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BBC Uses Skype Links In Murder Hunt 193

Posted by kdawson
from the free-and-anonymous dept.
Nico M writes "The highly publicized UK murder hunt for the serial killer(s) of five young sex workers in Suffolk is using Skype to ask the public for information. BBC News is embedding freephone Skype links to both the police incident room and Crimestoppers UK. Is this the first time Skype has been used in this way?"
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BBC Uses Skype Links In Murder Hunt

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  • Sex workers? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dan East (318230) on Sunday December 17, 2006 @11:21PM (#17282736) Homepage Journal
    Sex worker, is that the PC term for prostitute?

    Dan East
    • Why yes... (Score:3, Informative)

      by Frosty Piss (770223)
      Why yes it is. Becoming more and more prevalent as a recognition that there are apparently a lot of people that willingly choose that trade. Look in the back of your local "alternative" weekly, and you'll find many many ads for "sex workers" willing to assist in your every kink. And, of course, not all prostitutes are "sex workers". For example the average CEO...
      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 17, 2006 @11:37PM (#17282830)
        "And, of course, not all prostitutes are "sex workers". For example the average CEO..."

        Or the average slashdotter...once they hit daylight that is.
      • Re:Why yes... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by TheRaven64 (641858) on Monday December 18, 2006 @06:54AM (#17284458) Journal

        And, of course, not all prostitutes are "sex workers". For example the average CEO...
        It's always struck me as a strange comment on our society that those who are willing to sell their bodies are regarded as lower than those who are willing to sell their souls.
    • Re:Sex workers? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) * <whineymacfanboy@gmail.com> on Sunday December 17, 2006 @11:43PM (#17282862) Homepage Journal
      Sex worker, is that the PC term for prostitute?

      I am amazed that so few slashdotters (reading the first 10 posts or so) are unfamiliar with that term. (Do you all live under rocks or something?)

      Its basically a superset of prostitute - including people in the industry who don't actually fuck for money, ie strip dancers, porn stars, topless waiters, dominatrixes (sp?) etc.

      Nothing PC about it.
      • by lastninja (237588) on Sunday December 17, 2006 @11:56PM (#17282920)
        including people in the industry who don't actually fuck for money, ie strip dancers, porn stars, topless waiters, dominatrixes (sp?) etc.
        What kind of boring non-fucking porn do you watch?
        • What kind of boring non-fucking porn do you watch?

          Point taken, but there's plenty of solo/etc porn out there - and it was merely an example of non-fucking-for-money.

          [ot your sig]
          John Carmack fan, browsing at +5 since 1999.

          How did you read my comment (rated +3 at time of writing)
        • "What kind of boring non-fucking porn do you watch?"

          Spanking, foot fetish, and Univision.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Marbleless (640965)
        > I am amazed that so few slashdotters (reading the first 10 posts or so) are unfamiliar with that term. (Do you all live under rocks or something?)

        They may not live under rocks, but it would be interesting to know where they do live.

        Here in Australia, 'sex worker' is a fairly common pseudonym for prostitute.

        > Nothing PC about it.

        An ironic comment from someone with a web address of http://whineymacfanboy.googlepages.com/ [googlepages.com] !

        • > Nothing PC about it.

          An ironic comment from someone with a web address of http://whineymacfanboy.googlepages.com/ [googlepages.com]


          I actually think it would've been more appropriate to link to my diary Why is Apple afraid of being PC ;-) [slashdot.org]
        • Re:Sex workers? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by TapeCutter (624760) on Monday December 18, 2006 @12:27AM (#17283064) Journal
          Yep, I will second that. Here in Oz we have something called the sex workers union [google.com]. Personally I think the "deadhookers" tag is extremely bad taste, it is disrespectful toward both the dead and their greiving relatives.
          • Personally I think the "deadhookers" tag is extremely bad taste, it is disrespectful toward both the dead and their greiving relatives.
            Welcome to Slashdot, where the only substantial difference from /b/ is the lack of images.
          • by Duds (100634) *
            Then they can go read a different site.

