back to article NotW accused of hacking Milly Dowler's voicemail

Pressure on the News of the World over phone-hacking allegations intensified still further on Tuesday after allegations surfaced that journalists at the paper intercepted the voicemail messages of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler. Hacks working for the NoTW allegedly deleted voicemail messages sent to Dowler at the time she …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Isolated incident my a***

    "saw it as an isolated incident and decided to do nothing,"

    One isolated incident too many. Who cares about NoW editors. What I want to know is who and why was involved in the police closing down this inquiry so many times under the previous government.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      which policeman responsible for one of the original enquiries now earns a fair shilling from news orp?

      1. Anonymous John

        I waswondering about that.

        It could explain how the NOTW got hold of her mobile number. I can't think of any legitimate source of this information.

        1. Anonymous Coward 101

          Her mobile number...

          ...could have been obtained from friends or family. At the time, the NotW had a good relationship with the family.

    2. Pete 2 Silver badge

      Re: Isolated incident

      Surely the "Isolated incident" was getting caught?

    3. TeeCee Gold badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Isolated incident my a***

      Yes, to have that many isolated incidents all occurring in the same place at the same time would seem a tad careless.......

      For the latter part I would suspect that a certain hack, who just happens to share your initials of "AC", might have had an interest in ensuring that the Screws and its stablemates were still available to him as a potential place of employment once his job as HMGs Turd-Polisher in Chief came to an end. It would have been a terrible shame if he'd been forced to waste all that time spent with his tongue shoved up Rupert's backside.

    4. Zog The Undeniable

      Previous government complicity

      Not likely, I'd say, since senior members of that government reckon they were hacked* as well. Now...if someone could prove a link from Prescott's voicemail via Andy Coulson to Conservative Central Office, that would be the most fun since Watergate.

      *a bit of an inflated description of guessing voicemail passwords

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Previous government complicity

        Read, find the answer in your post yourself, rinse repeat.

        So which of those voicemails they hacked into was about meeting on whose yacht did NoW get their hands on... That is on the less explosive end of the "Compromat" spectrum.

    5. John Smith 19 Gold badge


      "saw it as an isolated incident and decided to do nothing,"

      In the police service this usually got reported as the "One bad apple"

    6. Iad Uroboros's Nemesis

      Isolated incidents seek company

      When has anything isolated ever really remained isolated? To me, the police should have acted on this incident forthwith. They were dealing with a missing girl here!

      Yes, NotW probably got let off because the Police didn't want to spanner NotW plastering their paper with the story and providing awareness. But NotW only care about circulation. If they have/had done something wrong and broken the law, they ABOVE ALL should have been prosecuted to stop this from becoming the standard practice that it appears to have become.

      I don't know what the statute of limitations is on this but NotW should be investigated well as the Police over this incident (as to who signed off on it and, most importantly, why).

  2. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    Loverly people

    employed by a major 'news' company

    Shows just how far some in the media while stoop to bring you an 'exclusive'

    And the rest aint much better since a couple of their rivals are facing contempt charges for the coverage of another murder case

    1. Stuart 22

      Mr Murdoch is probably very upset ...

      This is mild stuff. Listening to messages and possibly disappearing some murder inquiry evidence. NotW has done much worse. Like employing Jonathan Rees after his jail term. Do a Google for what he has been convicted of and investigated for (cos I don't want to frighten the moderators by mentioning it here). and ask what was expected of him?

      Coulson knew this when he employed him. Cameron knew this when he employed Coulson. Employing pond life can be justified in a noble cause. But this wasn't.

      And now our Dave is getting all virtuous because it has blown up in his face.

      Now what has Mudoch's Sun have to say about it? Nothing according to the current page here:

      Boy does that organisation really stink.

      1. Graham Marsden

        @Mr Murdoch is probably very upset

        Mr Murdoch probably doesn't give a toss, he's too busy planning his celebrations for taking over BSkyB which is liable to get the thumbs up from the Tories later this week.

        But there's still time to put a spanner in the works, see:

      2. Paul M 1


        Not true! The Sun is carrying a story about this on it's front page giving it due prominence..

        It's just below the story about the 770 lb record-breaking burger.

        Of course the main thrust of the item is RB proclaiming her innocence/ignorance of the whole matter.

  3. BarryP

    Presure to resign? People should go to jail for this

    Simple as, there should be no, opps sorry here or even fines, put everybody who knew about this at the time in Jail for some time to think about what they did.

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Not only gaol time...

      ...for those responsible, but a massive fine for the NoTW, I think, would be the only fair course of events. If that fine proved to be too much for the purse of Murdoch to bear, then it would be no loss to the world if the NoTW went out of business as a result.

    2. Naughtyhorse


      time for anyone who ever had anything to do with the story

      and a 10 figure fine for the company

      send the fuckers to the wall

    3. Anonymous Coward

      Faced with jail they will all ...

