The furore over blue-chip hacking is no distraction

It’s not a case of either/or

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The Independent Online

Need it really be said that the exposure of the blue-chip hacking scandal is to be welcomed and that all possible routes to further revelations should be assiduously pursued? Rather surprisingly, it would appear that it does.

Amid the furore over the Serious Organised Crime Agency’s refusal to release the names of more than 100 large businesses known to have hired corrupt investigators involved in stealing private information, there are suggestions that newspapers might be using the commotion to distract from the same, well-established transgressions in our own industry. Some even whisper that corporate hacking should be kept out of the public eye until the ballyhoo over the journalistic version – with its trials, multi-phase public inquiry and rows over a new system of regulation – has concluded (whenever that might be). What nonsense.

There is no either/or. Evidence of corporate wrongdoing, particularly relating to the shadowy world of private investigators, is of overwhelming public interest. That some journalists were up to similar tricks is neither here nor there. Why should it be? Hacking is no less of a crime, even if everyone is doing it.