back to article George Clooney, WikiLeaks' lawyer wife hand out burner phones to wedding guests

George Clooney and his new wife – a human rights lawyer who has represented six-fingered embassy dweller Julian AssangeTM – went to extreme lengths to safeguard the privacy of their wedding, even issuing guests with "burner phones" under their control. Guests at last weekend's nuptials between George Clooney and top lawyer …

  1. Ketlan


    Yawn, sorry...

    1. JeffyPoooh

      " return for a charitable donation."

      Awwww... How generous. Now wait a second...

      Where did the Tax Receipt for the charitable deduction end up?


      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: " return for a charitable donation."

        The magazine would get the tax write-off, not him. He gets PUBLICITY!!!!!!

  2. Crazy Operations Guy

    Oh irony

    Woman who is defending a man who ran a website that thrives on leaking information is trying to have a leak-proof wedding...

    1. Indolent Wretch

      Re: Oh irony

      Or... Lawyer who has represented a client does not necessary have the same views as client.


      1. alwarming

        Re: Oh irony

        > Lawyer who has represented a client does not necessary have the same views as client.


        Also, unless you paint with a very broad brush, they are not the same problems at all.

        One is throwing light on public affairs, the other is preventing unwarranted publicity of private affairs.

        1. Crazy Operations Guy

          Re: Oh irony

          My point wasn't that they share the same views, just that its laughable that she expects information to not get leaked and that she should expect as much from defending Julian.

    2. Fungus Bob

      Re: Oh irony

      "Woman who is defending a man who ran a website that thrives on leaking information is trying to have a leak-proof wedding..."

      Leaky weddings *are* quite messy...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Oh irony

      So if some websites weren't leak proof, nothing can(should) be leak proof even if you benefitted from the aforementioned leaky websites ?

      Or, if a lawyer defends a person who is defending a case when airbags didn't inflate during an accident shouldn't buy a car with airbags.

      Or, more to your point, thieves shouldn't lock their doors ?

  3. Mr C

    sign of the times

    Is it just me that's nostalgic for the old days where we had 1 telephone and it was sitting at home connected to the wall through a cable.

    The only way to share your pictures was to lug a album to the neighbors and show them. A "like" consisted of having a good time over a glass of coffee or beer.

    aaaagh those were the times

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: sign of the times

      Put down your spam fritters, and get with the program Daddio!

      Now we've got telephones so small they can actually fit in a satchel. We've got modern fabrics that allow the production of flourescent socks. And we've got this amazing new storage format that allows you to record tons of music and text, or up to 2 hours of video. It's called laser disc...

      1. breakfast Silver badge

        Re: sign of the times

        I predict a time will come, not so very far in the future, when men and women can purchase clothing that changes colour according to the wearer's body temperature.

        1. ratfox

          Re: sign of the times

          Here you go

        2. launcap Silver badge

          Re: sign of the times

          > purchase clothing that changes colour according to the wearer's body temperature

          Already done - I had a t-shirt in the mid-80's that did exactly that.

          1. joeW

            Re: sign of the times

            I believe that may, in fact, have been the joke.

    2. Trigonoceps occipitalis Silver badge

      Re: sign of the times

      You have never had to sit through 556 x 35mm colour slides of interesting cattle on the lower slopes of the Alps where a friend of your parents went on holiday.

      "nostalgic" - cruel and unusual more like.

  4. Anomalous Cowshed

    Excuse me, but...

    What's a burner phone?

    And how sad and contrived all this sounds!

    1. Lionel Baden

      Re: Excuse me, but...

      technically its not a burner phone at all, What they handed out were secured devices.

      Burner phones though are purchased with no backtrace to the owner (cash) and are used generally for an illicit act, and then dumped immediatley after.

      1. Psyx

        Re: Excuse me, but...

        "Burner phones though are purchased with no backtrace to the owner (cash)"

        Except: Try buying a SIM card or phone from somewhere that doesn't have CCTV. Most burners can be traced worryingly easily.

        1. JeffyPoooh

          Re: Excuse me, but...

          "Most burners can be traced worryingly easily."

          So they beam down the Expendable Criminal in the red shirt to buy a box full and bring them back to their underground lair.

        2. beanbasher

          Re: Excuse me, but...

          I live near a university full of students in need of some cash. Send them in to buy a phone while you wait around the corner.

      2. Barry Rueger
        Paris Hilton

        Re: Excuse me, but...

        Burner phones though are purchased with no backtrace to the owner (cash) and are used generally for an illicit act, and then dumped immediately after.

        Damn. I had visions of Clooney lining up at Wal-Mart with arm full of cheap Android devices.

    2. The Jon

      Re: Excuse me, but...

      Is it just me that has a mental image of Don Cheadle distributing the phones to arriving guests, but giving instructions for their use in an appalling and unnecessary cock-er-ney accent?