            I presume you've never made a joke about any kind of military conflict, you never watched M*A*S*H for instance?
            • "Then they can go read a different site."

              I have a thicker skin than that, I would rather argue my point. I wholeheartedly agree that the slashdot editors have the "right to offend", and if they don't want to hear me complain they also agree they have a "right to censor".


              "I presume you've never made a joke about any kind of military conflict, you never watched M*A*S*H for instance?"

              Context and reality are the key concepts here, I watched most of the MASH episodes the first time round in black and wh
          • "Here in Oz we have something called the sex workers union [google.com]"

            Do you really think you should be legitimzing prison rape by forming a union?

      • Re:Sex workers? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by b0s0z0ku (752509) on Monday December 18, 2006 @12:16AM (#17283018)
        I am amazed that so few slashdotters (reading the first 10 posts or so) are unfamiliar with that term. (Do you all live under rocks or something?)

        A lot of Slashdotters are American and the term isn't really used in the USA, probably since prostitution is illegal in most parts of the country (excepting Nevada but not Las Vegas city). So terms that "legitimize" it are less likely to be used.

        -b.

        • Re:Sex workers? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) * <whineymacfanboy@gmail.com> on Monday December 18, 2006 @12:26AM (#17283060) Homepage Journal
          prostitution is illegal in most parts of the country

          Seriously? Illegal? (not just regulated?)

          Why is it illegal to sell a (much in demand) service in the land of the free?
          • Re:Sex workers? (Score:4, Informative)

            by b0s0z0ku (752509) on Monday December 18, 2006 @12:33AM (#17283100)
            Seriously? Illegal? (not just regulated?)

            Yeah, illegal, except for "rural" Nevada. Enforced to various degrees depending on where you are, and there are always loopholes for people setting up brothels ("it's a massage parlor, dammit!"). As to why - probably due to religious taboos to a large extent. After all, the USA *was* founded by Puritans.

            I hate to say it, but better illegal than legal *and* legally recognized by the State as a "normal" profession like in Germany. There was the recent case of an unemployed lady there who was refused continuing unemployment benefits because she didn't take a job as a "sex worker." (Cite: [telegraph.co.uk]http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/ne ws/2005/01/30/wgerm30.xml [telegraph.co.uk] ) I'd be ok if it were legal for the purpose of harm reduction but not overtly encouraged by the State.

            -b.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by notwrong (620413)

              I hate to say it, but better illegal than legal *and* legally recognized by the State as a "normal" profession like in Germany. There was the recent case of an unemployed lady there who was refused continuing unemployment benefits because she didn't take a job as a "sex worker." (Cite: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/ne [telegraph.co.uk] ws/2005/01/30/wgerm30.xml ) I'd be ok if it were legal for the purpose of harm reduction but not overtly encouraged by the State.

              That seems like a much better argument for "legal but voluntary" than "illegal". The police in the US must waste so much time trying to stamp out something that is never, ever going to go away. Here in New South Wales (the most populous state in Australia), prostitution has been legal for decades. It's not like there isn't still a social stigma attached, but I find it hard to see how throwing criminal sanctions into the mix is helpful.

              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by b0s0z0ku (752509)
                That seems like a much better argument for "legal but voluntary" than "illegal". The police in the US must waste so much time trying to stamp out something that is never, ever going to go away.

                Agreed about the "legal but voluntary" part. As far as US police, I don't think that they try *that* hard. They may run an occasional sting operation in some cities to look like they're doing something or if the residents of the neighborhood complain, but the law isn't enforced all that severely.

                -b.

