WEEKEND PLUS: News Corp woes shadow real issues

Slug from Atmosphere eavesdrops on Lucy?

Eavesdropping of voicemails should never have been technically possible in the first place. Image: Joe Howell

Infatuation with celebs and politicians clouds issue of weak data protection laws and further telecoms oversight by independent accountability councils of citizens

BY PAUL QUIGLEY

Truth is the first victim of war.

The disgusting charade that has been paraded this last week or so over the News Corporations’ alleged invasion of people privacy’s tends to mask the real problem. That is, how could this loophole of privacy invasion has been possible in the first place?

Insecure voicemail systems and processes.

And who is it who hosts these systems of privacy invasion?

The telcos.

Vodafone, O2 (formerly BT Cellnet but now owned by a Spanish telco, Telefonica), Orange (formerly BAE Systems and Vodafone-owned but now owned by a French firm, France Telecom), and T-Mobile (formerly Cable & Wireless’ Mercury One-2-One but now owned by a German firm, Deutsche Telekom (itself still 30percent state-owned).

So, as we all agree, this cannot be allowed to continue. Data protection laws and penalties must be overhauled substantially at the same time that telcos must be brought to book for allowing their systems to be compromised in the ways they have.

The mere fact that a press eager for exclusive news has been brought into the limelight in this case alone is itself a red herring.

The point is that this should never have been allowed to happen in the first place. A virtual, mobile firewall or encrypted voice tech with unique access ID should always have been in place – as part of these corporations’ license obligations. And given that they have failed to ensure that this was the case, they too should be the focus of the media and political, regulatory scrum.

This whole sorry saga should be thrown before the courts and the regulators with the telcos in the dock alongside the greedy, opportunist perpetrators of these heinous anti-privacy protagonists. Privacy must be sacrosant under the British constitution, its common law upheld irrespective of who has the most money to bribe police officers to pass on private information.

All told, this should never have been possible in the first place and those responsible for the failure of regulation, systems and processes should be brought to book before the petty opportunistic squabbles of the media hacks and their jobsworth executive bosses.

The judiciary must play its part in ensuring Common Law is the bedrock of our business ethics.

 


Related links:

Ofcom
ECM Plus podcasts
Information Commission

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Filed under Business Process Management, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Data Governance, Data privacy, Data protection, Industry News, Information Governance, Internal Controls, Mobile communication, Mobile Content, Regulatory Compliance, Risk Management, Telecommunications

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