If you don’t think privacy matters all that much, the unfolding British eavesdropping saga should make you think again.
Revelations that gutter journalists for the Rupert Murdoch media empire have been hacking into the phones of politicians, celebrities, victims of the 2005 subway attack, and other murder victims are sending out powerful ripples that could reach our shores. A public that has avidly consumed what passes for news in the pages of Murdoch’s tabloids The Sun and News of the World seems to have reached its “have you no shame?” moment with the admission that the investigation into the abduction and murder of 13-year-old Milly Dowler was thrown off course by the hacking of her cell phone. And the probability that this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Add the ingredients of bribed police officers, the close friendship between the top Murdoch executive Rebekah Brooks (who presided over the hacking) and the British Prime Minister David Cameron whose election she championed as well as the looming Murdoch take over of Sky TV and a significant chunk of British broadcasting, and you get quite a combustible mix.
Would our robust Murdoch media stable (New York Post, Fox News, Wall Street Journal) resort to similar methods? Of course not, we are told.
But here in Massachusetts we have had police improperly probing databases for dirt on celebrities and dirty tricks are a staple on Fox News.
What is happening in Britain right now should be our wake up call.