      ... develop aspergers.

      1. bean520

        AC (14:01): GRRRRR :@

        Right, first of all, as a sufferer of Aspergers myself (and NOT facing a jail sentence), I would like to point out that it is a real disease AND is not a reason/excuse for doing incredibly stupid things, computer related or not.

        As i said, I have Aspergers. I can also hack computers, illegally or otherwise (authorised penetration testing, for example). But I don't. At least not illegally because I know it is fucking stupid thing to do. McKinnon should have known this, he was 40-something at the time of offense. He had access to the damn media, and what was going on in America at the time, yet he still hacked into the CIA computers. That's not Aspergers, that's stupidity.

        As for Cleary... Well I have seen no evidence that he was any more than an IRC host (not illegal). He still should have known better than to host a server for people to discuss and plan criminal activity on his home fucking computer.

        My point? Aspergers is not responsible for what these people do. Stupidity is. Do not associate their idiocy with people like me. The rest of us have some common sense.

        Rant over. Sorry for sweariness

  4. Richard Taylor 2


    Do you expect anything different from Murdoch's press (or to be fair, many of the other British tabloids). What still surprises me is not so much the default password on mobiles (although having switched provider I was happy to see that my new one insisted I set a new one the first time I accessed voice mail) but how vulnerable the operators are to 'social' hacking. One would have hoped they know better....

    Anyway the one thing I can predict is that the "people" involved, looking forwards to lucrative post westminster careers will push forward BSkyB's takeover.

    1. Annihilator

      re: pin

      "What still surprises me is not so much the default password on mobiles (although having switched provider I was happy to see that my new one insisted I set a new one the first time I accessed voice mail) but how vulnerable the operators are to 'social' hacking."

      This is what surprises me - I first used the remote voicemail feature about 6-7 years ago as it was rather brilliant. However the default pin (0000 at the time) wouldn't work for me externally until I changed it. Not sure why this has changed, but seems a simple solution: default pin set = no external access allowed.

  5. Tim 49

    Don't buy the bl00dy paper.

    If the general public are offended by the paper's deplorable behaviour, they'll stop buying the wretched thing. Anyone care to speculate whether in fact this'll happen?

    1. Paul M 1


      ...or even, buy The Guardian instead.

      I'm not sure that The Guardian really gets all the credit it should here since it has basically single-handedly continued this "Police" investigation when everybody else were happy to look the other way.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "...or even, buy The Guardian instead."

        The only way I could see NoTW readers buying The Guardian is if they released a version in large print and excluded words that NoTW readers couldn't understand (let alone read).

      2. graeme leggett Silver badge

        Private Eye

        Have been reporting on the phone-hacking business for a long while.

        The put holes all through the "one bad apple/junior employee" coverup story ages ago.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Cover up

        The fact the Guardian has been pushing this so hard says that they have something that they don't want looking at too closely. Maybe the police should, in fact be looking at as well.

    2. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      I would suggest

      tipping any inserted porno chat line advertisement cards out of the top shelf magazines and slipping them into NotW, but I have no idea whether those services advertise in the paper already.

      Simply pissing on it in the shop also seems achievable, but a lot of newsagents have CCTV, so perhaps best not.

    3. Anonymous Coward


      The kind of fuckwits that read the NoTW *anyway* are the kind of fuckwits that will carry on reading it despite (or even because of) this incident.

      However, I guess the fact that the NoTW is willing to interfere with the investigation into the murder of a child puts pay to the lie that the righteous indignation this paper exhibited over its anti-paedophile campaign was anything other than a cynical ploy to sell more papers.

      As if there was actually any doubt in that, anyway.....

  6. Winkypop Silver badge

    'Heinous' and 'despicable'

    That sort of says it all about this shower of pissants.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Hope they throw the book at her

    If there's one person who deserves to do time over this it's probably Ms. Brooks. Caught this story on Newsnight last night and am still shocked by it. I might be putting a bit too much faith in the Police's abilities, but it's a horrible idea that the grubby activities of NI might have saved Bellfield from gaol earlier on.

    1. nichomach

      If, note IF...

      ...the actions of NotW, NI and that slag Brooks hampered the police investigation and allowed Bellfield to escape detection, then the truly horrific aspect is "Former bouncer Bellfield was previously convicted of murdering two other young women, Marsha McDonnell and Amelie Delagrange: both crimes happened in the two years after Dowler's murder.". Their actions may not just have interfered in the capture of a murderer, but freed that murderer to go on and kill two more people. As others have commented, people need to be jailed for this, and not just the lowly peons; Brooks and others of her ilk MUST have known what was being done, and they should be jailed also.

