Friday, July 08, 2011

The Wisdom of the Brits

Let's face it. No one cared two hoots about someone picking up Burnt Umber's (or was it Raw Sienna's ?) or Andy Gray's voicemail, or getting Max Mosley's ersatz wardress to give an interview about his outre sexual tastes.

Yet the legal system of England and Wales seemed to care a great deal.

By contrast, everyone is rightly outraged at a reporter picking up a missing girl's voicemail - not to mention the voicemails of dead soldiers families. It's true that not one in fifty of us ever changes the default voicemail code - is it '0000' or '1111' ? - so it's not exactly a difficult thing to do - but neither is robbing small children or elderly people - and they're pretty disgusting crimes.

Looks like Murdoch is cynically throwing the NOTW staff to the wolves, while keeping on then-editor Rebekah Wade, who should, along with Andy Coulson be carrying the can - all to keep the bid for full control of Sky alive.

I guess it may not be too bad for some of the staff - if they can take the redundancy and then sign on straight away to work for "Sun-day"(© Laban Tall 2011).

The Guardian and BBC are loving it - loving it. I've had to forget about Radios Four and Five on my current three-hours-plus daily commute - because all I hear is Coulson/Cameron/Coulson/Cameron.

But even a stopped clock is right twice a day, and the Guardian and BBC are right for all the wrong reasons. The Dirty Digger may be a great newspaperman. But he's an enemy of Britain who's done great damage to this country's culture (damage, to be fair, only made possible because of the 'creative destruction' of predecessors like BBC boss Hugh Greene) even while his papers have produced some great journalism - including great investigative journalism.

God willing the Sky bid will fail - although I wouldn't put money on it. And ideally a Biblical plague - frogs, boils, blood, whatever - should afflict the UK executives of News International, until all UK operations close and only blue plaques at Wapping and Bouverie Street mark its passing.

Only one cloud no bigger than a man's hand. What if Murdoch's difficulty is Desmond's opportunity?





UPDATE - surely time to impound all the servers and get the IT forensics boys out ?

Police are examining claims that a News International executive may have expunged millions of emails from an archive believed to date back to 2005. The Guardian reported that ‘massive quantities’ of the archive appear to have been deleted on two separate occasions, the most recent in January of this year.

A handy hint for Mr Plod - News International will, like all large organisations dependent on IT, have a DR (disaster recovery) site somewhere - probably run by a third party, usually not directly accessible to most of their IT staff, and where regular backup copies of server data are stored. It may have been overwritten when the copies were refreshed, but one never knows. On the other hand the operative charged with the (at this stage purely theoretical) task may have done a thorough job. But if an executive really did do it, the data may still be recoverable quite easily. There's more to deleting data than hitting 'Delete'.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Rebekah Wade ?
Surely Rebecca Brooks ?

I wholeheartedly agree about R4 - when the subject was injected into a completely unrelated news item on the Toady program for the umpteenth time I gave up and switched to the local version of the Alan Partridge show.

And to hear shagger Prescott blathering on about standards and decency nearly made me hawk my breakfast into the footwell.

Martin said...

"No one cared two hoots about someone picking up Burnt Umber's (or was it Raw Sienna's ?) or Andy Gray's voicemail, or getting Max Mosley's ersatz wardress to give an interview about his outre sexual tastes." -

Laban, can I enquire about the basis upon which you make such a sweeping assertion? That Oswald Mosley's boy is a bondage spanker with a taste for very weird Third Reich get-ups is a matter of the greatest concern to me. Indeed, given his previous position it should have been of the utmost concern to anyone who drives a car. When all is said and done, they were the ones who were subsidising that rather strange lifestyle of his.

Spanker Mosley is the poster boy for that part of the oligarchy that not only does not wish to be caught with its trousers down but would prefer not to have to wear trousers at all, and for whom Christian morality and the superficial need to be considerate of their fellows are mere obstacles to the satisfaction of their appetites.

Laban said...

Martin - that's what I'm saying.

People were not outraged that the press videoed Mosley's little soirees, and were not outraged that some actress had her voicemail listened to.

But they were outraged about Milly Dowler.

Anon - she was Rebekah Wade when she was NOTW editor. She's married and gone for a classier forename (which to be fair is probably the one she was given at birth).

JuliaM said...

"Indeed, given his previous position it should have been of the utmost concern to anyone who drives a car. When all is said and done, they were the ones who were subsidising that rather strange lifestyle of his. "

I can't say I care overmuch what Steve Jobs did with the money I paid him for my iPad, nor what George R R Martin did with the royalties from my recent purchase of the 'Game of Thrones' books.

Why on earth would I?

Ross said...

I was so disgusted at the NOTW's behavior that I rang them to complain but couldn't get through- so I just left a message on my voicemail instead.

Edwin Greenwood said...

Not just third-party disaster recovery sites, but the structure of the backup regime and the nature of email storage itself. A Tower of Hanoi media rotation scheme will spread backed up files evenly across dozens of tapes, some of which will be offsite. And the messages themselves will typically be archived in PST files or their non-Microsoft equivalent. Identifying individual incriminating messages is a no-no.

Then there will be local copies of the PST files on the journos' personal laptops. Have you got them all back?

Add to this the strong likelihood that Wapping uses a single email system for employees of all four titles, so you can't just trash all of the News of the World's servers and tapes in a scorched earth tactic.

I wish them luck.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

Plus also, in all likeliehood they have an email retention policy which states that everything gets deleted after a certain time, unless it's subject to a court order.

This is perfectly legal and proper, and any business worth its salt will have such a policy.

So the mere fact that things have been deleted out of the archive before any legal unpleasantness kicked off, is not cause for running round in circles and getting excited.

Calm down, everyone.

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