back to article Vodafone launches snooping service

Vodafone is offering to record every conversation for companies interested in knowing what their employees are saying and to whom, but not if they've got an iPhone. Financial companies are gearing up for mobile phones to be added to the industry's recording requirement, with Vodafone being quick off the mark in launching a …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The new rules do allow for personally-owned phones not being recorded

    Well that's nice of them.

  2. LinkOfHyrule

    "The iPhone might not be the bankers' choice"

    I always thought the exact opposite was true. I certainly see lots of 'Bankers' round town with 'em.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      How would you know?

      Most 'bankers' I come across tend to be permanently plugged into bluetooth earpieces, trying hard to look cool, so how would you know what phone is on the end of it? Plus, it's unlikely to be the iPhone as everyone knows the bluetooth support on iPhones is crap.....

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Are they also recording all face-to-face meetings?

    With video, as some people follow the advice: Don't write it if you can just say it; don't say it if you can just nod.

  4. Neal 5

    Some clarification required

    "The FSA expects the addition of mobile call recording to cost the industry £11m initially, and £18m annually,"

    I do wish all this double talk would end, we all know who is going to end up paying for this, it won't be vodafone, and it won't directly be their business customers either, it'll be private users as always, cue 5p/min price rise on most tariffs, except for corporate accounts.

    What privacy anyway?

    1. paulf


      Surely it will be the financial industry who will be paying for phone calls to be recorded on business phones they supply to their employees? Mr Ray has perhaps been a little ambiguous, but its clear to me that he was referring to the [banking] industry (i.e. those paying for the mobile services that will be recorded) rather than the [mobile] industry (who supply the mobile services being recorded). I can't see Vodafone being so VERY eager to introduce a service that is a cost centre rather than a profit centre!

      So it wont be 5p/min increase on your mobile tariff to pay for it, more like £5/min increase when you have a chat with your friendly bank manager about your overdraft or something....

      Perhaps Bill Ray could clarify?

      1. Bill Ray (Written by Reg staff)

        Re: Eh?

        This is a service that Vodafone will be offering to companies, and for which the operator will charge, though they didn't tell me how much.


  5. vyzar

    Could be the driver for mobile VoIP.

    If these regs come in, could be the thing that pushes mobile VoIP forward. Since many finance houses already use VoIP anyway "in house". extending this to mobiles would be the next obvious step. They just need the mobile operators to start playing ball with allowing VoIP on their data tarrifs.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    That'll do well on Symbian....

    ... It won't record anything because it'll constantly crash.

  7. Daf L

    Seems fraught with problems?

    Surely it would be trivial to disable the app (task manager) for a secret call or there would be many ways where the company could hide the call.

    Wouldn't it make more sense for Vodafone to be recording the calls at network level? Therefore any company can have calls for registered numbers recorded and accessed via a web interface or downloaded after the call is finished. This would then work with any phone, could be impossible to work around (apart from separate sims) and would allow for independent scrutiny.

    1. Claus P. Nielsen
      Black Helicopters

      No business risk here - move along sir

      "Wouldn't it make more sense for Vodafone to be recording the calls at network level?"

      Apparently both you and Bill Ray seems to think it makes perfect sense to let the operator intercept calls and record them (at least that how I read the "Vodafone's solution rather neatly off-loads that onto the customer" remark).

      So having recordings of very sensitive and often confidential conversations in the hands of a third party is "a good thing" then?

      Seeing how good the phone companies have been at keeping SMS messages confidential in the past, I would not put the highest level of trust in that.

      Adding a web interface is just adding insult to injury. Maybe we could suggest the name of Paris Hilton's dog as the default password to complete the picture?

      This would be a prime target for any hacker worth spit, to get access to all that juicy investment information.

      1. Daf L

        Paranoid, much?

        So, let me get this right - you're saying that it isn't possible to secure anything that goes on using the Internet?

        Wow, better let all the organisations who use it for $Billions every day as they probably never realised it was so trivial to hack. I think hackers would be far more interested in easy access to high value, easy to shift cash based transactions, that have been floating around the Interweb for years than a banker talking about his latest yacht purchase. It is actually possible to secure things now-a-days you know, the web interface wouldn't be public facing or show up in Google search results. Something called VPNs have been developed!

        You do also realise that Vodafone are creating the apps. So you don't trust them in any way to store conversations but it is fine to write the applications, where their outsourcing team could perhaps provide a backdoor or re-route? And of course, there is no way a hacker could ever access a smartphone - right?

        The point is that these conversations aren't supposed to be recorded for the Bankers interests, they are supposed to be recorded for the interests of regulation and compliance. Having a system that is easy to work around, is in full control of the entities that are under the regulation and could just result in all the affected people using an iPhone is not a solution.

        If a system is properly secured, properly audited and has proper levels of control and access then the system can work at the provider or another designated third party. It is "a good thing", yes.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    What could possibly go wrong?

    "Foolproof, and incapable of error", or something.

  9. BigRedS
    Jobs Halo

    So there is a plus point to the iPhone then?

    Who would have thought it - the iPhone being the island of privacy...

    1. Giles Jones Gold badge

      Control freakery

      Whatever network your iPhone is on the user experience is the same. Can't say that about other handsets with their operator bastardised firmware.

      Handset makers standing up to operators is a good thing. The operators are too powerful as it is.