    3. Simon Harris

      Re: Excuse me, but...

      and there was me thinking it was a phone with a dodgy battery!

    4. alwarming

      Re: Excuse me, but...

      > What's a burner phone?


      But slightly different in meaning from "burn notice" as here it is the phone that is "burnt"...

  5. Dr Who

    How romantic

    I bet they make each other produce a current STD test certificate before they feel able to undertake their act of enclosive sexual intercourse.

    1. Lionel Baden

      Re: How romantic

      Life's not a movie man,

      One of them knows that for sure. Hope you do to.

  6. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. dotdavid

    Burner phones?

    That's nothing. Many celebrities have entire burner weddings!

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Burner phones?

      That could be the ultimate way to secure the exclusive rights to your 'special' day and maximise profit from Hello!* magazine. Set up an entire fake wedding, with fake guests and a fake bride. Go off and do that, and let the tabloids get all the snaps they want. Plus you can then invite all the horrible celebrity hangers-on to that one.

      Meanwhile you sneak off for the real wedding the next day, with only the guests you want, to someone completely different. Then sell the rights and exclusive to that for a fortune. Obviously you have to cross your fingers behind your back when making the vows for the first wedding.

      As an alternative you could send look-a-likes to the first wedding of the couple and whatever celeb guests you actually want at the real one. Then you don't have the unfortunate risk of accidental bigamy. This distracts the tabloids and the hangers-on nicely. They're all too dim to notice the fakes. Just tell them there's an exclusive new brand of fake-tan and fake-breasts that the guests have to use as their invites - they'll never spot it...

      *Eureka! I've just realised who Yahoo! should merge with. Hello! They could call themselves Halloo!...

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge

        Re: Burner phones?

        Meanwhile you sneak off for the real wedding the next day,


    2. perlcat

      Re: "burner weddings"?

      With a duration measured in 'kardashians', no doubt.

  8. James 51

    Wouldn't handing out cameras have achieved much the same effect? Unless the couple were using the phones to corral guests e.g. mass text Dinner is being served

  9. i like crisps



  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just to be absolutely, totally clear here.....

    They make an absolute spectacle of themselves, on the canals and streets of one of the world's top tourist attractions, but what they really want is privacy?

    1. Hans 1

      Re: Just to be absolutely, totally clear here.....

      They do not really have a choice given the army of photographers that follow them everywhere ... so they could just try to escape, however, we all know that is futile.

      Remember HRH Princess Diana crying in the street, because they would not leave her alone ... eventually killed her, they did ...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Just to be absolutely, totally clear here.....

        The same Diana that courted them and complained if they didn't do a 7 page spread of her new dress

        1. Not That Andrew

          Re: Just to be absolutely, totally clear here.....

          Noo, she died in the street because Fayed's driver was as pissed as a newt.

          1. DocJames

            Re: Just to be absolutely, totally clear here.....

            No, she died in the street because Fayed's driver was as pissed as a newt and she didn't bother to wear her seatbelt.

            One thing to learn from Princess Di: wear your seatbelt.

    2. Chairo

      Re: Just to be absolutely, totally clear here.....

      ... what they really want is privacy?

      No, they already sold away their privacy to a tabloid which wants to make sure the rights stay exclusive. I wouldn't be too surprised if all these security measures are part of the contract.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What about the guests' privacy?

    So 'burner' phones handed out and guests prevented from using their own? And the private numbers they dialled now belong to American Vogue? Were the calls auto-recorded by pre-installed apps as well?

    A much simpler solution to their privacy concerns would have been to reduce the guest list to genuine friends and close family.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: What about the guests' privacy?

      A celeb with real friends? Is that likely?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What about the guests' privacy?

        Quote: A celeb with real friends. This one is really normal for a seleb. He actually goes to the local gym in the places where he films (with or without Matt Damon who is also relatively normal) to shoot some hoops without sending 20 goons to clear the place first. We nearly ended up playing against them about a couple of years back at the village hall where I live (we would have if we did not move the venue for our usual Sunday bball meet that week).

    2. Psyx

      Re: What about the guests' privacy?

      Why are you being critical of the people hounded and hacked by the press, rather than the press itself?

      I don't blame them for taking reasonable measures against an unreasonable press corps.

  12. TRT Silver badge

    Well they said...

    it was an exclusive event. I guess they were referring to the media deal.

  13. Amorous Cowherder

    Security? Codswallop!

    "because the couple are said to have sold the rights to the wedding photographs to a magazine"

    That's all this stuff ever is! Granted in this case there was some charity donation thing too but most of the time it's all about recouping the cost of your $750,000 wedding event through sales of the images. Celeb weddings aren't weddings like we plebs have, they're more like the political weddings of the middle ages royalty, all about prestige.

  14. Dan Paul

    Celebrity "Private" Wedding

    These days celebs consider themselves lucky when they don't have a virtual "airforce" of paparazzi helicopters flying overhead on their wedding day. (or any other day). "Privacy" is tough to come by.

