In US, News Corp may truly be held to account
James Cusick is political correspondent of The Independent and The Independent on Sunday. As an experienced member of the lobby, he has previously worked at The Sunday Times and the BBC. His career as a journalist has been split between print and television, including senior positions as producer with Sir David Frost and at BBC Newsnight. He is also an award-winning golf and travel writer, working for over a decade as the UK contributing editor for one of the USA’s leading golf magazines. He broadcasts regularly for the BBC and CNN. He lives in London.
Tuesday 18 June 2013
The former US Secretary of State, and potential presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, said that, whether it’s law, finance, medicine, academia or running a small business, “people rely on confidential communications to do their job”.
She said the United States counted on the trust that “confidentiality provides” and that if someone breached that trust “we are all the worse for it”.
As the US is gripped by current revelations over data surveillance, it’s fair to say that a half dozen allegations of phone hacking that might have been known about at the highest levels of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp look pretty small fry in comparison.
But while there might be outrage over the National Security Agency’s intrusion, there will equally be strong legal anger that foreign newspapers may have trampled over the confidentiality that Clinton and others value.
Finding out exactly what the NSA was up to might be a tough one. Discovering what Murdoch-owned newspapers were doing on US soil might be easier – and it could come with a high price for the media magnate.
The complaints against News Corp were filed in California under laws governing the violation of stored communications, wiretaps and intrusions into private affairs. But beyond Californian common law lie larger US federal laws.
If the US follows the same pattern of hacking-related offences as has occurred in Britain, the force of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act may yet be felt by News Corp. Hundreds of companies have fallen foul of this law, with tens of millions of dollars paid out in fines. And US courts seem far more comfortable than their UK counterparts when it comes to sending senior executives to jail if found guilty.
Eunice Huthart’s complaint should therefore perhaps be seen as the opening salvo of a wider battle to bring News Corp to account in Rupert Murdoch’s own backyard.
- 1 Fifty Shades of Grey movie trailer released: First look at Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey
- 2 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 3 50 books for students to read this summer: From Ernest Hemingway to Gillian Flynn
- 4 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
Israel-Gaza conflict: Israeli targeting policy under scrutiny after shellfire hits a mother and child, a school full of refugees and a doctor’s home
Peaches Geldof cause of death: Socialite had taken fatal dose of heroin after years of addiction, inquest concludes
Peaches Geldof: Her final day – and her fatal decision
Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
Iraq crisis: Isis orders Mosul shop keepers to cover mannequins
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
£30000 - £38500 Per Annum + 25 days holiday, pension, subsidised restaurant: C...
£34000 - £37000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...
£40000 - £45000 per annum + Pension, Holiday, Flexi-time: Progressive Recruitm...
£280 - £320 per day: Progressive Recruitment: C#, WinForms, Desktop Developmen...