On July 10, 2011, News of the World printed their final edition after a 168-year run. News of the World was the biggest-selling English language newspaper in the world with sales averaging almost 3 million copies per week. This abrupt folding of such an enormous publication came as a shock and left over 200 people unemployed. However, the paper has little choice but to shutter, as it was under extreme duress due to the widespread phone hacking and corruption allegations leveled against it.
According to the BBC, the newspaper gathered information for their articles by listening to people’s mobile phone voicemail messages. While the phone hacking allegations are the most prevalent, there are additional allegations that the newspaper procured information by paying police and colluding with politicians to gain unauthorized access to classified information.
There were numerous people targeted by this phone hacking scandal, which was found to have ultimately gone on for years. Celebrities, politicians and even members of the British Royal Family were targeted. The News of the World endured several years of these allegations in spite of countless lawsuits and resulting settlements.
However, it was revealed that in early July of 2011, News of the World reporters were not only using this phone hacking to tap the telephone lines of public figures, but rather was also hacking the phones of murder victims and their relatives, the relatives of deceased British soldiers and the phones of those who died in the 7/7 London bombings. This discovery caused widespread public outrage which led to advertiser boycotts and the rapid closing of the News of the World.
News of the World has been accused of hiring private investigators to hack into both the voicemail and physical phone interface of the above-mentioned phone victims. Reporters were able to see emails, text messages, voice mails and even photos and information stored on the phone through this mobile phone hacking. Journalists used this information to publish “scoop” stories from the information they had discovered from the cell phones.
The News of the World phone hacking scandal might currently be the most popular telecommunications scandal to date, but it is certainly not the first. There are many threats to phone security, especially mobile phone security. From malware and spyware to phishing and premium billing, there are many ways in which people can be prayed upon when utilizing their phones.
An interactive voice response system equipped with the proper speech recognition technology could go far to offer security. All data passed through phone lines is either stored onsite with the customer or offsite at hosted data centers. Users could program IVR systems to only perform certain functions when they were commanded to by a certain voice. Voice and speech recognition technology would come in infinitely handy in this type of scenario, as users could rest assured that their voicemails, text messages and emails could only be read by them and them alone.
IVRs are built to offer this type of high-level security, as they store data from some of the most top-secret companies in the world. For those looking into telephonic security precautions, IVR is the way to go.