If I were to ask you, bearing in mind the levels of publicity that the hacking scandal has had, what significant precautions were now put in place to stop people hacking into your mobile voicemail, most people wouldn't know.
You might ask how I could make such a bold statement. The answer is simple. There haven't been any new significant precautions on several major mobile networks, with at least two (they would be O2 and Tesco Mobile) still leaving customers just as vulnerable to "hack attacks" as they ever were.
You can test this yourself if you have an O2 or Tesco mobile Sim. Simply turn your phone off, take a friends phone and dial in your number then hold down the *key. You will now need to add in the default security pin (assuming, like most people, you have not had this changed it should be 8705) and tadaa you now have access to your voicemail... as does potentially everyone who knows your mobile number, which, if you have a facebook app, is more than likely all of your friends... and some acquaintances.
Now you might think that this is quite bad bearing in mind that O2 plus Tesco mobile account for about 30.5 million phone users. If they were all in the UK, that would account for nearly half of all 63,705,000 people living in the country.
You might be thinking that this is bad because, in fact, it is bad.
It is also about to get worse for you because this blog is very very public. By the simple act of reading it you may have, thanks to social blogging networks and certain blog readers that you maybe using, informed all your blog reading friends that you have read this. This may in turn lead them to reading this... and they likely know your mobile number.
Don't worry too much because if they have read it, by the same means you shoukd know that they have read it and you probably also have their mobile number as well. Thus either a hacking war will ensue, or a truce, or you will change your pin.
I would suggest that you do the very latter, at least thats what I would do if I were a spokesperson for either of these networks. Thankfully, I'm not and so can suggest to you an even better option. Simply follow along the above procedure until the point when you have to input 8705. Do not input 8705. Put something else in, anything else, random numbers, over and over again until it says that this function is blocked. Do not unblock it. Done.
If you are someone who uses this function for its intended purpose of accessing your own voicemail from another phone because your phone often runs out of charge... buy a spare charger and carry it with you, or get a battery extender (some cases can even do this), or use the power save settings... anything is better than the choice of either essentually posting your voicemail messages publicly on facebook or typing in a confidential pin into someone elses phone, no matter how well you know the owner of that phone as a person. What is to say that that phone hasn't got a virus? Or an anti-virus with a keylogger even the owner is unaware of?
This is a basic privacy issue. And it has little to do with Rebecca Brooks and the phones of the parents of Millie Dowler and Madeleine McCann. It has a huge amount to do with you and what people are telling you in a way that they feel is private and only between them and, you guessed it, you.
This should have been the first thing to be resolved, instead it appears to be the last thing, if in fact it does actually get resolved at all.
We may not be able to take away their guns, but we can lock the ammunition store.