      1. Giles Jones Gold badge

        False hope

        Indeed. The person accessing the voicemails deleted some and this gave false hope to the family that she was still alive as they could tell someone was listening to the messages.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    That explains it.

    That explains why they've put so much cash into the fund to pay the people who had their phones hacked. I doubt the Dowler family will (or should) accept what some of the 'celebs' that rolled over for.

    1. LS6

      Dowler's family aren't entitled to compensation.

      The screws compensation scheme only applies to allegations of hacking between 2004 & 2006. That's quite a specific and narrow timeframe.

      Milly was killed in 2002.

      Not only did NOTW apparently hack a dead kid's phone for the lulz, they appear to have instructed their lawyers to ensure their parents couldn't easily claim compensation for the clear emotional distress this caused.

      In true screws fashion, I expect Sunday's editoral will demand that these "sick monsters" deserve to be locked up with the other perverts in prison.

      Mine's a pint of schadenfreude as I watch Brooks and Coulson get hung by the peadogeddon mob they helped create.

  9. ColonelClaw


    I always enjoy any pain brought upon Murdoch and his bottom-feeding minions, and I'm going to thoroughly enjoy seeing how this plays out. It's also interesting to note that Rebekah (porn star spelling) Brooks is a close personal friend of David Cameron's, as is Andy Coulsdon. Some classy friends our Dave keeps.

  10. Phil Endecott

    Conrad Black

    One ray of hope. Conrad Black is in prison for much less. Maybe Murdoch and Wade next? Stranger things have happened.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Much less?

      The two things are impossible to compare, but I would suggest stealing millions from your company, and treating the company's accounts as your own, is always likely to be seen as a greater crime than authorising (or turning a blind eye to) some of your hacks listening in to people's voicemails.

      That doesn't deflect at all from the fact that NoTW's conduct re. the Dowler case is quite reprehensible, especially given the false impression that their deletion of messages inevitably lead to misplaced hope for this poor girl's parents, but they didn't kill Dowler, that fat wheel-clamping/boucing c*nt did, whereas Black *did* steal the money.

  11. Jelliphiish
    Thumb Down


    the dead-tree format equivalent of malware. do not penetrate their paywall and you will mostly be safe.

    as for the news international links and the exec's prior knowledge of the paper's activities.. good luck with prosecuting anyone involved, be it NI or the Plod.. they live behind a different kind of paywall.

  12. Dunstan Vavasour


    Given the right social context people will become complicit with activities which, to an external observer, are clearly immoral. Milgram showed this in the 1960s, and it has ever been true.

    This is why the editorial team are responsible: they set the context in which the perpetrators of this despicable deed acted, and copy writers didn't shun the material.

    As for exhorting people to stop buying NoTW, save your breath. We have the press we deserve. Depressing, isn't it?

  13. Bill B

    NoTW inquiry

    The paper has said that it will hold its own inquiry into the incident.

    I feel better already!

    1. peter 45


      Translation. The NOTW excecutives are desperately trying to find out who had any involvement so they can distance themselves as far a humanly possible before the Police catch up.

    2. Iad Uroboros's Nemesis

      ...and will NotW openly report its own internal findings?

      Will they ride roughshod over the personal lives of all those that are or might be involved? Will they publish all and be damned? Will they bribe other reporters for insider leaked memos and tap their own voicemails?

      Is this whole, public story in the public interest and worthy of reporting?

      I pray that this happens and starts the infinite feedback look (reporting on the report of the report) and they all end up devouring themselves out of existence.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Default Password ?

    A brute force attack would be (and still possibly is) relatively easy to perform.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Default Password ?

      AFAIK, you just need to fake the caller ID to be the target's number and most voicemail servers will put you straight through.

      No PIN needed.

      If true, the voicemail security model is pretty weak. Then again, there are supposed to be laws in place to punish this kind of activity...

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge
        IT Angle

        Re: Voicemail security model

        Since you raise the subject ...

        I've been looking around for technical details of what these people did. What were they able to listen to? What sort of equipment did they need? Does it expose a weakness in mobile phone security that we don't already know about?

        Well, for values of "we" including "I" the answer is almost certainly yes, because I know diddly squit about this at present. Obviously recent events have piqued my interest.

        I vaguely recall that transmissions between base stations are unencrypted and so with some reasonably affordable (for a newspaper employee) equipment one could intercept them. If tweaking a phone to fake caller ID lets you probe voicemail, though, that's a whole new level of weakness. Aren't at least some modern phones pretty near open source, so there's probably an app for that?

        In short, is mobile phone security so weak that basically this has been a scandal waiting to happen? Do the mobile companies bear some responsibility for leaving everyone's front doors open? Are the basic standards at fault? (Unencrypted base station traffic certainly *sounds* like it is a weakness that becomes ever-more-likely to be exploited as the cost of electronics comes down.)

