Andy Coulson, press chief for UK Prime Minister David Cameron, and former editor in chief of UK tabloid, News of the World, resigned today over continuing press coverage of a telephone hacking scandal which caused him to resign from the paper in 2007.
Two reporters from his paper were arrested and jailed after being convicted of illegally accessing the voice mails of members of the British royal family including Prince William and Prince Harry and numerous aides. According to reporting by the NY Times, the practice spread much further than the two reporters and was pretty much standard practice by the tabloids which are extremely competitive for fresh gossip.
Records seized by the police indicated that in addition to the royal family, numerous celebrities, athletes, government officials and business people had also had their voice mails hacked.
The most disturbing aspect of this scandal is how easily these reporters gained access to cell phone conversations and voice mails. It didn’t require expensive technology or equipment; it was often a matter of guessing security codes or tricking telephone company employees into revealing information.
At Interfor we advise our clients that phone conversations, especially cell phone conversations are not secure and to never leave privileged or confidential information on a voice mail. Voice mails can be hacked, wires can be tapped and cell phones can easily and remotely be turned into listening devices. In fact, we advise our clients to actually remove the batteries from their cell phones or leave them outside the room when they are having confidential discussions, as that is the only way to insure privacy.
In the next few weeks we will be announcing a new product which we will be releasing with a partner that will make military grade encryption commercially available on smart phone devices. This technology will allow our clients to make calls and send text messages from one secure phone to another without worry that their calls and messages are being intercepted. We are very excited about this development. Stayed tuned…!