Phone hacking murdered teens - the depravity of Newscorp. I

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Postby basil » Wed Jul 20, 2011 5:31 pm

Jon Stewart's exegesis, in his inimitable way:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/07/2 ... via=blog_1

The last 15 seconds is priceless.


b
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Postby ToshoftheWuffingas » Fri Jul 22, 2011 5:48 pm

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/07/ ... IX20110721

The suggestion is that concealing wrongdoing as James Murdoch is now accused of doing by an ex editor and a head of legal services may void any legal insurance cover.
Are there legal minds here with any comment on that?
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Postby Jnyusa » Fri Jul 22, 2011 5:59 pm

Not a legal mind here, but ....

(I have an opinion anyway, of course!) :)

Actually my daughter worked on this one. You cannot insure against liability arising from illegal acts. There was a test case with Texaco a few years back.
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Postby Aravar » Mon Jul 25, 2011 6:34 am

Generally concealment of any material facts will void an insurance policy: an insurance contract is a contract of the utmost good faith, and the insurer will only be on risk for things it knows about.

Jnyusa wrote:Not a legal mind here, but ....

(I have an opinion anyway, of course!) :)

Actually my daughter worked on this one. You cannot insure against liability arising from illegal acts. There was a test case with Texaco a few years back.


That can't be of blanket application, because otherwise motor insurance policies wouldn't work.
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Postby Jnyusa » Mon Jul 25, 2011 9:07 am

Aravar wrote:That can't be of blanket application, because otherwise motor insurance policies wouldn't work.


Hmm, I never thought about it that way, Aravar! That's an interesting question. I'll ask my daughter what the limitations were. Or I might ask my insurance agent, as he would know.

In auto policies in the US the liability coverage is subject to different rules from the damage coverage. Hard to imagine that insurance would refuse to pay liability to a victim if the harm occurred while the driver was doing something illegal ... robbing a bank, say, and running down a pedestrian while fleeing. But you never hear about the insurance angle in cases like that.

This was a case where Texaco settled a civil suit out of court and then went to their insurance co. to pay the damages. The insurance co. refused, it went to court, and the insurance company won.

Generally, in the US, you cannot make a valid contract for any illegal act. How that affects car insurance, I don't know.
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Postby Aravar » Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:57 am

Jnyusa wrote:Generally, in the US, you cannot make a valid contract for any illegal act. How that affects car insurance, I don't know.


That's generally the case here: but it can lead to pretty fine distinctions.

It's easy to identify contracts which are obviously illegal, say for the purchase of a controlled drug. Howver other contracts are more difficult, for example a contract which can be performed in both a legal and illegal manner is gnerally enforceable, uynless that parties know it will be performed in the illegal manner. To give an exmaple a contract to deliver a package from Birmingham to London owuld be legal if it can be performed in time by using say a plane or a train. However if it is known to the parties that the delivery will take place by a courier using a motorbike that speeds all the way that would be illegal.
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Postby Lord_Morningstar » Wed Jul 27, 2011 2:40 am

You can contract to deal with the consequences of someone else's illegal actions - hiring a security guard, for example. It is only a contract which requires a party to do something illegal which is unenforceable.
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Postby Jnyusa » Wed Jul 27, 2011 6:30 am

Yes, you can always insure yourself against being the victim of a crime.

Aravar, I asked my daughter about her case and about auto insurance ... the case she worked on was Unical, btw, not Texaco ... although Texaco has been involved in similar cases elsewhere ... anyway, she said that in the US, State Law governs insurance policies, so the obligation of the insurer depends on the state. Most policies, including auto insurance policies, have exclusion clauses to limit the liability of the insurer in criminal cases. So I asked her whether the pedestrian run over by the bank robber could get their medical bills paid by the robber's car insurance, and she said most probably not. It would be an excluded event.

