Releasing the names of all 600 alleged News of the World hacking victims, as The Independent's Martin Hickman reports U.K. prosecutors intend to do soon, will make for a bevy of embarrassing headlines, but it should also have the effect of ripping off a Band-Aid. Hickman, who got the scoop that the names would all be released, makes the case that the dump will be a huge black eye to News Corporation, the parent of the shuttered News of the World as well as The Times, The Sunday Times, and The Sun: "The move – the biggest single announcement of alleged targets of illegal newsgathering – is likely to generate a mass of embarrassing headlines and heighten investor dissatisfaction with the News of the World's owner, News International, and its American corporate parent, News Corp."
That's probably true, but it will be short lived. Once the names are all out, that will be that, as opposed to the slow drip of embarrassing headlines we've seen. So far, the identities of each alleged hacking victim, such as Paul McCartney's ex-wife Heather Mills, actor Steve Coogan, and soccer player Paul Gascoigne, have dribbled out individually or in small batches as they've come forward, each bringing their own mini-scandal. So one thing News Corp. can look forward to with prosecutors' data dump is the end of any more surprises.