                • Re:Sex workers? (Score:5, Insightful)

                  by MichaelSmith (789609) on Monday December 18, 2006 @02:41AM (#17283600) Homepage Journal
                  Agreed about the "legal but voluntary" part. As far as US police, I don't think that they try *that* hard. They may run an occasional sting operation in some cities to look like they're doing something or if the residents of the neighborhood complain, but the law isn't enforced all that severely.

                  The big advantage of having prostitution legal and recognised as such is that you can require regular checks for STD's, as well as enforce standards for working conditions.

            • by kestasjk (933987) *
              The founding fathers of the USA weren't as religious as the powers that be today.
            • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

              by Anonymous Coward
              That is not what happened.

              http://www.snopes.com/media/notnews/brothel.asp [snopes.com]
            • Re:Sex workers? (Score:5, Informative)

              by 1u3hr (530656) on Monday December 18, 2006 @02:25AM (#17283546)
              I hate to say it, but better illegal than legal *and* legally recognized by the State as a "normal" profession like in Germany. There was the recent case of an unemployed lady there who was refused continuing unemployment benefits

              Note there are no names or dates in that stpory. It's an urban legend. Never happened. http://www.snopes.com/media/notnews/brothel.asp [snopes.com]

              ...a story was sensationalized for political purposes and passed from one news source to the next, and somewhere in the rewriting and translating process what was originally discussed as a mere hypothetical possibility has now been reported as a factual occurrence.
          • by a.d.trick (894813)
            Why is it illegal to sell a (much in demand) service in the land of the free?

            Abestos removal. You can do it yourself, but you can't do it for other people because of the danger involved with comming in contact with that stuff too much. Also prostitution is often something that people get into without understanding the consequences and often there is a lot of coersion involved too.

        • Maybe its more a term used in the cities where sexuality (among other things) or a little more open. Sex worker, in my understanding is slightly more open-ended. Meaning it can be used in reference to a number of activities.

          Anyway, I think its sad how afraid of sexuality we are and I don't see a lot of good coming out of it. America was in many ways founded by missionaries and fundamentalists. Bad combo.

          If anything feeds vice its repression and shame. There are certainly some things we should protect (c
        • by Phillip2 (203612)
          "A lot of Slashdotters are American and the term isn't really used in the USA, probably since prostitution is illegal in most parts of the country (excepting Nevada but not Las Vegas city). So terms that "legitimize" it are less likely to be used."

          Thats probably the difference then. In the UK, being paid for having sex is not illegal, although some of the other aspects of working as a prostitute are.

          Can't quite understand it, myself. Why would the US make prostitution illegal? It's just supply and demand. I
    • by mhore (582354) on Monday December 18, 2006 @12:38AM (#17283118)
      Sex worker, is that the PC term for prostitute?

      No. The term you're thinking of is Penile Stimulation Engineer, or something to that effect.

      Mike.

      • No. The term you're thinking of is Penile Stimulation Engineer, or something to that effect.
        Come on, this is Slashdot. The "something to that effect" would be: Penis Engineer: Notable In Stimulation.
         
    • It is the term that people not intent on moralizing or stigmatizing oters will use.

      But there are always some people intent in hurting and moralizing about what others do, I'll assume you don't belong to this group of bastards and that you ask driven just by natural curiosity.
  • sex workers? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by puto (533470) * on Sunday December 17, 2006 @11:34PM (#17282814) Homepage
    Well although my nick is Puto, which is technically male whore in spanish, and for the umpteenth time I am not gay and I know what it means it some countries.

    But when in the hell did hookers become "sex workers"? What happened to prostitute?

    Whore, escort, streetwalker, lady of the night, etc. Sex workers?

    I guess this is like the "sanitation engineers"(garbagemen) or "network engineers"(i got a website and a linksys router and have 15 workstations to manage at work.)

    Puto

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Frosty Piss (770223)
      It's in Wikipedia, so it must be so! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_worker [wikipedia.org]
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by fabs64 (657132)
      You're aware that "whore" "prostitute" and "escort" all have other literal and colloquial meanings? Also the aforementioned words fail to include strippers etc.
      • That's what "stripper" and "exotic dancer" are for. Lumping them all together under one category is a bit of a stretch, and unnecessary imo.

