Prince Harry wins phone hacking case in landmark victory against British tabloid misconduct

FILE PHOTO: Britain’s Prince Harry walks outside the High Court, in London LONDON (AP) — Prince Harry’s victory against Mirror Group Newspapers on Friday over what a British judge called “habitual” illegal activity is a landmark moment in the long and twisting saga of lawbreaking by Britain’s tabloid press. Judge Timothy Fancourt ruled that Mirror newspapers had hired private investigators to snoop for personal information and engaged in illegal phone hacking for well over a decade. WATCH NOW: How TMZ is changing the business of celebrity gossip It’s the latest chapter in a tale of tabloid power and attempts to tame it stretching back years — but it’s unlikely to be the end of the story. WHAT IS PHONE HACKING? In the pre-digital era, Britain’s fiercely competitive tabloid newspapers sold millions of copies a day and would go to great lengths to get scoops, including by using underhanded techniques. One method was phone hacking — calling someone’s number and punching in 0000 or another default PIN number in hope that would give access to their voice messages. Often, it did. Targets included members of the royal family, politicians, athletes, celebrities, friends and family of famous people and ordinary citizens who found themselves caught in the public eye. Fancourt said in his ruling that phone hacking was “habitual” at Mirror newspapers as far back as 1998, and went on until at least 2011. WHEN DID THE PUBLIC FIND OUT ABOUT IT? The first most people knew about phone hacking was when the royal editor of the News of the World and a private investigator for the paper were jailed in 2007 for eavesdropping on messages left by Prince William and others on the phones of royal aides. The paper’s owner, Rupert Murdoch, dismissed the wrongdoing as the work of two […]

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