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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Hacker-Gate

If you're a sucker for conspiracy theories and media intrigue, the phone-hacking scandal has it all:
Dipping my toe into the daily news between intensely busy summer shifts in Blandmore, I find myself wondering really where this storm blew up from.  At its heart is the bald fact that as far as I am aware not one newsworthy story emerged as a result of any one of the hundreds of phones that the News of the World allegedly hacked into.  Unless you count the one about Prince William's sore knee.

Moreover, the word 'hacking' seems to be used in its loosest form here.  We are not talking about a twenty stone nerd, holed up in a soundproof basement with a state-of-the-art CCTV and booby-trap security system, with seventeen monitors and USB ports for every gizmo in existence.  We are not talking about a malodorous genius, plumbing the depths of technical wizardry and breaking age-old ciphers to unlock virtual fortresses.  We are talking about phoning up someone's voicemail and typing '1234' in the hope they haven't changed their pin number.

Whilst doing this to the phone of a 14-year-old murdered schoolgirl is sickening, doing it to a celebrity, a royal, or a senior government or police figure is no more intrusive than any number of modern journalistic tactics used to try and get tabloid scoops.  You also have to wonder, if you are a celebrity, a royal, or a senior government or police figure, why on earth you have not changed the pin number on your voicemail anyway?  If an unscrupulous private investigator or reporter can gain access to potentially sensitive personal information about these figures, so could a terrorist. 

Either way, those embroiled in the scandal are falling over each other to extricate themselves before media intrigue turns into criminal proceedings.  Or, perhaps, before whatever message it is that the News of the World listened to on their voicemail, is made public.

It won't work.  I have a feeling that Hacker-gate will not go away until some suitably famous scalps are nailed to prison walls.  I wait, breath bated, for the book that will inevitably come out afterwards.

In the midst of it all, the tragic death of one of the men who started it allBeing a whistle-blower is not always a happy lot.





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10 Comments:

Blogger Disgruntled Voter said...

You are right this is really a non-story as it seems to show one fact that is obvious, that tabloid journalists will do anything for a story no matter how crap the story is.

It is particularly obscene to see the joyful schaudenfraude of our m p's who having been caught by the press with their snouts in the trough are now taking the moral high ground.

19 July, 2011 21:15

 
Anonymous Michael said...

You are right this is really a non-story as it seems to show one fact that is obvious, that tabloid journalists will do anything for a story no matter how crap the story is.

It is particularly obscene to see the joyful schaudenfraude of our m p's who having been caught by the press with their snouts in the trough are now taking the moral high ground.

19 July, 2011 21:17

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I cannot agree that this is a "non-story"....as nobody has heard the full extent of it yet. Interference in and the obstruction of a police investigation, or operation, is not exactly a "non-story." That is serious, which is why and how this scandal came to light, eventually.

The fact that the Met officers felt that they needed the "support" of a powerful media empire to help with their public image, is another tragedy in itself. Along with the fact that their use of former media employees possibly compromised dedicated officers like John Yates.
He was forced out of his job as a result of the media hysteria, speculation, gossip, inuendo and malicious reporting by the press. That's not a "non-story". That is the press having an UNDUE INFLUENCE in police matters, which will hopefully be addressed by the investigations instigated by parliament, or the Home Secretary.

When I heard the news break that the original whistleblower on the phone hacking, had been found dead, my first thought was that it was suspicious and too much of a coincidence. Poor guy. Shades of Dr David Kelly here I strongly suspect, and despite what the previous government said, he didn't kill himself. He was killed by people who didn't like what he was saying, because they wanted a war with Iraq.

Being a whistleblower is a matter of personal courage, because if it's a very serious matter upon which the whistle has been blown, those who do not want to be exposed or challenged can get very nasty and ruthless in their determination to keep their dirty secrets, secret.

I blew the whistle on perverts when I was a child, and they did try to bump me off, to silence me, to maintain their corrupt status quo within the system. I was very lucky to have survived that and blow the whistle again, only louder and higher up. However, the perverts did "get me" by defamation and false accusations, in the press, but didn't name me, and in the system's records throughout my life. They did that to discredit me and anything I might say, in any future whistle blowing on corruption.

However I would NEVER commit suicide.
I would not give my enemies the satisfaction of making my life so bad that I felt it was my only option. Faith in the higher spiritual powers for good has always been my "rock", which has seen me through the darkest of days.

I do have a lot to be grateful for, even if "they" did make my life very difficult, to thwart my good efforts, undercover on a long term police and security service operation. Evil will never triumph over good. Never has, never will.

20 July, 2011 02:43

 
Blogger DOT said...

From your bland account it seems that if you commit a 'minor' crime that doesn't have serious consequences it is of no importance. Unless, of course, it does have consequences, like hacking into the phone of a murdered teenager. What a fuss over nothing. Particularly if you happen to be a so-called celeb. What right do celebs have to privacy? As the man who Hugh Grant tripped said on Newsnight, 'if they earn £5M a film why should they complain?' At what point does it become ethical for their privacy to be ripped, £2M per film? £2.50 per film? Obviously not the latter, because if they earn so little, no one will be interested enough to buy the paper - unless their daughter has been murderd.

20 July, 2011 10:16

 
Blogger PC Bloggs said...

Where did I say it's of no importance? My point is that they went to all this trouble to hack all these phones for no stories whatsoever. Whether they should be prosecuted isn't really up for debate.

20 July, 2011 20:55

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Whilst doing this to the phone of a 14-year-old murdered schoolgirl is sickening, doing it to a celebrity, a royal, or a senior government or police figure is no more intrusive than any number of modern journalistic tactics used to try and get tabloid scoops." This does seem to belittle the importance of the hacking, as DOT said.

22 July, 2011 12:56

 
Anonymous bail bonds las vegas said...

I don't like the way the word "hacking" is being thrown around now-a-days anyhow.

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23 July, 2011 00:56

 
Anonymous Z. Constantine said...

You missed a few methods which phone "hackers" may employ:

Caller ID spoofing - allows immediate access on any voicemail system configured to provide password-less entry to calls from voicemail owner's mobile number

Last four digits telephone number are the default password on most systems (not "1234")

23 July, 2011 04:06

 
Blogger PC Bloggs said...

Anon, no, it just makes the point that we are jumping up and down over just one tactic employed by one paper, when all the others are using other techniques that may be just as abhorrent.

23 July, 2011 09:57

 
Anonymous Steven Nott said...

I tried to stop this phone hacking nonsense in 1999 by seeking help from the tabloids, the Met Police, the DTI and my MP Paul Murphy who was secretary of state for wales. Nobody listened and because of that this whole nightmare has engulfed news as we know it. They should have listened to me when they had chance. Check out my full story www.hackergate.co.uk and read for yourself the truth about the phonehacking and why people weren't warned when I tried to.

23 July, 2011 10:41

 

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