        Although I must admit, doubleplussex worker has a nice ring to it.

        • by fabs64 (657132)
          Oh gimme a break.
          "Sex Worker" is a pretty descriptive term and useful as a generic category.
          No one is calling them "Happiness Workers"
          • My problem is when "sex worker" replaces prostitute/hooker AND replaces stripper/exotic dancer. Then the distinction between the two is lost. In Germany and other parts of the world where prostitution is legalized, sex worker has virtually replaced "prostitute" and "stripper" and "erotic masseuse" and other professions related to sexual stimulation and erotica, thereby lumping all of them under the same roof. A relative of mine stripped to pay for college, but would never even consider accepting money for s
            • by Da Fokka (94074)
              ...and to take this one step further, calling them 'Sex Workers' would also mean us hard-working folks would be lumped together with prostitutes and pimps (assuming you have a job, of course). Come on, a 'sex worker' is someone who gets paid for a sexual act - which a striptease is. 'Sex' can mean more than sexual intercourse. I'm sorry if this puts a stigma on your sister.
    • ... sometimes really look awkward from the wider world.

      All the terms you are mentioning are clearly derogative, do not tell us you did not know that as well.

      I don't know about you, but if I were doing that activity for a living I would want to be referred as with a respectful term. Sex worker is the accepted term for people that use their sexuality to make a living, but refers more particularly to people that are paid to have sex with clients.

  • by AmiMoJo (196126) <mojo AT world3 DOT net> on Sunday December 17, 2006 @11:43PM (#17282856) Homepage
    This is probably not a good idea, because there is no anonymity with Skype. It is trivial to log the IP address of anyone calling. At least with a normal phone number, you can just use a public payphone and there is no real chance of being identified.

    Anonymity is really important, especially if they want other sex workers to contact them. After all the recent "crack-downs" and "zero tolerance" policies, not to mention the bad reputation the police have, is it any wonder that prostitutes dont want to talk to them?
    • This is probably not a good idea, because there is no anonymity with Skype

      1) They have a normal number in addition to the skype links.
      2) You can anonymously use skype from an internet cafe (most have it installed, with mic + headphones these days)
      3) Its for convenience sake, so someone who doesn't think it's worth calling (for the little thing they remember seeing walking past) will just click on the link when reading a story.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by RealGrouchy (943109)
        2) You can anonymously use skype from an internet cafe (most have it installed, with mic + headphones these days)

        Notwithstanding your other points, if I were concerned about anonymity/privacy, I wouldn't be blabbing about this kind of stuff in an internet cafe.

        - RG>
      • by 1u3hr (530656)
        1) They have a normal number in addition to the skype links.

        Actually, they don't. If anyone had cared to RTFA, they'd see only normal numbers. Unless you've installed a Skype toolbar and imagine the links it makes are actually on the BBC site. Hint: Look at the source HTML. Just numbers, no links at all.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by hjf (703092)
      use tor (tor.eff.org) and you're most likely safe.
      • by elronxenu (117773)
        If they knew how to use tor, they could make more money as a network administrator than as a prostitute, err hang on ...

  • by SQL Error (16383) on Monday December 18, 2006 @12:26AM (#17283062)
    Is this the first time Skype has been used in this way?
    For making phone calls? Probably not.
  • by MrSteveSD (801820) on Monday December 18, 2006 @12:35AM (#17283108)
    I wonder if the murderer was stupid enough to have a mobile phone with him when he dumped the bodies. All you would have to do is do a search of all mobile phones that have been in those particular cells at the estimated times of death of each victim. The bodies were dumped in the surrounding countryside so it might narrow it down to a few phones. Another possible line of attack is that the murderer's mobile phone would have been in the same cell as each victims mobile phone for some amount of time. Once you have his mobile number, the game is up. Even if it was not purchased in his name, the phone would spend most of its time where he lives, so it would be simple to narrow it down to the row of houses where he lives.
    • Shhhhh!! The public are not meant to know that their every move is logged. It's only now and then that they accidentally let this method be known. The last instance I remember was the Lord Hamilton sexual assault case, where they actually used it to prove their innocence.

