Doormat-ologist needed

Roger Hayter roger at
Wed Sep 8 08:29:12 BST 2010

In message <4C872C4A.3030805 at>, Peter Sommer 
<peter at> writes
>On 08/09/2010 04:38, Peter Fairbrother wrote:
>> Caspar Bowden (travelling private e-mail) wrote:
>>> Doormat-ologists' opinion please of:
>>> erception .Addressing the home affairs select committee today John
>>> Yates, the assistant Metropolitan police commissioner, repeated
>>> earlier claims by police that cases of hacking into voicemails could
>>> only be prosecuted if the victim had not yet listened to their
>>> messages.
>The offence that would work in these circumstances is s1 Computer 
>Misuse Act 1990:  "unauthorised access to a computer".
>Here is the CPS guidance:
>The CMA does not provide a definition of a computer; this is because it 
>was feared that any definition would soon become out of date due to the 
>rapid with which technology develops. Definition is therefore left to 
>the Courts who are expected to adopt the contemporary meaning
>of the word. In DPP v McKeown, DPP v Jones ([1997] 2Cr App R, 155, HL 
>at page 163) Lord Hoffman defined a computer as “a device for 
>storing, processing and retrieving information”.
>In this instance the "computer" is, if it is a cellphone facility that 
>is being breached,  the machine maintained by the cellphone company for 
>that purpose, or, if it is the victim's own home answerphone attached 
>to his/her landline, that machine.
Though it would not be the cheapest implementation nowadays, it is 
entirely possible to make an answerphone which has no computer-like 
features, just a few relays, an analogue signal detector and a tape 


Roger Hayter

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