The UK Police have said no further investigation is needed into the News of the World phone tapping scandal. The paper's former royal correspondent, Clive Goodman, and a private detective accomplice Glen Mulcaire, were jailed over the illegal wiretapping of the mobile phones of royal aides in 2007. The scandal was re-opened on …
There's never a policeman when you want one
I'm hoping that the DPP will order the police to take another look.
However, whilst we're waiting for the gears of politics and law to grind into action, I would like to point you at an excellent article on channel4.com/news which explained just how you might go about eavesdropping on a phone.
When this story first broke I was of the opinion "But I thought GSM was secure!". Then I thought "Ah, they've been hacking by means of default pins". Well, it seems the NotW peeps have been doing just that - but the article on the aforementioned site explains about that and several other methods besides.
Puppet on a String
Yates of the Yard is a Yes Ma'am? He is certainly no Gene Hunt.
Bad precedent - No cookie!
Oh my! Did anyone else see what they did there?
By classing listening to someone else's stored voicemail *after the fact* as "interception", they raised the stakes for any type of access for voicemail or other stored communication, like email, web pages, etc. - even accidental access. Several times I have been in the presence of people that can't understand why other people's voicemail is in there system... and its because they entered the wrong phone number with the default password.
This access could now be prosecuted as illegal access even though it might be unintentional. What about that poor bloke from Blighty that's being extradited to the US for "hacking"? Could this now mean that he might now be classified as breaking UK law?
'Course the cops don't want a light shone on these practices
Would I be one to suggest that police forces up and down the country have yet to come to terms with the fact that transgression of RIPA is a CRIMINAL OFFENCE!?
Oh no sir, none of this "we'll have a listen even though we know we can't use it in evidence" of days gone by.
The cops don't want criminal prosecutions for what reason?!
Oh - isn't the EU already investigating the UK for inadequate protection of electronic communications???
So what the police are saying is...
"... we know they did it, but there's sod all way to prove it, and that hasn't changed since last week"
As pointed out by the guardian..
The police where doing the politician thing of answering a different question to what was asked.
The question asked was:
Was the wholesale 'hacking' of phones being done by many journalists at NOTW affecting 1000's of people.
The answer from the Met went out of its way to only mention the two people charged. Even then we have the strange situation of the NOTW royal correspondent on one hand being tagged as 'the only bad penny' while the police admit that the PI hacked celebs, politicians and sports people. Now unless he was moonlighting on the side in other parts of NOTW why did he request those hacks and if he did not who did?
Like I said on the original article...
...told ya so.
Let's just hope the victims get to sue the butt off the paper.
My immediate reaction was one of anger - typical of the police to drop a case when there is politics involved.
However, it has to be said that it would be a major technical challenge to obtain any evidence that would stand up in court this far after the event. The cost of the process would be very high indeed and I think that the police personnel involved might be better utilised elsewhere.
I regret to say that I think on this occasion, I think they have made the right choice - it sucks that Murdoch's minions get away with a major breach of the law. Unfortunately, whilst people continue to buy the garbage that passes for news print, they will continue to justify their actions.
What do we do now?
Do we petition Downing Street?
Do we assemble peacefully in London?
Do we assemble peacefully outside Scotland Yard?
"...had the ability to illegally intercept mobile phone voice mails, commonly known as phone tapping."
I thought phone tapping was where calls are intercepted in real time, either by inserting a tap on a line or by using call redirection.
Dialling up an operator's voicemail gateway and using someone else's credentials to listen to their voicemail is something different - still illegal but not phone tapping. Surely "The Yard" would know the difference becuase they get to do it legally (and probably illegally as well).
"Our inquiries found that these two men had the ability to illegally intercept mobile phone voice mails, commonly known as phone tapping."
Note, as per other reports, it says VOICEMAILS not CALLS. This is not wiretapping.
It is the actually the most basic form of hacking - guessing the password to someones account.
This does not involve the victims handset at all - you can dial up any networks voicemail facility from any phone, input the target phone number to select the appropriate mailbox and then with a simple 4 digit pin, you're in. As a security consultant said on BBC news the other day - account holders often mailbox passwords are left as the default.
Just like the police said - nothing to see here, move along. It is in fact quite lame. The media are trying to inflate the importance of the story by *implying* that actual calls were eavesdropped. Meh.
Nothing to hide, nothing to fear.
I'M ON THE TRAIN! MY CREDIT CARD IS **** **** **** ****, OH THE NUMBER ON THE BACK, YES ITS $$$.
Face it, with mobile phone you have no expectation of privacy. To consider otherwise is to dream.
However, once the powers that be have ingrained in us "NtH-NtF" ID Cards & the NIR become easy meat.
It just is not acceptable that, firstly, those in power consider it is their right to, regardless of the law or civil practice, their desire to make money over rides privacy and, secondly, the British public continue to stand by while they are made to look like complete jerks by those in power.
I want change and I want it NOW!
OK, I'll put the straight jacket back on and take my medicine, sorry Nursey.....
Hack this, tap that
I cringed every time the media call this unauthorized access phone hacking or tapping, stop this nonsense forthwith.
Logging in to someone's account with their password is not hacking. It's not breaking and entering if you have a key, it's trespass.
Listening to someone's messages is not phone tapping. Watching your home made porno isn't the same as secretly taping you having sex.
makes you wonder
if Murdoch has got some goodies on Police higher ups and they don't want it coming out into the open
"Logging in to someone's account with their password is not hacking. It's not breaking and entering if you have a key, it's trespass."
Oddly enough I cringe every time I see somebody try to draw a direct parallel between the world of electronic information storage and the world of physical property. They are not the same. For example if I were to steal you car you would no longer be in possession of your car. If I were to access your computer and take copies of all your files you would still be in possession of those files. You can't draw a direct parallel between the two.
You have created your own definition of hacking which equates to breaking and entering. Sorry, but I don't think that even comes close to what most people understand hacking to be. Most people would, I think, consider hacking to be accessing a computer system without authorization. A definition which unarguably includes accessing a voicemail box without the owner's consent. By your definition using a password obtained by a trojan or indeed a sneaky little sniffer on the keyboard cable to access a computer would not be hacking.
You are assuming that all the mailboxes concerned were accessed using the default PIN. As has already been pointed out most voicemail systems are inherently insecure because they don't lock out the account after a number of failed attempts. So it's simple (if potentially costly) to access a voicemail box by trying every PIN starting with all zeroes and working your way up. There's little effort involved in this method since it could be done with software, all you would need is the mailbox number, a PC and a modem. Feed it the number and leave it a while, come back later and you've got what you wanted. Does that still not meet with your personal description of hacking?
NO **NEW** CRIME COMMITTED!!
Even the freaking Grauniad had to admit that they had no new evidence of (more) "phone hacking" - or even new evidence concerning the cases already reported, analysed and the miscreants punished. Basically this was all intended to stir sh-i-t up for the Tories and take the heat off Gordo and his cronies for a short time.
And guess what - it worked!
I may be mistaken, but if there is a statement from the paper that "broke" the story saying that the 'criminals' have not been caught doing it again - as against just rehashing the old news about the stuff they got done for already - then surely expecting the Boys and Girls in Blue to come up with new evidence is a little daft?
Move along, you don't need to hear what we want to sneak out but I understand Joe Bloggs down the road once pinched a girl's bum when he was at school fifty years ago...
Two for the price of one
Don't underestimate the seriousness of accessing someone else's voicemail without their consent. Not only would it appear to be unlawful interception, in breach of RIPA, but also unauthorised access/modification of computer material under sections 1, 2 and 3 of the Computer Misuse Act 1990.