The reason that auto coverage works as it does under normal circumstances is because vehicular violations are not part of the criminal code. Speeding or running a red light are not actually even misdemeanors in the US. (I should have asked her about drunk driving - didn't think of it while we were talking.) If the driver is doing something that violates a criminal statute, their insurance most likely carries an exclusion and whomever they harm could not get recompensed by the insurance co.
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Postby Aravar » Thu Jul 28, 2011 1:47 am

Jnyusa wrote:The reason that auto coverage works as it does under normal circumstances is because vehicular violations are not part of the criminal code. Speeding or running a red light are not actually even misdemeanors in the US. (I should have asked her about drunk driving - didn't think of it while we were talking.) If the driver is doing something that violates a criminal statute, their insurance most likely carries an exclusion and whomever they harm could not get recompensed by the insurance co.


That makes more sense.

Over here alomost all the matters concerned with dirving are offence under the Road Traffic Act: the most serious, causing death by dangerous dirving carries a mximum term of imprisonment of 14 years. The distinction between felonies and misdemeanours was abolished 30-40 years ago.
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Postby portia » Sat Jul 30, 2011 3:26 pm

Insurance can exclude a lot of things, that normally have to be listed. Almost all exclude deliberate (that is: intentional) acts, even if not exactly criminal.

And most policies exclude something that would affect the risk, but was concealed.

So, if there was some knowledge that could be attributed to the corporation that there were illegal wiretaps or hackings, I would expect them to be excluded.
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Postby Storyteller » Sat Jan 07, 2012 1:58 am

Using tabloid tactics to slay the tabloids

The singer Charlotte Church caused waves when she told the Leveson Inquiry in November about the Sun’s ‘countdown clock’ to her sixteenth birthday and her reaching of the age of sexual consent. The clock, which apparently appeared on the Sun’s website in late 2001, when Church was 15 years old, was ‘disgusting’, she said, and made her feel ‘uncomfortable’. She said she had been ‘totally appalled’ by this tabloid device ticking down to the moment when it would be lawful to have sex with her.

Respectable journalists were also appalled. For the past six weeks the ‘countdown clock’ has been held up as evidence of just how depraved the Murdoch tabloids had become. A New Statesman writer said Church’s evidence made ‘a little bile rise in [my] chest’. This week, a writer for the Guardian reported as fact (and in colourful language) the idea that ‘Church was 15 years old when Britain’s best-read daily newspaper began a public countdown to the day on which she could be legally Fluffernutter Buttercups’. Photos of Church with her head in her hands at Leveson now frequently accompany broadsheet reports about the evil Murdoch press.

But did the Sun really put a Charlotte Church countdown clock on its website in 2001? There’s no evidence that it did. News International denies that it ever did. A look back at newspapers from 2001 and early 2002 (Church turned 16 on 21 February 2002) suggests that a ‘Charlotte Church countdown clock’ did exist, but it had nothing to do with the Sun. On 13 December 2001, the Daily Mirror (Welsh edition) reported, under the headline ‘Charlotte in sick internet countdown’, that a ‘twisted new website is counting down the hours and minutes until Charlotte Church is old enough to have sex’ - but it made no mention of the Sun being involved, far less that it hosted the thing.

On 2 January 2002, the Glasgow Daily Record also reported that Church was being ‘targeted by web perverts’, who had ‘set up a website counting down the seconds until she is old enough to have sex’, but again no mention of the Sun was made. Far from the Sun, or any other tabloid, being involved in counting down the moments to Church’s sexual maturation, it seems the redtop press campaigned against the ‘sick, twisted’ website heralding Church’s sixteenth birthday. In January 2002, Web User magazine reported that, under pressure from Sony, which managed Church’s career, the website had successfully been shut down, and it gave the URL of the website as: http://www.geocities.com/ enchantedgeneration/charlottechurch.html. So not a Sun initiative at all, but something set up anonymously through Geocities (a website-building device people used pre-Blogger). That is, it seems it wasn’t a tabloid invention, but one of those typically sad websites set up by loner pranksters.

What’s more, it seems Church found the whole thing quite amusing back in 2002, when she turned 16. At Leveson in November she said the clock had made her feel ‘horrible’ and ‘really uncomfortable’. Yet when she was asked by Heat magazine in February 2002 how she felt about the clock, she said ‘I laughed my socks off’. (Again, neither Heat magazine nor Church made any mention of the Sun being involved when they discussed the clock in 2002 - probably because it wasn’t.)

