The other week, there were allegations published in the Australian Financial Review showing that the potentially criminal actions of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation extended well beyond phone hacking. It detailed how security officers working for News International subsidiary NDS were behind a piracy web site called The House of Ill Compute, or thoic.com, where hackers posted codes that allowed users to pirate pay-TV services for Murdoch competitors.
Now we have further evidence that it's all part of the culture of Murdoch's operations. Reuters reports that Sky News, part of Rupert Murdoch's media empire, now admits it had hacked into emails on two occasions but insisted it had acted in the public interest. "Sky News said it had authorized a journalist in 2008 to access the emails of people suspected of criminal activity in the so-called "canoe man" case of a Briton who faked his own death after paddling out to sea. The channel said it had shared the material with police and that it had helped secure the conviction of the man's wife, who had been living with her husband for part of the time in Panama, and was sentenced to six years in jail. In the second hacking episode, a journalist accessed the email accounts of a suspected pedophile and his wife in an investigation that did not lead to any material being published or broadcast. 'We stand by these actions as editorially justified and in the public interest,' the head of Sky News, John Ryley, said in a statement.
The bottom line however is that it was still illegal and that the cops would have caught up with these wrong-doers anyway. And as commentator Ari Rabon-Havt says, it is not in the realm of a private entity to determine which laws to follow and which to ignore. "It's because of this hubris, which runs up and down the News Corp. ladder, that the company has landed in this place."