      In addition to the privacy implications, I'm sure this is kept quiet as it would cease to be useful and potentially bad should criminals realize a mobile left at home can be an alibi.

  • by 1u3hr (530656) on Monday December 18, 2006 @02:33AM (#17283576)
    Anyone with information that would help Ipswich detectives is urged to contact the incident room on 0800 096 1011 or speak to Crimestoppers in confidence on 0800 555 111.

    Which idiot wrote the headline without even looking at TFA?

  • Story is false (Score:5, Informative)

    by Geoffreyerffoeg (729040) on Monday December 18, 2006 @03:19AM (#17283752)
    (I posted this further down as a reply to an anon comment, so it got buried.)

    Guys, this story is false. I see no Skype links. Do you see any Skype links?
  • by CmdrGravy (645153) on Monday December 18, 2006 @04:10AM (#17283936) Homepage
    There was a great interview with one of the Chief Constables involved in this case about the number of calls they were receiving from the public

    Interviewer: There's been a massive public response to your request for information hasn't there, how are you coping with the sheer volume of information you are getting ?
    Police: Obviously we're very pleased with the positive response and we're working through everything we receive.
    Interviewer: A lot of its very helpful but you were just telling me you're also getting a lot of calls about peoples dreams and what cards or dice have told them ?
    Police: Er, yes we are. That sort of information isn't a high priority
    Interviewer: Clearly you're being polite, it's just a waste of your time isn't it ?
    Police: We would rather concentrate on serious information
    Interviewer: These people are just getting in the way of your investigation by phoning up with this, frankly, nonsense aren't they ?
    Police: Well yes, we would rather they didn't bother us with superstious nonsense.
  • by gjuk (940514) on Monday December 18, 2006 @04:26AM (#17283988)
    So, someone posts a non-story about Skype being used by the police and bbc to report infomration on murdered women. Slashdot users don't discuss the fakeness of the story, or the skype marketing angle, or the future of telecoms. They feel it appropriate to make declarations and guenuinely offensive 'humour' about murdered women.
    Seriously, these women may be prostitutes, but the key facts are: 5 people were murdered in a market town in the space of a couple of weeks. These people were people; daughters, mothers, sisters. They were all, I believe, hooked on drugs. And one day they may have got off drugs and enjoyed a normal life. Not now. The fascination some /.ers have shown for the 'sex angle' makes me worry about who I'm associating with here, and says far more about the writers than the victims.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by TheRaven64 (641858)
      You seem to be reading a different /. to me. The first 60% of comments were on the how tasteless and dehumanising it was to tag the article deadhookers. Most of those defending it were mod'ed below my threshold. The next few posts were pointing out that the idiot submitter just had a toolbar installed which turned all 'phone numbers into Skype links, and that the 'editors' should have spotted this. Then I got to your post.

      Oh, and for the record, I tagged this article 'deadpeople' and (since this is sla

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by gjuk (940514)
        It's a very fair point that, depending on your threshold you see a different /. ...
    • by benzapp (464105)
      See Johnny, the problem here is there are several billion other people out there doing nothing wrong at all whose lives suck and no one gives a fuck about them.

      There are too many people on this planet, we don't have time to save the wretches who have nothing to offer our future generations. Your duty is for the FUTURE, not the present.
    • by Thornae (53316)
      Unfortunately, this is why this is headline news. SEX + MURDER pushes all the tabloid buttons. It's dangerous. It's dirty. Most importantly, it's someone I don't know - and therefore titillating and outrageous, but safe.

