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Hacking the Royal Male: the Computer Misuse Act

Posted by on March 26, 2015.

If you read my article back in January 2015 on the death of journalist Steve Gold – Steve Gold: a Journalist and a Gentleman – you won’t be surprised to hear that I had a high opinion of him. In that article, I wrote:

He first became mildly notorious through his involvement in the ‘hacking’ of the Duke of Edinburgh’s mailbox in the 1980s. The conviction of Steve and of Robert Schifreen under the misapplied Forgery and Counterfeiting Act was subsequently put aside, but the affair had considerable influence on the implementation of the Computer Misuse Act (not to mention improvements in Prestel security). I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone in the security industry who seemed to think of it as a blot on Steve’s personal escutcheon, though.

I’m sure he’ll be remembered for much more than his interest in the Royal Male (I’m sure Steve would have appreciated that pun) – and what a storm in a teacup it all seems in the light of more recent journalistic hacking – you may find John Leyden’s article on the Prestel hack case of interest for a more comprehensive account of what happened:

How a hack on Prince Phillip’s Prestel account led to UK computer law

David Harley
Small Blue-Green World


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