some Fox News radio programs are syndicated in some markets.

I did not speak incorrectly. Broadcast, as we were talking about it, refers specifically to public airwaves. They used to have somewhat special regulations in terms of news broadcasting, since the public broadcast spectrum is inherently bandwidth limited. Of course that's less of an issue now with digital broadcasting, but yeah.

Re:Why isn't FOX News shut down in the U.S.? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38218664)

People - both liberal and conservative - used to pride themselves on on not forming an opinion until they got the story from at least 2 independent sources.

Unfortunately, most of the people who follow News Corporation groupthink... they're never going to snap out of it, because they're already conditioned to believing in a vast secret left wing conspiracy at every non-Murdoch news outlet.

The fact is Fox News is not news, but entertainment.. and they readily admit it when questioned by Congress or the FCC whenever they violate rules the news are expected to follow (such as truth, etc). They're not required to tell their viewers they are not really news, however. If the FCC were to ever take strong action against News Corporation, I don't doubt for a moment that their spokepeople would start using violent rhetoric ("hit lists") and our government would capitulate. Their most reverent viewers are time bombs.

I did not know James Murdoch, but I worked for him when he was put in charge of the failed News Corp/MCI/Delphi joint venture just before the millennium ended...what kind of idiot would put a 24 year old in charge of a venture like THAT? Dot-com bomb.. we just collected our paychecks for 2 years, with barely enough work to justify a staff that was 50% as large. Millions of dollars spent cutting through superstructure of 2 floors, just to present visitors with a glass-walled overhead view into the NOC (a true fishbowl)... yet we couldn't get a spare server cluster purchase approved so that we could mimic the customer's actual production environment. What a waste.

But??? But they are... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38218732)

.... fair and unbiased :P
just sayin'

Re:Why isn't FOX News shut down in the U.S.? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38218832)

I think this is what you're looking for. [worldpublicopinion.org]

Be careful about asking to shut Fox News down. You'd have to toss MSNBC, PBS, and NPR under the same bus.

If you read the things that people were misinformed about, it seems to be the things they were more likely to believe before watching the news. Fox viewers believed bad things about democrats that weren't true, while MSNBC and PBS viewers believed bad things about republicans that weren't true.

Re:Why isn't FOX News shut down in the U.S.? (1)

cyberchondriac (456626) | more than 2 years ago | (#38219014)

For one thing, you'd have to prove it's "hatemongering" - easier said than done. I know I once spelled it " Osama" by accident. I'm not an Obama fan, but it was not intentional -it made the meaning of what I was saying much less clear. It's not beyond the realm of belief. Years of Al Queada news coverage might make it habitual for the ticker typer to type, though it was still a sloppy thing to do; especially more than once; the second time is perhaps suspect. I haven't seen the "Hussein" thing though.
As to these "studies", umm. link? I wonder who funded or ran these studies?

Re:Why isn't FOX News shut down in the U.S.? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38220226)

...look at the number of times Fox accidentally spelled "Obama", "Osama" and mentioned his middle name "Hussein")?

Most amusing of all is whenever a Republican is caught with his pants down or their hand in the cookie jar, suddenly they show up with a nice little (D) next to their name during their moment of public shame. Once or twice is a mistake, I can forgive that, but the frequency with which it happens on Fox News is almost mind-boggling.

Government Bribery, more probably (2)

cirby (2599) | more than 2 years ago | (#38218286)

The thing people keep ignoring in this ongoing story is how most of the "hacking" happened with the assistance of one or more people working for the government: police officers (some of them have already been nabbed for this) and political appointees, along with the standard-issue public employee bureaucrats.

The official who had his computer "hacked?" BS. He sold the information to someone, and when he got caught, he lied.

That's what happens when you give bureaucrats the power to tap phones and other private communications: they sell it to people who would get arrested for doing it, or who are too dumb to do it themselves.

It's not just NewsCorp, too - half of the tabloids in the UK have been caught in this affair.

Why would you need to guess the 4 digit code? (2)

Gnaget (1043408) | more than 2 years ago | (#38218322)

At least a decade ago you didn't have it, and I doubt it has changed. All you need is to change your caller id to that of the phone (easy to do), then the voicemail system doesn't ask for your password. It is why you can always check your voicemail from your own phone without entering the password.

They still shoot spies, right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38218458)

Please?

Granted that the US and Britain are mostly allies, but secrets *are* secrets. When agents of a foreign power take information from you, that's generally called spying. And if there are people helping out foreign powers, well, we've seen how they get dealt with. Why should Murdoch be treated any differently?

