Will the contagion spread?
I've always suspected that other papers used 'phone hacking', just because it's so damned easy, once you know the trick. I remember enabling remote voicemail access on Orange, back in the 90s, and thinking that with a default password of 0000, anyone could get in... I seem to remember although you had to enable it, but it was also a side effect of allowing use of v-m when abroad.
Maybe others had more scruples, but I've got strong suspicions not, either in the tabloids, or on big investigations in the broadsheets.
I'm pretty sure they all use blagging though. I suspect some people would say the ends justify the means then. If it's an investigation into corruption, maybe OK, fucking over someone because their kid is seriously ill, not so much...
Didn't the ICO report that the tabloids were using private investigators hundreds of times over a 3 year period they investigated?
Also all the tabloids (at least) have been paying the police for info for decades. Would be a bit harsh to put someone in prison for that, when the police, politicians and journos (and everyone else) have all known it's been rife. Makes you wonder about the story on all the Merseyside police guys accessing Steven Gerrard's record (Reg story last week I think)... Who wasn't just doing it for fun?
If the investigation doesn't spread to other papers soon, then Murdoch's empire is going to be in deep, deep shit. What if they fail him on the fit and proper persons test, and make him sell up, and maybe Sky as well? Or other countries where he's unpopular start investigations?
I've heard a few journos over the last few days admit that they've had no training on what's legal or ethical in investigations, and their papers don't have rules to consult. So it's all down to gut feeling, what the editor allows afterwards, or you can get away with. Some have compared this to the Beeb, or other TV stations, where there are huge rule-books - but I think broadcasting is much more tightly regulated than print.