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Rupert Murdoch Tabloid's Celebrity Phone Hack History Uncovered

prince william and prince harryIn 2006, a U.K. investigation revealed that employees at Rupert Murdoch's 'News of the World' tabloid had successfully hacked into the cell phones of three aides to the royal family. A few months later, Scotland Yard discovered that reporter Clive Goodman and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire had also gained access to the cell phones and voicemails of several celebrities, government officials and professional athletes -- all in the hopes of snagging a juicy headline for their gossip section. Only now, however, are all the gory details of the operation finally coming to the surface.

A recent report from the New York Times Magazine finds that cell phone hacking at 'News of the World' wasn't just widespread -- it was actually encouraged. Several reporters interviewed for the story claim that their superiors were often extremely demanding, and, on occasion, a bit harsh. One reporter, for example, was forced to spend 24 hours inside a plastic box to imitate David Blaine. And, of course, hacking celebrity cell phones was standard operating procedure.

David Coulson, the editor running the newsroom, insists that he knew nothing about the allegedly systemized practice, although several reports strongly contradict his claims. As one former employee said, cell phone hacking was so pervasive that even "the office cat knew." According to former reporter Sharon Marshall, though, it wasn't just 'News of the World' that openly engaged in such espionage. "It was an industrywide thing," Marshall explains. "Talk to any tabloid journalist in the United Kingdom, and they can tell you each phone company's four-digit codes. Every hack on every newspaper knew this was done."

Originally, British authorities only concerned themselves with hacking cases involving members of the Royal Family (including Princes William and Harry), and successfully obtained short term jail sentences for both Goodman and Mulcaire. Now, however, hundreds of others have discovered that their phones were also targeted, and have begun filing major lawsuits. Yet Murdoch and his crew, by all indications, seem unfazed by the looming threat. In their minds, maybe headlines really do matter more than their integrity.

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