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Where's LulzSec when you need them?

    No, I don't approve of LulzSec, but if they were to go ten rounds with the notw then whoever lost would be no loss.

  16. Adam T

    Freedom of the press

    I'm recalling something old people used to say when I was a kid, to do with privileges being honoured if not earned, else taken away.

    Fucking leeches should have all their press passes revoked.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Wonder how long the NOTW site is up?

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Quite revolting

    The one thing about "red-tops" that ensures I will never read one is when they bang about stringing up the paedos, then turn over two pages and it's usually a picture of some girl, barely left shool, being exploited with a shitty tagline like, "She's barely legal and she's showing us the lot! Phwoar!".

    1. Anonymous Coward


      "...then turn over two pages and it's usually a picture of some girl, barely left shool, being exploited with a shitty tagline like, "She's barely legal and she's showing us the lot! Phwoar!"."

      You say that like it's a bad thing...

      1. bean520

        That's probably because it is...

  19. Nev

    Brooks should be hounded...

    ... hounded like a paediatrician from their house.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Are you

      confusing pediatrician for pedophile like the good people of Portsmouth Hants did a few years ago? or was it some subtle comment that whizzed over my head?

      Paediatrics is the branch of medicine that deals with the medical care of infants, children, and adolescents. A medical practitioner who specializes in this area is known as a paediatrician.

      As a medical diagnosis, pedophilia (or paedophilia) is defined as a psychiatric disorder in adults or late adolescents (persons age 16 or older) typically characterized by a primary or exclusive sexual interest in prepubescent children

      1. peter 45

        subtle comment?

        No need to duck. It passed so far over your head that the moon was not safe.

        1. Anonymous Coward

          At least

          podiatrists are safe.

          1. JohnMurray


            Proctologists aren't

  20. andy gibson

    A fine won't work

    When you have a nation of morons willing to pay it for the company by buying their papers.

    The only way to hit the company where it hurts is to ban them from publishing - a sliding scale from a week onwards, depending on the crime or lies they've published. And if they use page 1 to tell a lie, they should use the same page and font for the apology, not tucked away at the corner of page 20.

    1. John G Imrie

      An apology

      I've always thought that the apology should fill the exact location in the paper as the original story.

      The other thing that is irritating me is that the Met originally went with the News of the Screws original line of a rogue reporter when they knew that the Milly Dowler case was being compromised by the same papers reporters.

      Can I also suggest that all fellow commentards go out and buy a copy of to days Grouniad. I'd really like to see it beat the NotW's circulation figures for today.

      1. D@v3

        I would agree

        With all of your post, I am sick of seeing corrections or retractions, in a tiny little box on page 15.

        The one thing i do disagree with is...

        "Can I also suggest that all fellow commentards go out and buy a copy of to days Grouniad. I'd really like to see it beat the NotW's circulation figures for today."

        and i only disagree from a matter of accuracy, as today is a tuesday, and the NoTW is a Sunday 'paper'.

        and come to think of it, the Guardian, is not available on Sunday's. So buying one, in place of the other, is not possible.

        1. John G Imrie


          Can I also suggest that all fellow commentards go out and buy a copy of to days Grouniad. I'd really like to see it beat the NotW's circulation figures for *next Sunday*.

          Happy now :-)

  21. cdilla

    Tory sleaze

    Tory leader smooching with sleazy media bitch. That's nothing new.

    And will anyone do any time at all over this? Hands up anyone who has the slightest faith that the British Government or the British legal system or the British police will see to it that there is a satisfactory outcome to this... thought not.

    The political leaders bleat about how the image of British journalism is being tarnished! How the hell can a turd be tarnished?

    1. CaptainHook

      Public Replusion

      Brooks has friends in high places and so far the phone hacking scandal keeps sliding off her teflon shoulders but this is far too public and I doubt her contacts in Government or the Police are going to want to help her if there is the slightest possibility of that help becoming public.

      1. Adam Foxton

        There's a difference

        This time, they're not just phone hacking. They interfered and set back by at least days the investigation into the disappearance of a young girl.

        They deleted evidence (whether relevant or otherwise to the actual case, it was still evidence even if it was just "no, no-one called her by now") in relation to this case

        And jumping slightly into speculation, if they hadn't knocked back the investigation and if they hadn't deleted evidence they might just have caught the fucker who did it earlier. Not an unreasonable bit of conjecture, eh?

        Well if they HAD caught the guy sooner he wouldn't have been able to kill two more girls in the following years. So, potentially, they caused the death of two more kids.

        Now if THAT can't get the other (competing) papers to get the masses in a rage then nothing will. The News Of The World needs to fall for this, the people involved sacked with prejudice and then jailed.

  22. Britt Johnston
    IT Angle

    whatever happened to globalisation?

