Should 'News of the World' phone hackers do jail time?

Credit: REUTERS/Olivia Harris

The British love their over-the-top tabloid papers, which make the US tabloids that people read surreptitiously at the grocery store check out lines look completely tame. But now the Rupert Murdoch-owned News of the World tabloid, accused of hacking into thousands of voice mail accounts, has been shuttered, throwing hundreds out of work. The paper's employees are being questioned by Scotland Yard in increasing numbers. Rupert Murdoch (who owns everything Fox and the Wall Street Journal, etc.) is taking more heat than ever before, hence the closed tabloid (at least for now).

Eavesdropping on celebrities is one thing, but hacking and writing about voice mails of dead British soldiers outraged our friends across the pond. Add in that supposedly deleting messages of a murdered teenage girl means felony tampering with evidence.

A new low

It gets better - they've been accused of tampering with every high-profile murder investigation in the UK, as well as the Danielle Jones case.

This is bigger than Watergate now, and tarnishes every 'journalist' that ever worked for News International. Even the WSJ and the NYT have had to acknowledge that this is big. -- The eejit (on techdirt)

Note1: If the reporter/newspaper hired, suggested, or otherwise directed someone to the actions, they should be charged as conspirators.

Note2: If they have their own team of hackers to 'find' and sell the information, they should be charged for the crime itself, and possibly as a criminal enterprise. -- Anonymous Coward (on techdirt)
Impressive - it takes a lot of work to actually LOWER the credibility of tabloids, but Murdoch's money machine has succeeded admirably. -- David (on Yahoo! News UK)

Just the same old thing

I am not surprised. News outfits in general have stopped doing good journalism for a while now. Still, I wonder why they'd tamper with murder cases (ie: delete messages) when they had enough material to write their puny articles... -- Ninja (on techdirt)
Why do I feel that this scandal is only skin deep, I bet a lot more illegal activity has been going on for years. -- ****Ed (on Yahoo! News UK)

Not such a big deal?

Are you seriously okay with reporters listening in on private conversations not to mention deleting peoples voice mails? -- BZDTemp (on DailyTech)

What do you think? Should phone hackers do jail time? If yes, how much jail time should someone get for deleting messages in a third party's voice mail account?

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