Hack Attack: How the Truth Caught Up with Rupert Murdoch, by Nick Davies (Chatto & Windus, RRP $40):
While the 2011 News International phone-hacking scandal might not have been the huge news here that it was in the northern hemisphere, there’s no doubting the fact that what happened has had a global impact.
The arrest of a private investigator and a News of the World journalist back in 2006 for what – at first glance – seemed to be a relatively minor crime opened the door on what was to become one of the biggest dramas to rock the newspaper industry.
Of course, that relatively minor crime of accessing other people’s voicemail messages ended up actually being the appalling act of hacking the phones of the families of murder victims, politicians, celebrities and even members of the royal family to manipulate the news.
And now the man who broke that story can tell us the his story. For six years, award-winning investigative journalist Nick Davies worked away at uncovering the corruption that was behind the story, revealing that what started off as a simple crime story was really a story about the secret world of the elite and their alliances, and how Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World made him a fortune invading the privacy and ruining the lives of others.
This was an incredibly complex and almost unbelievable story but Nick Davies has managed to break it down into an easy-to-follow saga that exposes an abuse of power that is absolutely staggering.
As technology continues to become more involved in our day-to-day lives, it is becoming more and more difficult to keep control of our privacy but I’m pleased to see that in the past couple of years, people have become more aware, and more wary, about protecting themselves online.
While there is still far too much leeway for the unscrupulous and unsavory to mine our information, one of the few good things to come about from cases such as Murdoch’s appalling breach is that people are better informed on the issue.
Unfortunately, the public at large still have a seemingly insatiable appetite for every tiny detail on the lives of the people making the headlines, and so long as we as readers continue to support the publications that invade the privacy of celebrities, crime victims, the rich and famous, and the infamous, those publications will continue to push the boundaries.