How did a daft age-of-consent website set up by losers and laughed off by an admirably robust 16-year-old Charlotte Church become so mythologised, now re-fantasised as a wicked device invented by the evil Sun to humiliate a teenage girl? How is it that where the 16-year-old Church laughed off this mysterious, long shut-down clock, today a 25-year-old Charlotte buries her head in her hands as she says the clock made her feel ‘horrible’ while decent journalists say the idea of it makes them feel like vomiting?

This is all further evidence of the hysterical, fact-lite climate that now surrounds the tabloids, where any accusation, however flimsy and unfounded, can be hurled at the low-rent press and quickly become accepted as fact. In the febrile atmosphere created by the phone-hacking scandal and the closure of the News of the World, and stoked by that showtrial disguised as an inquiry, Leveson, it seems unsubstantiated claims have taken the place of cool-headed investigation as everyone rushes to denounce the ‘evil’ emanating from the tabloid underworld.

The Guardian has now added a correction to the piece it published this week, in which it was baldly stated that ‘Church was 15 years old when Britain’s best-read daily newspaper began a public countdown to the day on which she could be legally Fluffernutter Buttercups’. That claim has been removed because News International denies it, says the Guardian. This brings to 40 - 40 - the number of articles about the Murdoch tabloids over the past year the Guardian has either had to correct, retract or apologise for, including all the articles stating that News of the World hacks deleted key messages from Milly Dowler’s mobile phone (this now seems to be incorrect), an article claiming the Sun was planning to doorstep a junior counsel at the Leveson Inquiry (this was not true), and the claim that Murdoch papers hacked Gordon Brown’s family medical records (again, not true). How many more nonsense stories are going to be written by journalists who claim, in the irony to end all ironies, simply to be ‘cleaning up the press’? Leveson and its cheerleaders are starting to look about as reliable as the Sunday Sport.
"...Their aim in war with Germany is nothing more, nothing less than extermination of Hitlerism... There is absolutely no justification for this kind of war. The ideology of Hitlerism, just like any other ideological system, can be accepted or rejected, this is a matter of political views. But everyone grasps, that an ideology can not be exterminated by force, must not be finished off with a war.” - Vyacheslav Molotov, ""On the Foreign Policy of the Soviet Union", 31 October 1939
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Postby UtgardLoki » Sat Jan 07, 2012 3:57 am

Storyteller wrote:
...That claim has been removed because News International denies it, says the Guardian. This brings to 40 - 40 - the number of articles about the Murdoch tabloids over the past year the Guardian has either had to correct, retract or apologise for, including all the articles stating that News of the World hacks deleted key messages from Milly Dowler’s mobile phone (this now seems to be incorrect), an article claiming the Sun was planning to doorstep a junior counsel at the Leveson Inquiry (this was not true), and the claim that Murdoch papers hacked Gordon Brown’s family medical records (again, not true). How many more nonsense stories are going to be written by journalists who claim, in the irony to end all ironies, simply to be ‘cleaning up the press’? Leveson and its cheerleaders are starting to look about as reliable as the Sunday Sport.
The Guardian has not been forced to retract, but has chosen to. This is the behaviour of a responsible media outlet, something that News International would simply fail to do. Furthermore, corrections can be minor (such as a name, an age, a geographical location). It is to the Guardian's credit that it seeks to be accurate. Would that other media organisations were as conscientious.
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Postby Storyteller » Sat Jan 07, 2012 6:02 am

UtgardLoki wrote:
Storyteller wrote:
...That claim has been removed because News International denies it, says the Guardian. This brings to 40 - 40 - the number of articles about the Murdoch tabloids over the past year the Guardian has either had to correct, retract or apologise for, including all the articles stating that News of the World hacks deleted key messages from Milly Dowler’s mobile phone (this now seems to be incorrect), an article claiming the Sun was planning to doorstep a junior counsel at the Leveson Inquiry (this was not true), and the claim that Murdoch papers hacked Gordon Brown’s family medical records (again, not true). How many more nonsense stories are going to be written by journalists who claim, in the irony to end all ironies, simply to be ‘cleaning up the press’? Leveson and its cheerleaders are starting to look about as reliable as the Sunday Sport.
The Guardian has not been forced to retract, but has chosen to. This is the behaviour of a responsible media outlet, something that News International would simply fail to do. Furthermore, corrections can be minor (such as a name, an age, a geographical location). It is to the Guardian's credit that it seeks to be accurate. Would that other media organisations were as conscientious.

