Friday, 15 July 2011

Phone hacking is

apparently an easy thing to do. I will add very quickly that I do not have the least idea how to go about it - and I certainly have even less desire to find out.
Phone hacking is akin to burglary in my book. It is an unwarranted intrusion into (and theft of) your private life. I believe it is equally easy to hack into e-mail and I feel the same way about that as I do about phone hacking.
I am well aware that everything I write on this blog is open to public scrutiny. That is fine. I have chosen to take that path.
I have more than one e-mail account and none of them are open to public scrutiny. One of them is an ordinary sort of account where I get messages from friends or about writing or knitting. I would be angry if someone hacked into that - not least because they would be stealing and not just from me but from my friends. I am well aware however that what I say there is monitored - if I mention certain words in relation to one another in the same message then that message may be read by others.
I know my other e-mail accounts are monitored more closely than that. They are work related and my work sometimes involves people working in sensitive areas or sensitive situations. The monitoring does not alarm me because (a) I have nothing to hide, (b) the people I work with have nothing to hide and (c) we all know it happens. That does not mean I like it but I can live with it. Unlike hacking monitoring is done to preserve information rather than disseminate it.
The news media has always taken the view that people in power or people with public profiles have to accept public scrutiny of their private and personal lives as well as their public lives. I disagree. I do not care what the Prime Minister eats for breakfast. It is not the Prime Minister's job to endorse a breakfast cereal, bread or marmalade. I do care that the Prime Minister does the job a Prime Minister is elected to do.
It would be better for everyone if the media concentrated on making sure that people are held to account for their public rather than their private lives.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Everyone is monitored but most people are not spied upon. Chris

Donna Hosie said...

Chris is spot on. What the News International people did was spying. It is illegal and I fully expect those responsible to go to jail.

And may they rot there for spying on a dead 13-year-old girl.

JO said...

Don't think you'll find anyone who will disagree. Hacking is simply wrong.

But is there a wobbly boundary? I'm playing devil's advocate here - I listen to conversations in buses and cafes, scribble them in my notebook. They may or may not become stories, and enough details changed to make sure this is fiction. But I don't suppose those speaking intended me to overhear.

I argue that any conversation in a public place (unless someone is in floods of tears and there is obvious sudden trauma - I don't go there) is there to be overheard in the same way as wittering on twitter and facebook.

What I cannot condone - and could never do - is deliberately invade privacy in order to discover a story.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately it is often thought that the invasion of privacy will make the best stories! Chris

JO said...

Chris - what do you mean by 'best'? If you mean titillating, then maybe we need to look at why so many people are interested in who does what to whom in private places.

And surely there is enough great fiction - really made-up stuff - without hacking into the phones of grieving people.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Jo I should have put "best" in inverted commas! The press would surely regard the "best" as the stories which sell the news - and unfortunately fiction does not hold a candle to factfiction in the eyes of the general public. I detest the whole Newscorp thing but the public is as much to blame as the press. They listened and read that rot. Chris