Tuesday, February 12, 2013
No limits after Bush emails hacked?
By the old rules of journalism, George W. Bush's private emails to his family might never have been published or broadcast - certainly not without his permission. Most news organisations would have thought twice about publishing personal messages that were, in essence, stolen goods.
But that was then. The former US president's private communications and photos sent to family members went far and wide over the internet on Friday after they were published by a website.
The Smoking Gun, an American website that specialises in unearthing material about criminal and legal matters, disclosed the Bush family's personal correspondence in a story based on material it said it received from a hacker identified only as "Guccifer". A predictable and near-instant tidal wave ensued, with the story and variations on it being linked, tweeted and otherwise disseminated quickly.
It raises the question, are there any standards left with regard to what can be published?
What an outcry there would be if Obama's private emails were published!
GWB would have a pretty good case if he sued under U.S. privacy law but he probably won't.