I know the popes passcode (1)

Nyder (754090) | more than 2 years ago | (#38218722)

It's 0666

Re:I know the popes passcode (1)

sqldr (838964) | more than 2 years ago | (#38220084)

you (and pretty much all christians) were almost right...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papyrus_115 [wikipedia.org]

People who do this are guilty of espionage... (2)

Exoman (595415) | more than 2 years ago | (#38219226)

It is called *espionage*.

Many countries frown upon spying on government officials, even to the extent of imposing life imprisonment or execution.

Given corporations' statuses as people, it would seem logical to try them based on the laws of the country in which they operate.

I'm not a proponent of the death penalty, so would instead ask that News Corp, if/when found guilty, simply be locked up for life, just as any other "person" would be.

I defy anyone to challenge that logical conclusion.

Re:People who do this are guilty of espionage... (1)

SmurfButcher Bob (313810) | more than 2 years ago | (#38220350)

When you hear "Corporations are People", your perception is wrong.

Try thinking more along the lines of Soylent Green.

And with that, putting them through a tree chipper is a perfectly viable solution. With food coloring added before packaging, of course.

Re:People who do this are guilty of espionage... (1)

smellotron (1039250) | more than 2 years ago | (#38222978)

Try thinking more along the lines of Soylent Green.

Corporations are tasty meat!

Network operators could do better (1)

Richard_J_N (631241) | more than 2 years ago | (#38220888)

Why is there no discussion of requiring the network operators to improve security?

After all, it's fairly easy for them to know who is placing a call, and to bill the right user: I can't spoof someone else's phone and make them get the bill for my call. So why can't the carriers lock voicemail to the device by default?

I don't want the hassle of using a PIN every time I dial my voicemail, but I am quite happy for my cellphone with my SIM to be the trusted token. Yes, if I'm unlucky enough to have my phone stolen, my voicemail security will be compromised, but otherwise, the voicemail should, in principle, be as secure as the degree to which I protect my phone. So, why is this not true in practice?

How is this Different From Wikileaks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38223262)

You all don't like Murdoch's papers hacking phones and paying government officials to get information and publish it in his papers.

But you laud that weird rapist guy Julian Assange for doing the same thing, promising low level (gay) Army soldiers like Bradley Manning fame and fortune to get all sorts of classified cables, and publishing them, that got people killed, fired, in fear of their lives. For example, confidential informants to the US in Pakistan. Or those who informed on the Taliban killing schoolgirls in Afghanistan.

Why is it "OK" for Assange to do this, and make a very nice living out of it, but not Murdoch? Oh, you don't like the politics of Murdoch, but you like the politics of Assange. That's a flimsy reed. I like the politics of Murdoch and don't like them of Assange. If its your way, that's just because you're stronger now than my group politically. I'll remember that when my group is stronger than yours.

The Guardian hacks people the same way, and its a far-leftist whacko paper that is the left of Pravda (and has less truth in it).

Murdoch hasn't been accused of running anything untrue, just stuff people would prefer to keep quiet (like the latest dump on the Global Warming crowd's e-mails showing they made the whole stuff up and tried to silence critics).

Face it, computers plus cell phones = no privacy. For anyone. You can "criminalize" it all you like but all you'll get it is seeing your Julian Assange with one on the other side of politics. If you think trying to claim Murdoch's scalp will change anything, you're delusional. Assange showed the way, just don't rape women in Sweden. All your information, in Facebook, Twitter, this site, your Iphone, all of it is just one hack away from being out there for everyone to see. There is no privacy, for anyone, anywhere, anytime, unless you live in an Afghan cave or the Sahara Desert.

Which means the side that depends on keeping icky secrets the least has the advantage. Not necessarily the one that will win, but the one with the advantage. The hacking and convenient dumping of info will always happen because there will always be people prepared to pay to find the icky dirt on the powerful or famous or even junk celebrities. Not to mention political enemies. And that cuts both ways my friends.

An Organisation Breaking Privacy Laws? (1)

bedwards (1937210) | more than 2 years ago | (#38224642)

Every phone call and text message I make are monitored and recorded. The websites I visit are recorded. My emails are read. My posted packages and letters are opened and read. My car number plate is recorded as I move across the country. My credit card transactions are watched, and the movements I make on public transport with my oyster card is recorded and logged. My medical records are routineley examined, as are records of any dealings I may have had with the police. This is done without my knowlege or conset - as it is to every other UK citizen. It is done by an organisation that claims it is only violating my rights to go about my business in private because it is in the public good. That same organisation who are now trying to destroy a newspaper group because THEIR rights were violated!

The newspapers didn't take anyone's information that wasn't already logged and recorded by other organisations, they just made the information public. Any charges the newspapers or reporters are found guilty of should be made against people working for Whitehall and associated companies.

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