    Every country has a gutter press, but only England has journalist hackers? Murdoch's empire extends to the USA, why does the method they are (still) using only work in one country?

    1. Steve Evans

      Re: whatever happened to globalisation?

      I'm sure it works in many countries.

      All you need it:

      1) A way of accessing a network's voicemail system in retrieval mode from another phone. In the NoTW story they just rang the mobile when they knew it would divert to voicemail (either off, or busy with another call, which they had just made). However most carriers also have a direct number you can call from any phone to retrieve messages, so you need to know the carrier for that... Or just ring all of them.

      2) The phone number of the person you wish to snoop on - only required if you are dialling the voicemail directly and not letting it bounce in on a divert from the target phone.

      3) A few guesses at the 4 digit pin which is usually default. Try 0000, 1234, 1111 and 8888.

      1. Britt Johnston
        Thumb Up

        thanks for the explanation

        I was convinced that it took inside connections to do something like this, especially as hacking MPs should be safeguarded against by technical staff in Westminster. But as I understand you, it is more likely that these politicians were also unaware how easy it is to open other people's voicemail.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Brooks has to go, she was in control at NoTW at the time, if she didn't know about what was happening she was incompetend, otherwise she hampered the police investigation.

    She won't go though, if Murdoch had any desire to get rid of her over wrong-doings, he would have made her resign when at the Sun she was running an anti-domestic violence campaign and got arrested for beating up her then husband.

    This should stop the News Corp purchase of BsykB, as they are clearly not "fit and proper persons" to be running such a company. Do we still have that rule, though?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Left wondering

      If She's got negatives of the dirty digger, or if he's shagging her. It has to be one or the other.

    2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Surely

      "Brooks has to go, she was in control at NoTW at the time"

      IANAL, but as I understand it the owners of a company are entitled to employ trained monkeys in managerial positions if they want to. *Clearly* Brooks' only defence is that she hadn't a clue where her paper was getting its stories from and was therefore a waste of space in the editor's chair, but that's Rupert's problem.

      The *directors* of a company, however, are legally responsible for the actions taken by that company. If the company is found to be in breach of the law, it is the directors who end up in court. That *is* our (the public's) business.

  24. NightFox

    There's Hope

    All to often something like this happens and everyone's disgusted and calling for boycotts, but a few months later it's all forgotten about and sales continue unaffected. However, you look what happened with The Sun in Liverpool following the Hillsborough tragedy (irrespective of your views on the offending story) and you do realise that if there's enough public will and sentiment (stirred up from time to time to keep to momentum), then the tabloids can be made to pay the price.

  25. Giles Jones Gold badge

    How did they know her number?

    You do have to wonder how the paper got hold of her number as it would be required to access the voicemail.

    Must be a bent copper around somewhere selling information?

    1. NightFox
      Thumb Down

      You What?

      Wow, way to jump to a conclusion!

      The thing with phone numbers is that people tend to GIVE them to people they know to call them; God alone knows how many people have my number. It would be so easy for the media to directly approach one of these contacts or social engineer the number out of them, or maybe one of these contacts even approached the media with her number.

      1. Robert E A Harvey


        people give away the phone number. The remote access number should be different. I bet hardly anyone knows what theirs is.

    2. Alan Firminger


      A corrupt individual in the phone company.

      I wrote a year or so ago that you can buy anything because everyone has a price. And Newsnight brought up that issue a week ago.

  26. Chris Young

    The only bit that surprises me ...

    ... is that anyone still buys the News of The World.

    Lots of people will claim to be shocked, outraged even. But they'll keep buying the rag.

    I personally wouldn't even use a copy as a substitute for toilet paper, no matter how desperate I was ...

  27. Stratman


    Serious jail time for the perps and a fine sufficiently large to put the NOTW out of business for good.

    If there's the merest hint that one of Bellfield's other victims would be alive today if it were not for the disgraceful actions of the Murdoch rag, they should be done for being accessories to murder.

  28. Big Al

    Rare event

    I find myself agreeing with a lawyer - heinous and despicable indeed!

    These people deserve far worse than the law will be able to give them.

  29. Pete 43
    Thumb Down

    Limbo reporters

    How low can they go?

  30. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse

    I have no love at all for the NoTW...


    Although in this case I wish it did.

    1. Dante


      ...but in the eyes of NOTW if you are accused you ARE guilty - that's how their crap is written. So it's only fair that it's returned in kind.

      Live by the sword and all that.

  31. GetCarter

    Robert Peston News Corp coverage

    Not keen at how Robert Peston on BBC news online, serves as a News Corp mouthpiece. He is spoon fed the corporate line by his next-door neighbour, Will Lewis, who is a News international executive.

  32. Anonymous Coward

    Unregister it?

