Craig Woodhouse, Political Reporter
14 Oct 2011
Mobile phone giant Orange is toughening up voicemail security in response to the phone hacking scandal.
The firm has ordered customers to change their Pins if they want to access messages remotely. Users have been given a deadline to alter their code or face having the service cut off.
Thousands of customers are thought to have been contacted by Orange, part of the Everything Everywhere group which has about 30million users.
A spokesman said customers should treat their voicemail Pin like their bank account number, adding: “We’re focused on ensuring the best possible security for all our services.”
This week the Leveson inquiry into press ethics, set up in the wake of the scandal, has come in for stinging criticism during its preliminary meetings, with Prime Minister David Cameron facing accusations of establishing it as a form of “revenge” on newspapers.
The move came as the hacking scandal took another twist amid claims the police force which investigated the murder of Milly Dowler knew in 2002 her voicemail had been accessed by the News of the World.
Officers from Surrey police met journalists from the newspaper but did not investigate or take any action, according to a report in the Independent.
It has also emerged that News International is close to finalising a £3million settlement with the Dowler family, including a £1million donation to charity by Rupert Murdoch.
The Dowler family’s solicitor, Mark Lewis, said: “Questions need to be asked why the police seemed keener on selling newspapers than solving crimes. It seems that when the public dialled 999 the police dialled NoW.”
A Surrey Police spokesman said the “priority” in 2002 was to find Milly Dowler and later to find her killer and bring him to justice.
The force was unable to make the “full facts” around the case public because of a Met investigation into phone hacking.