Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Did News of the World Also Hack Into MySpace Accounts?

Did News of the World or any other News Corp. entity utilize its position to obtain access to the MySpace accounts of those it targeted? This is a question that I have not heard asked but needs to be answered.

As the News Corp. scandal widens, it is tarnishing a media empire, destroying careers, and exposing the relationship between the tabloid media and the police in the United Kingdom. According to the New York Times, Rupert Murdoch's aides may have paid off those who had damaging information regarding the alleged hacking activities of some employees at News Corp.

Today's testimony by Rupert Murdoch in front of the UK Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee regarding the scandal did not appear to offer any bombshell revelations. However, according to ABC News the U.S. Justice Department is preparing to launch a preliminary investigation into News of the World's activities.

As with most scandals, the truth is somewhat murky and may never be known. However, this should be a wake up call to everyone who utilizes social media to store personal information and to communicate with others instead of a more secure platform.

Did News of the World reporters, editors, and/or management use their positions to try to obtain access to the MySpace accounts of their targets? I have not seen the list of those who allegedly had their phones hacked and I don't know how many of them had MySpace accounts but it would not surprise me if this avenue was explored after News Corp. bought MySpace during the Summer of 2005 (News Corp. recently sold MySpace).

I have previously discussed on numerous occasions the many privacy issues inherent with social media usage and the problems with trusting social media services. For example, Google and Facebook have had issues with employees allegedly accessing without proper authorization their users' data. As far as I know, none of these alleged incidents resulted in a prosecution under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

If News of the World employees targeted former Prime Minister Gordon Brown and allegedly violated the UK's Data Protection Act why wouldn't they also try to hack into the social media accounts of their targets?

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Copyright 2011 by the Law Office of Bradley S. Shear, LLC. All rights reserved.