Ubuntu, as well as being a very good operating system translates roughly from the South African root (not sure which language, sorry) in to English as “pleasure derived from the good fortune of others”. Its direct counterpart is found in German, namely Schadenfreude; “the pleasure derived from the bad fortune of others”.
For the last two weeks, its been a guilty pleasure working its way through the UK after the shock and anger has subsided. All of this has been aimed squarely at Rupert Murdoch.
I’m actually writing about this due to asking about the Loose Bloggers Consortium (LBC) that Grannymar writes with. That and I need a deadline to work with. This week’s topic, nominated by Anu is “Guilty Pleasures”.
If you have been living in a cave (or in a compound using only dead letter drops containing USB disks for news updates) for the last few years you would have missed the power of Rupert Murdoch and News International. This man owns media properties throughout the world (and a few satellites above it) most famously a stable of newspapers in the UK and Fox News in the US. The man has had power, power to undermine and control the thrones of power in very high places. Prime Ministers, arguably Presidents, but certainly congressmen and Senators and, if the allegations are true, police were under his sway. And now he is falling from grace because of a child called Milly.
Allegations that Milly Dowler’s phone had been hacked set off a chain of events which have brought Rupert Murdoch’s media empire to its knees, or at least crouching a lot. Today, he tried to stop the rot and anger by telling the Dowler family and all the other victims of phone hacking that he was deeply sorry.
He is currently facing investigations in the UK, and the allegations of possible hacking of the telephones of 9/11 victims and their families have sparked FBI and Senate investigations in the US. Its conceivable that News International, now a US based company, may either be broken up, or will be forced to shed all the Murdoch family members at its heart.
It turns out that hacking a mobile phone, in Ireland at least, is actually pathetically easy. You have to know your victims phone number, say 081-1234567. If you dial 081-5-1234567 you go directly to their voicemail, and can attempt a remote login. Depending on the network the default password is 0000 or 1234. Given that most people dial in to their voicemail account from their registered phone, few people realise that there is a password to be changed and that they can access it from any handset. And if you can get hold of their phone, you can change the password in 20 seconds. Thanks to Brian Greene for the research (and he will never get to borrow my phone).
When someone generally disliked falls, you tend to find a few gleeful at the drop in power. Its a guilty pleasure.
But of course its not my guilty pleasure. Mine is the Transformers toys. I like the way they give you the impression of being one thing, guiding you one way, then uncovering that its something else. Or maybe slight of hand is my pleasure? Maybe. But its not as interesting as the still ongoing news story.
To find out that the others in the consortium think, check out, in alphabetical order: AKANKSHA (Anki), ANU, ASHOK, CONRAD, DELIRIOUS, GAELIKAA, GRANNYMAR, MAGPIE 11, MARIA, PADMUM and the GOM of LBC, RAMANA SIR.