RUPERT MURDOCH'S flaming tabloid rag News of the World is already in deep kimchee for phone hacking, but now evidence shows that it might have been involved in a bit of email hacking skullduggery as well.
An upcoming BBC Panorama report alleges that the News of the World's Irish office received emails stolen using Trojan malware. Reportedly the emails were taken from Ian Hurst, who worked in British Army Intelligence running IRA informers.
The unnamed hacker, er, private investigator named Alex Marunchak, editor of the Irish edition, as the person he was dealing with at News International. Hacking emails is at least a crime under the Computer Misuse Act, not to mention that hacking the British military might be an even more serious proposition in the view of UK Government prosecutors. Marunchak has denied the allegations.
This is just the latest in a number of scandals that have hit the News of the World and News International involving hacking allegations. So far it has mainly been about phone tapping, leading to the resignation of Tory director of communications Andy Coulson, who used to be editor of the newspaper before Prime Minister David Cameron hired him to be his mouthpiece to the UK media.
Journalists resorting to the services of hackers using Trojan technology is relatively new. It's common to see this in financial and state surveillance hacking, but not in tabloid reporting.
Are journalists justified in printing facts obtained by others using illegal methods? This opens up a whole can of worms, as there is a public interest defence that allows us to shine lights into dark corners. Sunlight is, after all, the best disinfectant, so as much as we might dislike Rupert Murdoch and all his works, we're going to have to come down on the side of all of us journalists. µ
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