      There was an extremely insightful and pertinent comment from a media observer here in Australia recently, pointing out that the popular media had moved from being a source of information to being a source of outrage. The prevalence of "Current Affairs" type programs, with their emotionally b
    • Are you saying people who do drugs don't live a "normal" life? Why do you feel the need to descriminate against drug users?

      Someone posts a non story about dead hookers and you think its perfectly acceptable to make declarations about drug users?

      The fascination some slashdotters (ie you) have show^H^H^H trolled for the "drug angle" makes me worry about who I am associating with here, and says far more about the write^H^H^H^H trolls than the victims.

  • If the BBC is using Skype - and there seems to be some doubt about this - then someone should be asking serious questions about their charter. The BBC is forbidden from advertising and is directly funded by a license fee.

    To the point where kids TV show "Blue Peter" would have handcraft items on making things out of old packaging, any branding or logos on the packaging had to be blacked out.

    No way should the BBC be promoting skype - blatantly or otherwise. Brits, ask the BBC for your license fee back.
    • by 1u3hr (530656)
      If the BBC is using Skype - and there seems to be some doubt about this

      No doubt at all. Click on the BBC link. Then you find a web page without any mention of Skype.

    • If the BBC is using Skype - and there seems to be some doubt about this - then someone should be asking serious questions about their charter. The BBC is forbidden from advertising and is directly funded by a license fee.

      Nonsense! That's not advertising. Are you suggesting that in the BBC staff canteen the Nescafe has the name blacked out? Using a product and advertising it are entirely different things.

      Quick, grab your pitchforks, we're marching on Google. The BBC uses Google Earth imagery regularly, a

    • by Angostura (703910)
      Someone's got a bit chip on their shoulder haven't they?

      Should we be asking "serious questions" about the fact that the BBC makes footage available via Real Player, and has its podcasts available via iTune, as well?
  • tagged "deadsexworkers" in response
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 18, 2006 @08:39AM (#17285044)
    The murderers myspace profile is here [myspace.com]. Found it after reading this article [bbc.co.uk]
  • by smoker2 (750216) on Monday December 18, 2006 @08:59AM (#17285206) Homepage Journal
    I am going off at a tangent here, but as the post have mainly gone towards the sex angle, I thought I'd bring it up.

    Here in the UK, I was reading a Littlewoods mail order catalogue (just for christmas gift ideas) and came across a new toy for young girls.

    It's a *POLE DANCING* kit !

    What is wrong with this picture ? I mean, have the womens liberation movement ceased to exist ? I mentioned this to a friend of mine and he replied that he already knew about it, and that his daughter had been doing it as a course at school ! WTF.

    I am all for liberisation etc, but surely this is a bit over the top. I mean, do they teach these children what the fucking pole represents ?

    I tried to get to Littlewoods website to find a link, but the net is slow here right now, google has some good links to a story on it though, as it appears Tesco [google.co.uk] had a similar product. I remember a time when women got pissed off if you bought a young girl a pram and a doll, now apparently we can train them to be erotic dancers, at public expense ! Jesus H Christ, on a bike. What's next, My Little Pony Fuck 'n' Suck outfits, Crotchless panties (age 5 to 6), Leather gear for the discerning 8 year old ?

    Amazon have the same product [amazon.co.uk] and it even includes toy dollars ! They also have a toy lapdancing kit, which seems to have the words "not a toy" hastily tacked onto the description.

    Sometimes you do actually have to think of the children.
    • Tesco last night denied the pole dancing kit was sexually oriented and said it was clearly marked for "adult use". A spokesman added: "Pole dancing is an increasing exercise craze. This item is for people who want to improve their fitness and have fun at the same time." Story [dailymail.co.uk]

      Now put your dick away and consider that this is a tragic story about murdered drug addicts and not an excuse for pedophile ravings.

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