    As all newspapers have to be registered couldn't the NoTW simply be unregistered as a news paper in the UK. Engaging in criminal activity and basically perverting the course of justice would be good enough reasons I'd have thought and there is NO way this could have been going on without senior people knowing it was going on... plausible deniability doesn't really work here.

    1. John G Imrie

      With any luck

      We can get the top brass on being either

      Criminally responsible:- They new about it


      Criminally irresponsible:- They should have known about it

    2. Alan Firminger

      How would deregistration work ?

      Could not the old owner launch a new paper called the World of the News ?

    3. Robert E A Harvey


      As far as I can tell 'registered as a newspaper' just means you can send it - unsealled- by post for half the^W^W a bit less money.

      You don't need a licence to print or distribute.

  33. Anonymous Coward

    Those talking about default PINs

    I don't think these were done by using the default PIN (the PIN used to collect your voicemail from a number other than your own) so changing it wouldn't have helped.

    There is another way of doing it that I'm fairly certain was employed in this case and it's something that would take a deliberate action to implement rather than 'I just guessed the PIN' style of defence.

  34. hokum

    Brooks was innocent

    Honest guv. See, she wrote a letter explaining:

    "I hope that you all realise it is inconceivable that I knew or worse, sanctioned these appalling allegations. I am proud of the many successful newspaper campaigns at the Sun and the News of the World under my editorship. In particular, the 10-year fight for Sarah's Law is especially personal to me. The battle for better protection of children from paedophiles and better rights for the families and the victims of these crimes defined my editorships"

    See? It's totally inconceviable that the editor of the paper knew how her staff were getting their stories, or why they were paying thousands of pounds to people outside the organisation. It's also totally inconceviable that she could have campaigned for laws to protect children (definitely not a way to sell more papers, by the way) while also allowing her reporters to interfere with a police investigation into the murder of a child.

    That would be like someone who campaigns against domestic violence getting arrested for beating up their spouse!

    1. louis walsh's toilet
      Thumb Up

      yeah, i'd forgotten about that

      allegedly smacking ross 'tougher than wet bog paper' kemp.....what a classy lass:

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Because Sarah's Law ever had anything to do with making children safe. It does the opposite, it encouraged reformed paedos to go rogue to avoid vigilante gangs, which sells newspapers.

  35. This post has been deleted by its author

  36. SplitBrain

    Wouldn't it be funny....

    If a collective of anonymous people decided to actually do something useful, and divert their attention away from Sony and onto a corrupt, theiving, worthless and feckless excuse for journalists.

    We need a batsign thing but with a big V for Vendetta sign on it instead to shine into the night sky......

    1. Debe


      Considering that most computer geeks do… often conform to the stereotype of a computer geek, I don’t really want any of them turning up dressed in skin tight PVC to answer the modified batsign.

      … just personal preference.

    2. Citizen Kaned
      Thumb Up


      maybe one of the forum members has sent them a nice twitter message to make them aware ;)

  37. Anonymous Coward

    It must be Magic

    Rebekahsays - "How did you did you get that story" - "Magic" came the reply.


  38. Anonymous Coward

    I'm just asking....

    Do we know they actually deleted the messages?

    My service (T-Mobile) only keeps messages for 3 days, before they kindly delete them. :-0

    Not sure how long unread messages are kept, but once they listened to them (disgusting shamefull thing to do) the messages would be auto deleted 72 hours later.

    Still thinking about canning Sky.....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      My carrier(s)

      Vodaphone (work) and Tesco/02 (personal) don't do this. BT hang on to (saved) messages for a month I think.

  39. Anonymous Coward

    [untitled, 2nd attempt]

    "I can't think of any legitimate source of this information."

    Rebebah Brooks/Wade has already admitted on the record that her NotW staff routinely paid Met officers for back door information.

    "who and why was involved in the police closing down this inquiry so many times under the previous government."

    Good question. I blame John Prescott. Or maybe not.

    "which policeman responsible for one of the original enquiries now earns a fair shilling from news orp?"

    I suspect you know, and I'm sure many others do too, but I assume we're currently not allowed to mention it here any more even though it has previously been permitted [1] - the previous version of this post, including Eddie Shoestring's name [2], was neither accepted nor rejected but "Last updated" (wtf?). Anyway, once you know the name, you can look up his history, including his book on terrorism and the police. His history is "interesting".

    Flame, because the folks responsible for letting this happen need to burn in hell for as long as poss. As do the folks at the other papers, who knew it was going on, and didn't see a problem with letting it carry on.

    [1] e.g.

    [2] Name changed for the protection of the guilty.

  40. Anonymous Coward


    I've already binned Sky. As I don't buy papers it seemed the only way I could vote with my feet.

  41. Steve Evans


    I'm sure we'll be hearing the "I knew nothing about it" line from all the managers... Well even if that is true then it means you were not managing your staff were you. You didn't tell them what was acceptable and what was not. Therefore you are a bad manager. Sack.

