Phone hacking was a technique used to listen to people’s phone conversations or messages. Reporters and a private investigator working for the News of the World used it to target people in the news – celebrities, politicians and crime victims – so they could find angles on stories that would get them ahead of the competition. They would listen to private messages left on voicemail, make a recording of them, and use the information to help write stories.
Why did this trial come about?
The News of the World was closed down after its owners, Rupert Murdoch’s News International, admitted the scale of hacking that had been going on, dating back many years.
The company had battled against growing allegations for two years – one of its private investigators and the News of the World’s royal editor were jailed in 2007 over a story gleaned from hacking.
The paper’s original position – that rogue staff had acted alone – could not stand. Eventually Rupert Murdoch decided he had no choice but to close the newspaper down after it emerged Milly Dowler, a teenager who was abducted and murdered, had her voicemails hacked.
The Crown Prosecution Service charged two former editors – Rebekah Brooks and her successor Andy Coulson with conspiracy to intercept mobile voicemails alongside others connected to the newspaper.
Can you think of any incidents in the news that involved hackers or virus writers?
Have you ever had a computer or phone hacking experience? Tell us about
From the video, what do you consider to be the best to do in case of being victime of this crime?
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