Hard News by Russell Brown


Turning the page

We can now officially give up on the always-far-fetched-idea that the emails at the heart of The Hollow Men were snatched from the Parliamentary email system by some master hacker.

The police have closed the investigation and declared what should have been obvious to anyone who read the book: the emails were obtained over a period of time, and probably in printed form. They have "eliminated the suggestion that an external 'computer hacker' had breached the computer security within Parliament."

It's slightly ominous that Detective Inspector Harry Quinn (what a great pulp fiction name for a cop!) talks in terms of theft and about fixing "loopholes" in computer crimes law.

The distinction between theft, leaking and whistleblowing is a fuzzy one, and journalists should be a little worried about the prospect of the powerful being handed a tool to shut down stories they don't want aired.

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