UK Liberty

Henry Porter on Mosley and privacy

Posted in database state, privacy, surveillance society by ukliberty on July 28, 2008

In the Observer:

Max Mosley’s victory in the High Court should be celebrated because it exposed the hypocrisy of the News of the World: its mean and suicidal decision to reduce payment to the call girl and main witness, Woman E, by more than half; the pomposity of editor Colin Myler, who insisted that he was motivated by public interest; and the blackmail, unreliability and inconsistencies of its reporter, Neville Thurlbeck.

Since the judgment, there has been much hand-wringing about the freedom of the press. Most of it is self-serving. The damage to the press has not been done by Mosley, or the law, but by the practices of the News of the World. The public-interest defence still remains, but because of the Mosley case, newspapers are now going to have to justify such exposés under the chilly gaze of Mr Justice Eady and the accumulation of privacy law.

That’s no bad thing, but my joy at the vanquishing of the News of the World is tempered by the knowledge that while our society haphazardly builds the law to protect privacy in this one limited sphere, we are busily destroying it in almost every other area. …

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