Yesterday News Corp.’s Sky News announced that it authorized journalists to hack into private email accounts on two occasions. While the TV station’s press release further corroborates claims regarding Rupert Murdoch’s woeful incompetence and News Corp.’s clear lack of effective self-regulating mechanisms, Sky News’s defense for its illicit actions is, perhaps, the aspect of this story that is most worthy of comment.
In his statement, John Ryley, executive editor of Sky News, argues that the TV station’s email hacking was “justified and in the public interest.” Now where have we heard that before? It’s the same premise that hacktivists groups like LulzSec and Anonymous –Anonymous coincidentally hacked several Chinese government websites yesterday — operate on in many of their politically motivated hacks. Does the line of reasoning offered by Ryley shield discovered members of Anonymous or Lulzsec from prosecution?
Nope. They’re pursued often, and, if caught, they, justifiably or unjustifiably, are typically held legally responsible. So it can be argued whether or not Sky News’s hacks were truly “in the public interest,” but there’s a more interesting question at play here.
Will Sky News’s staff and management be held to the same standards that apprehended members of Anonymous are held to?