Voice mail auto delete [telecom]

Some people may be aware of the goings-on in the U.K. over "phone hacking" which led to the closure of the newspaper "News of the World" and is still the subject of a parliamentary commission.

One thing which arose this week was in regard to an issue with "hacking" the private voice mail of a person to listen to their messages, specifically in regards to a missing person who's voice mail quota was full and rejecting new messages only to suddenly accept messages in the middle of the police investigation and misleading the police as to whether this person was actually still alive.

The upshot was that when it was eventually discovered that the voice mail was hacked, the people doing the hacking were blamed for deleting the messages and therefore causing many other issues (apart from illegally accessing the voice mail).

Now it is claimed that the voice mail messages would be deleted automatically and therefore the "hackers" were not responsible for the message deletions, but my understanding is that only *played* messages would be auto-deleted, not the unheard ones, but this could also vary with each network.

If in this particular circumstance the played messages were subsequently auto-deleted to make space for new ones, then those doing the hacking were still responsible.

Does anyone know what the current methods/rules are for the various voice mail services in use around the world?

Reply to
David Clayton
Loading thread data ...

I *definitely* varies by voice-mail service.

On (at least) large-scale VM systems, e.g. 'Octel', there are configuration options to auto-delete messages -- 'heard' or 'un-heard' -- after a specified number of days; *unless* the message has specifically been marked as 'saved'.

There is a 'system default' value, plus over-rides by 'class of service', and individual account.

Small corporate VM systems may behave significantly differently.

Reply to
Robert Bonomi

That's what I would have thought, in the case I outlined it would have been a major UK telco so I assume that they would have a reasonable policy of retaining all unheard messages (which was implied by the statements of not being able to leave a new VM when it was full), but more than likely would auto-discard listened to messages (which was also implied by the ability to leave new VMs after the mailbox was "hacked").

I wonder if any UK readers of the CDT have any more info on this?

Reply to
David Clayton

I used to work for Unisys some time ago, and played with their large-scale messaging platforms.

As others have said, these things are configurable, so an operator can set them up how they like. In fact there may be more than one configuration as there may be several voicemail products or classes of service running on the platform.

Normally messages become candidates for deletion when read. That may not mean they're deleted at once, but may wait for a batch process to take place.

Unread messages are kept until read, deleted by the user or until a certain time limit is reached. You obviously wouldn't keep them for ever.

Finally, there are message that have been listened to but then saved by the user. These, too, have a shelf life.

Reply to
Ken Wheatley

I can only speak for the way T-Mobile (USA) with their Comverse voicemail system works. Unopened voicemails on the system will be deleted after 14 days. Opened or saved messages will not be deleted. If the mailbox is full of course it won't accept any more messages.

Reply to
Joseph Singer

It would be very interesting to know what the system policies were for the VM system used in this infamous "hacking" incident now. I suspect that there are a lot of technical assumptions currently being made by non-technical people which are "muddying the waters" of the whole saga.

Reply to
David Clayton

Cabling-Design.com Forums website is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.