Voice Artefacts

by Imran Ali

I spotted the cute VoiceQuilt over at Springwise earlier today...it's kinda like a Moo for voice.

Users email their loved ones to dial a number, leave a personal message and then have those recordings added to various keepsakes; a 'musicbox' or personalised CD recording. A lovely, sentimental, if twee, notion.

However, I'd find it just as useful to simply archive voicemails and text messages from our cells to other formats. I'm sure there are many of us who have precious, intimate or humorous voice messages we'd like to preserve.

Yet MNO's don't make this easy, if at all possible. It's our data, let us at it - we might even pay a little for it :)


Bruce Stewart
2007-05-02 20:48:06
And then there's those voice messages you really wish you hadn't tried to save.

This post reminded me of an unfortunate situation I encountered years ago when I was the telecom manager for a large Jesuit university in San Francisco and we had just installed a new campus-wide voice mail system. There was a pretty gaping security hole that I wanted to close, but was overruled by the campus administration who wanted to keep things as easy to use as possible - the default voice mail password was a user's 4 digit extension number. And this system was being used by not only the faculty and staff of the university, but also the students living in the on-campus dormitories. I knew it was a recipe for disaster, and we had many issues with students pranking other students by changing their voice mail passwords, greetings, etc. But the worst problem came when a department secretary saved a particular "Happy Birthday" message from her boyfriend, an especially intimate and risque message, and a student who was poking around various voice mailboxes of staff who had not bothered to change their default passwords stumbled upon this and immediately forwarded it to 16 of his friends, who forwarded it to 16 of their friends, and, well you get the idea. It rapidly spread around the entire campus. I've never had to deal with anyone as embarrassed and humiliated as that department secretary, and to this day I still feel bad for her.

So I guess the lesson is that wherever personal information is archived (voice or not), security should not be overlooked.