Oh they're as responsible an outlet as it gets. Ran 40 stories based on false allegations, then tried to make do with stealthily inserting a post-factum footnote referencing "new evidence", then eventually expressed grudging "regret"; never an apology. Yup, that's how responsible outlets correct a false story that cost 200 people their jobs, alright.
"...Their aim in war with Germany is nothing more, nothing less than extermination of Hitlerism... There is absolutely no justification for this kind of war. The ideology of Hitlerism, just like any other ideological system, can be accepted or rejected, this is a matter of political views. But everyone grasps, that an ideology can not be exterminated by force, must not be finished off with a war.” - Vyacheslav Molotov, ""On the Foreign Policy of the Soviet Union", 31 October 1939
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Postby UtgardLoki » Sat Jan 07, 2012 6:26 am

Storyteller wrote:
UtgardLoki wrote:
Storyteller wrote:
...That claim has been removed because News International denies it, says the Guardian. This brings to 40 - 40 - the number of articles about the Murdoch tabloids over the past year the Guardian has either had to correct, retract or apologise for, including all the articles stating that News of the World hacks deleted key messages from Milly Dowler’s mobile phone (this now seems to be incorrect), an article claiming the Sun was planning to doorstep a junior counsel at the Leveson Inquiry (this was not true), and the claim that Murdoch papers hacked Gordon Brown’s family medical records (again, not true). How many more nonsense stories are going to be written by journalists who claim, in the irony to end all ironies, simply to be ‘cleaning up the press’? Leveson and its cheerleaders are starting to look about as reliable as the Sunday Sport.
The Guardian has not been forced to retract, but has chosen to. This is the behaviour of a responsible media outlet, something that News International would simply fail to do. Furthermore, corrections can be minor (such as a name, an age, a geographical location). It is to the Guardian's credit that it seeks to be accurate. Would that other media organisations were as conscientious.

Oh they're as responsible an outlet as it gets. Ran 40 stories based on false allegations, then tried to make do with stealthily inserting a post-factum footnote referencing "new evidence", then eventually expressed grudging "regret"; never an apology. Yup, that's how responsible outlets correct a false story that cost 200 people their jobs, alright.
Er... I think you might find that the closing of the News of the World was predicated on far more evidence than simply the Guardian. And as you highlighted yourself, the Milly Dowling story, that NI hacked her phone, only seems to be incorrect.
To repeat, the 40 stories were not in toto incorrect, and where possible inaccuracies occured, the Guardian corrected them. Only some were retracted, not all 40 (as, again, your reference states "correct, retract or apologise for"). I repeat; it is to the Guardian's credit that it has such a stringent approach to accuracy.
The 200 journalists lost their jobs because Newscorps was shown to have a culture of endemic criminality, and the closing of NotW was a pre-emptive step to shift blame from Murdoch, Brooks et al. It hasn't worked. Brooks is in even greater trouble for admitting in front of select committee to paying police officers when editor of the NotW. She had to resign from NotW. She's toast, and rightly so.
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Postby Storyteller » Sat Jan 07, 2012 7:00 am

UtgardLoki wrote:Er... I think you might find that the closing of the News of the World was predicated on far more evidence than simply the Guardian.

And yet the Guardian's claim about News of the World deleted voice messages giving Dowling's family false hope that she was alive were the tipping point of the entire campaign.

Only some were retracted, not all 40 (as, again, your reference states "correct, retract or apologise for").

That's kind of the point- that 37 stories were stealth-footnoted.
"...Their aim in war with Germany is nothing more, nothing less than extermination of Hitlerism... There is absolutely no justification for this kind of war. The ideology of Hitlerism, just like any other ideological system, can be accepted or rejected, this is a matter of political views. But everyone grasps, that an ideology can not be exterminated by force, must not be finished off with a war.” - Vyacheslav Molotov, ""On the Foreign Policy of the Soviet Union", 31 October 1939
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Postby UtgardLoki » Sat Jan 07, 2012 7:33 am

Storyteller wrote:
UtgardLoki wrote:Er... I think you might find that the closing of the News of the World was predicated on far more evidence than simply the Guardian.

