We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
RSS FeedRisk

MPs claim Orange, T-Mobile and Vodafone failed to notify phone hack victims in time


Some victims waited up to three years to find out their voicemail was intercepted

Article comments

Two UK mobile phone operators took years to notify their customers that their voicemail accounts may have been illegally accessed, according to a report by the Home Affairs Committee.

The House of Commons committee report digs into the details of the so-called "phone hacking" scandal gripping Britain. The scandal revolves around private investigators and reporters who allegedly took advantage of weak security measures in order to access the voicemail accounts of public figures.

Three UK operators: Vodafone, O2 and the Orange/T-Mobile joint venture Everything Everywhere, knew that some of their subscribers had been targeted by Glenn Mulcaire, a private investigator employed by the tabloid newspaper News of the World, the report said.

Phone hacking scandal

Mulcaire was sentenced to six months in prison in January 2007 for unlawful interception of voicemail messages while the News of the World, reputation severely damaged by the scandal, ceased publication earlier this month.

Police decided that, while the investigation was under way, Mulcaire's victims should be notified of the intrusions either by police or by the network operators, according to the report. But a break-down in communications led police to assume that operators had contacted the affected customers, while two of the companies made no move to contact customers, believing that to do so would interfere with the investigation.

Only one operator, O2, checked with police in 2006 to see if it could notify customers without interfering with the investigation. O2 officials told the parliamentary committee the company received clearance to notify those affected within 10 days or so of learning that there was an investigation.

"Neither Vodafone nor Orange UK/T-Mobile UK showed the initiative of O2 in asking the police whether such contact would interfere with investigations," the report said. "Nor did either company check whether the investigation had been completed later."

Vodafone and Orange-T-Mobile said police did not tell them to contact customers until November 2010, the report said. Those companies did not have an immediate comment on Wednesday morning.

"We find this failure of care to their customers astonishing, not least because all the companies told us that they had good working relationships with the police on the many occasions on which the police have to seek information from them to help in their inquiries," the report said.

Notification by law

The notification procedure would be different if a large data breach occurred now. The UK's Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations, which came into force on May 25, now requires any data controller including mobile phone companies to inform customers of a data breach, the report said.

The number of potential hacking victims continues to grow. Police have in evidence the names of 3,870 people who may be victims, along with some 5,000 landline numbers and 4,000 mobile phone numbers, which came from Mulcaire's documents. The committee wrote that although there may be some overlap in the phone numbers, it is possible up to 12,800 people have been affected that would need to be notified.

So far, just 170 people have been contacted by police, although 500 more people have inquired with police if they might be victims.

The committee wrote in its report that it could take more than a decade at the current pace for full notification. "This timeframe is clearly absurd," the committee wrote, adding that extra funds should be made available to police for the investigation.

Share:

Recommended Articles

Comments

MPs claim Orange, T-Mobile and Vodafone failed to notify phone hack victims in time
Risk

How Nokia helped and hindered Microsoft's earnings

How Nokia helped and hindered Microsoft's earnings

The Nokia Devices and Services business helped boost Microsoft's revenue, but hurt profitsmore ..


Fraudsters get younger as tech savvy youth fund extravagant lifestyles

“Youth doesn’t always equal innocence” says KPMG fraud expertmore ..

UK profit warnings hit a three-year high

Rising competition, pricing pressures and the pound’s rise were to blame for reducing corporate profits, EY saidmore ..

SEC drops probe into Facebook's pre-IPO sales disclosures

The agency told Facebook that no enforcement action will be taken, the company said in a filingmore ..

Can shaky cyber security scupper an M&A deal?

In M&A a cyber attack on a target company could have a material impact on its valuemore ..

Why CFOs are changing their thinking on sustainability

Pernod Ricard CFO Gilles Bogaert has nailed his 'green' colours to the mastmore ..

Send to a friend

Email this article to a friend or colleague:


PLEASE NOTE: Your name is used only to let the recipient know who sent the story, and in case of transmission error. Both your name and the recipient's name and address will not be used for any other purpose.



In Depth
Can finance rise to the challenge of major transformation?

Can finance rise to the challenge of major transformation?

Outdated finance processes, systems and competencies leave too many questions unanswered more ..

In Depth
Interim CFO or consultant? The pros and cons

Interim CFO or consultant? The pros and cons

Ed Harding offers an insight into the life of an interim CFO and the advantages in driving transformation more ..

Advertisement

* *