Mobile phone technology advances all the time and the paparazzi’s ferocious appetite for news means more scandals than ever are emerging. Some implicate well-known celebrities, others high profile political figures, some even implicate mobile phone operators. Here are a few of the most recent and controversial scandals.
Rupert Murdoch’s News of The World (NoW) has been thrown into turmoil for allegedly phone tapping certain well-known people’s phones. The long running investigation which started in 2006 has re-emerged several times since. The next chapter in the affair started when Prince William injured his knee which was immediately published in the paper. This alerted Prince William and a police investigation was started. Four months later the royal editor and a private investigator were sent to prison. As the scandal escalated more celebrities launched legal action against the paper most notably Max Clifford who settled out of court for cool £1 million.
Recently a fresh investigation into News of the World mobile phone hacking practices ignited as fresh evidence was found. It followed a NoW internal inquiry that led to the sacking of its assistant editor Ian Edmondson. The reason for this was the paper, allegedly uncovered four e-mails showing he had knowledge of phone hacking. The details were passed to the police.
Spy movies often portray governments eavesdropping criminals and terrorists but it rarely happens the other way round. The Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis mobile phone was apparently tapped along with around 100 other people. The illegal software was installed on the Vodafone Greece network so that calls could be relayed to another number for recording. The plot later thickened as it emerged Kostas Tsalikidis, head of Vodafone’s Greece network design department committed suicide. The body of Tsalikidis was found only two days after Vodafone Greece had identified and removed the eavesdropping software.
T-Mobile is another mobile phone operator which unfortunately became embroiled in a telecommunication controversy. They announced that thousands of their customer’s personal details were sold for a substantial sum without their knowledge. In their defence they did alert the data protection watchdog so it could be investigated. It was later determined the data was sold on to competitors who wanted to find out when contracts were ending so they could swoop in and potentially steal customers. A number of T-Mobile employees were later prosecuted for selling data to brokers so they could contact customers whose contracts were up for renewal.
A Doncaster council worker in the UK managed to run up a mobile phone bill of almost £3,000 from gambling text messages, which the British taxpayer had to pay for. The employee from the Trading Standards department has now left the position. But according to the council they trying to recoup the money and are currently investigating a second bill of almost £2,000. Apparently the phone had received 1,800 premium rate text messages priced at £1.27 each.
As technology advances it is likely that hacking these personal communication devices will become easier and more widespread currently in the UK the offence carries a maximum sentence of two years in prison. Many politicians are calling for more strict regulations and heavier sentencing. Whether this happens or not only time will tell, but it is certainly a problem which needs to be addressed.