    Oh, and please stop giving the NoTW stories the "hacking" label it so doesn't deserve. This is no more hacking than my granny's drive to Sainsbury's is the British Grand Prix. They gained access to a voicemail account by a default password. They didn't even brute force it, just tried the defaults 0000, 1234, 8888. It would be harder to break into a chocolate money box which had the key beside it.

  42. Knowledge
    Big Brother

    Rebekah Brooks...

    She knew. And Cameron has known since April.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Gonna wait on corroborating, but woah!

  43. Alex Brett

    Caller ID spoofing

    My understanding is the way they got in is by spoofing the caller ID to be the mobile number, which with an appropriate connection in to the telephone network is quite trivial (though normally against contract terms, and possibly against Ofcom rules). Getting such a connection is not particularly expensive or difficult...

    The voicemail systems then naively trusted this caller ID, and so believed the call was coming from the mobile itself, so let it in without asking for a PIN.

    This has since been rectified by most (all?) operators so it now actually checks if the call originated from the network in addition to having the right caller ID...

    1. Andrew Woodvine

      Spoofing is still possible

      I've just called into my voicemail (not from my mobile), spoofing the CLI, and got straight in, so this still hasn't been rectified by all mobile networks.

      1. Alex Brett

        Name and shame?

        That's a bit worrying - care to name and shame the operator so people know who to avoid?

  44. John Styles

    What I don't understand

    (not that this in any way execuses the NotW but it leapt to mind and this seemed a good place to ask).

    What I don't understand is, surely if someone disappears (and if they are one of the few people who disappears that the police / media etc. decide to give a toss about - a big caveat obviously),

    why didn't the phone network (a) put some sort of 'don't delete these messages' flag on the system and (b) put on some sort of 'tell me where the phone is and/or tell me where the voice mail is being accessed from' tag on and/or do the lookup?

    Both of these would seem to me to be (i) possible and (ii) desirable given the circumstances.

    (You all do realise that 'number withheld' doesn't mean 'withheld from the network'? And that this 'we need 5 minutes to trace the call' is done for dramatic affect? Of course you do)

  45. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Was anyone else thinking

    "Heinous & despicable"

    Sounds like a firm of lawyers?

    BTW It's not the *last* administration that has hoped this one was going to be buried.

    Look up Cameron's recent media advisors.

    My names not Ron, but my coats on and I am gone.

  46. Domster

    Accessory to murder....

    Levi Bellfield the convicted murderer of Milly Dowler lived a few hundred feet from where she was last seen and was seen driving a car a half hour after she was last seen. His behaviour in the days after the abduction was highly unusual and was one of the reasons he was convicted. The police didn't interview him at the time even though they knocked on his door 17 times. Why did they give up the house to house interviews, why weren't they more thorough. I am wondering that some police officers thought that Milly had run away because of some family problems and the deleted voice mails confirmed their unfounded suspicions that she was still alive. So they gave up looking for a local killer. Her dad was a suspect for while. With the heat off Bellfield he was free to kill twice more. A public enquiry is essential to determine what influence the voice mail hacking had on the police enquiry and whether Bellfield could have been caught earlier. In anycase NOTW has blood on its hands.

  47. nsld

    The Editor didnt know?

    And in other news, bears not shitting in woods, Pope now muslim etc etc

    The Editor knows the stories and knows the sources as does the legal department in any newspaper, especially during something as potentially legally sensitive as a missing child case.

    The only way to hit them is in the wallet and that should come from a boycott of all shops which stock the NoTW, the Sun and anything Murdoch related.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Public Enquiry, Ford and Rebekah Brooks

    The fact that the police new about this outrage and did nothing is proof if more were needed that they're incapable of upholding justice and therefore we desperately need a full public enquiry into the tappings and the police failures to investigate.

    Also Ford has announced that they are removing all advertising from NotW.

    I hope this is the beginning of the end for this disgraceful rag.

    Astonishingly Rebekah Brooks has had the nerve contacted Milly Dowlers family to apologise; anyone would think she didn't know what was going on right under her nose.

    This vile woman obviously has no shame.

    1. peter 45

      Didn't know/

      I think it is very likely she did not know...

      as in "I don't care how you get the story, in fact don't tell me how 'cos if you ever get caught I want to disclaim all responsibility. Just get me the story and you wll get paid a shed load.

      Its called plausable deniability, and she probably uses it to justify to herself that she has morals.

  49. Steve Smith 5


    I wouldn't use a copy of the NOTW or The Sun to house train a puppy. Quite frankly I'd ask for clarification from a more trusted source if I read the date on the front of these rags.