    In this day and age, buzzing drones with cameras aren't out of the question either. By control over the attendees phones and the attendees themselves, the couple removed the possibility of people leaking the location and the taking of unauthorized photos. They worked out a deal for American Vogue to take the photos in exchange for a charitable donation. The value of the donation would be diluted if the pictures were leaked.

    The mere fact that their huge wedding went off as planned and with no leaks is actually impressive.

    There are some governments that could learn from them.

    The phones probably were setup so the cameras could not work and other features (gps) were likely disabled. If you ask me, thats a lot of forethought and use of technology.

    1. John Sager

      Re: Celebrity "Private" Wedding

      It's probably not too hard to do with enough forward planning, and some decent tech support. I wonder how much Clooney paid for what seems to have been a decent security wrap.

  15. Zog_but_not_the_first

    Faraday cage...

    ...disguised as a flower-bedecked pergola?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Assange does not have six fingers

    Five minutes on Google image search allow you to see many pictures of both his five-fingered hands, including the one that was photoshopped into the one in the link.

    Sorry if I'm just missing an elaborate joke.

  17. Stevie


    All the negatards here would be first to jump all over any story that pictures had been leaked with "helpful" after-the-fact advice like "they should have secured their environment".

    Azathoth on a bike, give the man a break. He did what the security "experts" here always tell people they should have done - got a clue and put some serious dosh behind a serious attempt to secure the digital environment surrounding his wedding.

    As for where he chooses to sell his pictures of the event, that is his affair and not that of some nosy twat with a ridiculously long focal length lens or a team of haxxors on the payroll.

  18. SimonL


    Is it just me trying to figure out why anyone would need phones at a wedding that can't communicate with the outside world?

    For pictures/video then point'n'shoot handed out and collected at the end would be easy and very secure.

    Or maybe weddings have now become pop concerts where the guests are simply there to sit and poke meaninglessly at a 4" screen and not socialise or participate in the proceedings?

  19. chipper_16

    Or they could have had all the phones on EE - no chance of anything happening then. :-)

  20. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Celebrities are celebrities for a reason.

    Ok.. so us "normal" folk, if we wanted a private wedding, would go out of town and have a quiet wedding at place that handles them. Certain celeb types have done the "quiet" type. Then there's those that make noise about "private", invite several hundred people, spend an ungodly fortune... and don't want the press to run amok or know about it.

    If they wanted privacy, they should have followed us "normal" folks and those few celebs who have done the quiet thing. Anything else is pure publicity and hype. Which to most celebs is what it's all about... no such thing as bad press, etc.

  21. FrankAlphaXII

    I'm sorry but the whole thing sounds like control freakery of the highest order for the sake of money.

    I'll quote Chaucer here: "Therfor my theme is yet, and ever was—'Radix malorum est cupiditas'"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I'll quote Chaucer here

      Upvoted not just for Chaucer reference but its complete relevance.

  22. Bucky 2

    How romantic!

    I can just see him down on one knee:

    "Darling, will you marry me in a ceremony auctioned off to the highest bidder for publicity?"

    "Oh, dearest! Selling my wedding to the press has been my dream since I was a child! You've made me the happiest woman in the world!"

  23. I Like Heckling Silver badge

    Irony indeed

    "Day 4: 'News'-papers STILL rammed with Clooney nuptials"

    Oooh the irony... Could easily have been

    "3yrs later - Register still spouting on about Steve Jobs"

  24. Dave Bell

    Movie Executive marries Barrister

    OK, so he acts, and pretty well, but look up George Clooney's career. He's a lot more than a pretty face.

    You have a movie producer/director who can organise a complex situation, and you have a barrister who can keep a secret. This isn't just the celebrity business: they're advertising their business competence.

    Good look to them.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    so for Clooney, words mean opposite?

    "freedom" means "absolute control" and "privacy" means "pay attention to me and pay me $millions every time I open my mouth, but don't you dare pay attention to me when I cannot profit from it!"

  26. MachDiamond Silver badge

    No cameras

    It might have been easier to just inform guests that a condition of attending the ceremony and reception is that they leave their phones at home (hotel, car, somewhere else). Maybe even provide lock boxes so guests could go to a room, retrieve their phone and check messages. In turn, the Clooney's could allow guests to download photos or receive a certain number of prints from a service at a later date that were taken by the photographer(s) hired to take pictures of the event. Cell phone pictures suck and they are even worse if taken from 50ft away. Just enjoy the event and get a few photos later of much higher quality.

    Even though I am a photographer, I don't take my camera to weddings I get invited to. It's too much work and I can get all the photos I want later. I never shoot friend's weddings.

  27. 麦美禄


  28. DougW

    Burner phone

    Isn't that what Apple had a with the 5c and a few others?

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