    2. CurtisB


      ... But the Jobsian Gestapo are probably already recording them, so there's no need to record it twice. Probably with a scanning function looking for words like 'adobe', 'flash', 'iphone', 'not' in some combination or other......

  10. Wize

    When you say record calls... you mean log the call or record the conversation?

    And what do they mean by recording the 'relevant communications'. What defines relevant?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      It's the financial industry

      They mean "record the conversation," and any conversation had on that device will probably be considered "relevant."

  11. noiryork

    Is this only for Vodafone subscribers?

    I came across a similar, online, service recently that logs calls and text messages,, that is not tied to any operator.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Missing the point

      Call recording, not just date ant time.

  12. Anonymous Coward


    Well duh of course it won't record on the iPhone. It has no multitasking.

    1. Giles Jones Gold badge


      It does have multitasking, but only for applications Apple allows to multi task.

      With iPhone OS4 it will multi task for all applications and not in a dumb desktop OS way, no task managers and other junk.

  13. dsm
    Thumb Down


    Just say a few random credit card details as part of your conversation - they're not allowed to record those so I wonder what they'll do.

    Half the guidelines require recording, the other half prohibit it.

    All good fun as always.

  14. Is it me?

    So how will it work then.

    Does this mean that all cals to company mobiles will have to have a warning about the fact it is being recorded. How do you know you are calling a company mobile?

    Oh, and I suspect any off the record calls will be made on personal mobiles, or PAYG phones so what's the point. In fact one would suspect they already do.

    Interestingly, one wonders what they will do for people like me who refuse a company mobile and use my own phone, and pay my own bill. I look forward to the first company that intercepts a private mobile without permission.

  15. Graham 25

    It'll never work ....

    ...... but require companies "to take reasonable steps to prevent employees or contractors from using private communication equipment [for business calls]".

    Put down your personal phone and take two steps away ...... yeah right. I can see corporate security guards trying to frisk people for personal mobile phones, and then try and get a court order to examine an individuals call log.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My wife costs less..

    and will be much more reliable.

    She can remember things I said 10 years ago and checks all my text messages.

  17. Anonymous Coward

    you are missing the point

    There are industries, like investment banking, that require all correspondence between staff and customers to be recorded. The reason is so that audiors/regulators can take a complaint of... "this investment is rock-solid and completely legal" and be able to investigate and find out if that was indeed said, when, and by whom. There are also statements that 'cannot be made to the public', that becuase no-one is trusted/trustworthy, require that all conversations be recorded.

    1. Paul 4
      Black Helicopters


      It MUST be bankers wanting to hide things.

    2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: you are missing the point

      Glad *someone* else read the article.

      And whilst we are here, if Apple wish to exclude themselves from this fairly small market niche (by failing to support a legal requirement) then that's not unreasonable. Someone mentioned the lack of multitasking, perhaps tongue in cheek, but there could easily be technical reasons why adding the facility to the iPhone costs more to Apple than the market is worth.

      And in regard to the "everyone will use their /other/ phone for the insider trading", well yes. This isn't proposed as a way of catching crooks. It is proposed as an easy way for non-crooks to meet their legal requirements. You've made the classic mistake of assuming there has to be a technical fix for every legal problem. Go join a record company, or the Labour Party.

  18. Chris 3

    Doesn't running an app on the phone, seem a bit odd?

    I would have expected the companies to have had a system for registering the IMIEs of the phones that they wanted monitored and then had some code at the towers or switching centres that would have diverted the call via the recording equipment.

    I suppose that would have required an infrastructure upgrade, however.

  19. Watashi

    FSA = Morons


    The new rules do allow for personally-owned phones not being recorded, but require companies "to take reasonable steps to prevent employees or contractors from using private communication equipment [for business calls]".


    Just like finance companies were expected to take reasonable steps to prevent their employees clusterf*cking the global economy.

    Typical New Labour - create a new set of ultra-authoritarian rules and then let the people at the very top piss all over the rules by relying on the Big Corporations to police themselves. I'd be willing to bet my life that the people working in the call centres will find it a lot harder to get away with using their personal mobiles than the big hitters and the CEOs at the top of the organisations.

    Dodgy CEO: Oh, I'd better not use my personal mobile for making this dodgy business take-over deal because then I'd have to report myself to the FSA.


  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    For a wunch of bankers only

    Just to clear this up for a few people - this is not something for all mobiles or even for all corporate mobiles. It relates to investment banking where the law requires telephone calls to be recorded to resolve disputes like "You agreed to sell me 100000 shares in company A at 1.20, not 1.23" and to prevent calls like "Look mate, our mergers division is handling the purchase of company A by company B. You might want to buy some shares before everyone knows." This means the dealers have to exchange such information at lunchtime in the wine bar if they hope to avoid big fines or jail time.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Well done Fredd !!

    You've just given Vodaphone marketing a hand with their branding exercise.

    Wireless Interception for Financial Employees. (WIFE)

  22. Tim #3

    It would be Vodafone

    they are the experts in this after all, with all their Greek history

    Presumably they won't get fined another EUR 100m for introducing it as a service though.

  23. Matthew Malthouse

    Apple doesn't allow interception

    "Vodafone tells us it's working on an iPhone version, but Apple doesn't allow interception of outgoing calls so we can't help thinking it's going to take them a while."

    But Voda owns the cells. For many large corporate accounts a pico-cell in the basement. So it might not take them as long as you think

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021