News channel claims 'public interest' defense
U.K. news channel Sky News, which is run by News Corp.’s paybox BSkyB, admitted Thursday that it had hacked the emails of members of the public on two occasions but insisted that its actions were “in the public interest.”
Sky News said it had intercepted the emails of John Darwin, who faked his own death as part of an insurance fraud, and his wife, Anne, as well as hacking into the email accounts of a suspected pedophile and his wife.
Sky News said while one of its senior execs authorized Gerard Tubb, the channel’s Northern England correspondent, to hack into emails belonging to the Darwins, the move was in the public’s interest and reflected “responsible journalism.”
In Blighty, hacking emails is an offense under the Computer Misuse Act. There is no public interest defense written in the law.