The Real Danger With The News of The World Phone Hacking “Scandal”

The press and TV are engrossed in the “Scandal” of phone hacking

It was the lead item on the BBC News at ten last night, taking precedence over other more trivial things, like millions of people starving to death in Africa.

I find the outrage rather hypocritical. The News of The World is a very ¬†popular “News Comic” with a readership exceeding 7 Million people.

Take a look at the online version, it is hard to find a single headline that is not about the private life of some celebrity. Do the public really think that these celebrities chat to journalists willingly to make their dirtiest private secrets public? Celebrity scandal is by definition, an invasion of the private life of a celebrity, exposing things they would rather not have exposed.

Before phone hacking came along journalists would attempt to trick people into spilling the beans, bribe their friends and family to tell all, or stalk their victims at a distance with long range zoom lenses or hidden cameras and microphones.

If people are morally outraged at this current invasion of privacy, why were they not morally outraged by the previous methods of invading privacy?

If it is not invading privacy per se that outrages people, then perhaps it is the use of “technology” to do it ?

But a long range zoom lens or a hidden camera is just as much “technology” as is a telephone. We don’t seem outraged by the use of CCTV technology to record our private business, or the use of mobile phones to track our movements.

The whole moral outrage appears to be ungrounded in any principle other than crowd hysteria and the current focus of the unthinking mob.

The real danger of the phone hacking “scandal” is that this ill considered public outrage is used by the government to introduce draconian legislation to “protect privacy” that will inevitably damage genuine investigative news reporting.

The sort of reporting that exposed Watergate, the corruption in FIFA and countless other political scandals and criminal conspiracies.

Corrupt politicians and public officials everywhere must be rubbing their hands with anticipation at the thought that their murky activities may soon be hidden from the public behind a wall of legal protection.

Words by Murray Rothbard

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  • I don’t think you’ve quick got this right. The investigation into phone hacking is primarily due to the News of The World trying to hack into dead peoples phones and other morally incorrect hacking…. and not because they hacked into Celebrities phones. They have also hacked into bank accounts, which also causes some security issues.

    This is proper morally dodgy territory, and the News of The World is paying for this. I actually agree with you, that journalistic photography can be just as morally dodgy, as can CCTV.

    If we are to have a truly Free society, a truly Libertarian society, then our people should have a good amount of privacy. Which means a right not to be published about in tabloids and a right not to be filmed 24/7 on CCTV. Therefore I think that it is good that the News of The World are being investigated, and hopefully other newspapers will be too.

    You are correct that the African food and water crisis should be more covered than it had been over the past couple of weeks!

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