  50. Paul
    Black Helicopters

    the problem is the people who buy the newspapers

    demand feeds supply. if the demand is sufficient, and the price willing to be paid high enough, someone will fulfil it, whether it be drugs, sex, dubious entertainment etc.

    the race to the bottom has been very successful for newspapers.

    people read these junk news "comics", and so create a market. if the people demanded and only paid for quality journalism, these "hack rags" would die a well deserved death.

    unfortunately, educating people to stop caring and paying celebutard news sources is not trivial and may be impossible.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      The Murdoch empire ...

      ... has been spectacularly involved in the dumbing down of Britain. Even worse, it is now the main driver in scumming it up.

      Nothing will happen, the takeover of BSkyB will be nodded through and The Sun/NotW will continue to be a cultural driver for a third of the population.

  51. Jean-Luc

    Awww, just shut it.

    Preferably for good, but a few weeks would do in a pinch.

    Best way to keep these companies on the right side of the law is to hit their wallets. Their future CEOs will have a vested interest in not getting caught with their pants down/skirts up.

    Forget the bit about crap journalism and pointless celebrity twatter. I wouldn't want my government to censor publications based on whether it thinks a given publication is "worthy".

    However, the government should make egregious lawbreaking, which happened here, painful even after the massive potential profits have been taken into account. A small fine won't do, a shutdown will.

    Paris, cuz she'll miss somebody caring about her.

  52. rpjs

    Dennis Potter was right.

    That is all.

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    "Nothing will happen,..."

    You might be right.

    Then again, judging by the rapidly growing list of advertisers de-committing to advertising in the NotW, you might be wrong.

    A boycott of companies that do advertise in this weekend's NotW seems like a fine idea, especially as it allows those who already don't do business with Murdoch to contribute to the campaign.

    I don't read the NotW, anyone know who the main regular advertisers are, so I can tell them they'll be losing my business if they advertise there again?

    Boycott Murdoch advertisers. You know it makes sesne.

    1. Dave Harris

      If you use twitter..

      you might want to try this site:

  54. Anonymous Coward

    Doesn't matter if she didn't know or if she did

    Like all people at that level, she gets paid to be responsible. When things go well, she gets paid very well indeed, because "she made it happen".

    And when things go very very wrong, as they clearly did, she should carry the can whether she directly knew or not, because it happened on her watch.

    Off with her head.

  55. Andus McCoatover

    Hacking this dead girl's voicemail

    This is the most disgusting case I've ever heard about. When I first read about it in the Telegraph, I went outside to vomit. Seriously.

    If anger can be measured on a scale e.g. some bloke's screwing your wife when you come home = 5, then mine when I read this was about 30. I was shaking.

    What I don't understand is how they could hack the mobile? A5.1 algorithm's strong, (GSM days) so they must've needed inside help from the mobile operators.

    I think the investigation is not yet complete.

  56. Anonymous Coward

    "What I don't understand is how they could hack the mobile?"

    They haven't hacked the mobile as such, all they've done is access the voicemail service (eg by CLI spoofing, or using the mailbox PIN).

    NB for the avoidance of doubt I am in no way trying to lessen the seriousness of what they did, which is inexcusable, and should ideally lead to the collapse of the Millionaire's Cabinet (amongst others).

    re advertiser boycott

    Sorry, I don't use twitter. Not yet anyway. Elsewhere someone has kindly posted a list of email addresses of chief execs of frequent Murdoch advertisers (ideally this would include Sky and not just NI). Can't remember where though.

  57. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Brooks scared off the relevant Commons Committee the last time they wanted to talk to her.

    No doubt she'll be opening up her files of "unpursued" stories to see what interesting little tidbits she has to discourage them this time round.

    This is how "Business" is done at the court of King Rupert.

    Don't expect any change in SOP even if she left tomorrow.

  58. Ian Johnston Silver badge

    Stuff the Tories...

    ... I want to know why Labour were so desperate to suppress all this during their final years in the bunker. What did the NotW hear which Labour highup saying to whom?

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    "Commons Committee "

    Speaking of Commons Committees (and thank you for pointing out that Wade/Brooks has more "background" info than the whips have, always handy when you're in a tight corner), the Home Affairs Select Committee meets next Tuesday to continue its investigations into phone hacking at the NotW.

    Those scheduled to appear include the officer who was in charge of the 2006 investigation and the officer in charge of the current investigation. Might be interesting if they're in the room at the same time (assuming it goes ahead as advertised).

    Andy Hayman and Sue Akers respectively, for anyone interested.

    Thanks in this instance to

    But ultimately it's still The Guardian we need to thank for being persistent where others took the easy way out.

  60. andy gibson

    Follow up to "a fine won't work"

    I've had a better idea:

    The public should be allowed to take over the paper and print as much muck and dirt about the usual staff as they can:


  61. Anonymous Coward

    Murdoch in 'doing something evil' shocker

    More at 11.

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