Thursday, November 10, 2011

Our 21st century Hoover (?)

The News International phone-hacking scandal is an ongoing controversy involving mainly the News of the World but also other British tabloid newspapers published by News International, a subsidiary of News Corporation. Employees of the newspaper were accused of engaging in phone hacking, police bribery, and exercising improper influence in the pursuit of publishing stories. Investigations conducted from 2005–2007 concluded that the paper's phone hacking activities were limited to celebrities, politicians and members of the British Royal Family. However, in July 2011, it was revealed that the phones of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler, relatives of deceased British soldiers, and victims of the 7/7 London bombings were also accessed, resulting in a public outcry against News Corporation and owner Rupert Murdoch. Advertiser boycotts contributed to the closure of the News of the World on 10 July, ending 168 years of publication. - Wikipedia

Today, James Murdoch, deputy chief operating officer of News Coporation and son of Rupert Murdoch, sat before British MPs for the second time and faced allegations that likened his alleged actions to that a Mafia boss.

the Washington Post also has more information on news organization's "Hoover-esque" actions:

Earlier this week, News International admitted that News of the World had paid a private investigator to spy on lawyers acting on behalf of several alleged phone-hacking victims.

While there has been no suggestion that this kind of surveillance is illegal, News International issued a statement saying it was “deeply inappropriate in these circumstances.”

The BBC reported that the investigator, Derek Webb, had worked for the tabloid for eight years until it closed in July, and had conducted surveillance operations on more than 100 targets, including: Prince William; the parents of Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe; Peter Goldsmith, a former attorney general; and Tom Watson, a Labor politician on the select committee that grilled Murdoch on Thursday.

The Metropolitan Police recently announced they have gathered the names of more than 5,000 people whose phones may have been hacked by News of the World.

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