And yet the Guardian's claim about News of the World deleted voice messages giving Dowling's family false hope that she was alive were the tipping point of the entire campaign.
OK. Which just goes to prove that mistakes can be serendipitous. The Dowling family did believe that Milly was alive, and the rumours of hacking forced the re-opening of hundreds of cases which the police (who had criminal relationships with Newscorps) had woefully neglected to investigate properly, hence the series of police resignations. It is unfortunate it required the emotive nature of Milly Dowling to force a proper and thorough investigation into Newscorps endemic criminality.
Storyteller wrote:
Only some were retracted, not all 40 (as, again, your reference states "correct, retract or apologise for").

That's kind of the point- that 37 stories were stealth-footnoted.
The Guardian has a corrections policy that puts every competing British news print outfit to shame. It is peculiar logic to hold the number of corrections made by an organisation that is so stringent about correcting, "stealthily" or not, as some evidence of its special inaccuracy, when others simply don't act as responsibly. If the Guardian prints more corrections than, eg, the Times, this does not entail the Guardian has more to correct. Rather, it simply shows that the Times doesn't bother with corrections. To pretend that it would mean the Times, without a corrections policy, has less to correct is spurious.
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Postby portia » Sat Jan 07, 2012 9:07 am

On the Charlotte Church-related story:

In an different context, but appropriate

"Not only is the universe stranger than we think, it is stranger than we can think." Werner Heisenberg
"Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine." Sir Arthur Eddington

And the world of cyberspace is stranger , still.
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Postby DeadRinger » Wed Mar 28, 2012 8:54 pm

Ok this isn't about phone hacking, but about other ethics-free behaviour of Rupert Murdoch and his empire:


(From the Australian Financial Review)

PAY TV PIRACY HITS NEWS

Neil Chenoweth

A secret unit within Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation promoted a wave of high-tech piracy in Australia that damaged Austar, Optus and Foxtel at a time when News was moving to take control of the Australian pay TV industry.

The piracy cost the Australian pay TV companies up to $50 million a year and helped cripple the finances of Austar, which Foxtel is now in the process of acquiring.

A four-year investigation by The Australian Financial Review has revealed a global trail of corporate dirty tricks directed against competitors by a secretive group of former policemen and intelligence officers within News Corp known as Operational Security.

Their actions devastated News’s competitors, and the resulting waves of high-tech piracy assisted News to bid for pay TV businesses at reduced prices – including DirecTV in the US, Telepiu in Italy and Austar. These targets each had other commercial weaknesses quite apart from piracy.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is still deliberating on final details before approving Foxtel’s $1.9 billion takeover bid for Austar, which will cement Foxtel’s position as the dominant pay TV provider in Australia.

News Corp has categorically denied any involvement in promoting piracy and points to a string of court actions by competitors making similar claims, from which it has emerged victorious. In the only case that went to court, in 2008, the plaintiff EchoStar was ordered to pay nearly $19 million in legal costs.

News Corp’s Australian arm, News Ltd, on Wednesday afternoon issued a statement hitting out at the AFR’s report.

AFR Editor-in-chief Michael Stutchbury said: “The AFR fully stands by Neil Chenoweth’s extraordinary report of pay TV piracy involving News Corp subsidiary NDS”.

“Anyone who reads Chenoweth’s extraordinary report will be struck by the complexity and murkiness of the relationships, actions and motives involved in the NDS story. The AFR welcomes any further independent investigation of the serious matters he has brought to light.”

The issue is particularly sensitive because Operational Security, which is headed by Reuven Hasak, a former deputy director of the Israeli domestic secret service, Shin Bet, operates in an area which historically has had close supervision by the Office of the Chairman, Rupert Murdoch.

The security group was initially set up in a News Corp subsidiary, News Datacom Systems (later known as NDS), to battle internal fraud and to target piracy against its own pay TV companies. But documents uncovered by the Financial Review reveal that NDS encouraged and facilitated piracy by hackers not only of its competitors but also of companies, such as Foxtel, for whom NDS provided pay TV smart cards. The documents show NDS sabotaged business rivals, fabricated legal actions and obtained telephone records illegally.


Full report here.
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