What Murdoch’s stormtrooper thugs did knows no immediate parallel here in our great country. To call it by the quaint euphemism hacking demeans the severity of the violation and misrepresents the level of its perfidy. Hacking is like no other theft. Prototypical theft involves and assumes a property issue. Hacking for purposes of this discussion involves the breaking and entering and trespassorial accessing of one’s data — phone numbers, emails, love notes, private pictures, email. Nothing is “stolen” per se in most hacking save for the case of identity theft. In the case of Milly Dowler, the 13 year-old UK murder victim whose voice mail messages were deleted by Murdoch’s goons, what was stolen were he parent’s hopes and prayers that Milly might still be alive.
As is usually the case, politicians run to name yet another law after a victim, usually a child. If I may, I’d like to propose an eponymous law: Charlie’s Law in memory of that great American patriot, Staff Sergeant Charley Hacker. (N.B. The discrepancy in the spellings. Do not mistake that for editorial errata.)