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Summary:

Crank calls have never been so easy. As folks on Reddit have pointed out, Disney’s Hannah Montana Wake-Up Call makes getting up to no good a snap. Just enter your friend’s victim’s phone number and the delightful Miley Cyrus’s voice will wake them up or send […]

Crank calls have never been so easy.

As folks on Reddit have pointed out, Disney’s Hannah Montana Wake-Up Call makes getting up to no good a snap. Just enter your friend’s victim’s phone number and the delightful Miley Cyrus’s voice will wake them up or send them a reminder: “Dear [name], don’t forget that today you have [activity].”

Opening a web-to-phone system to the public without authentication or constraints may be fun — but it’s also ripe for abuse. Without authentication of the sender, users are free to enter any source phone number they want, making it look like the calls are coming from someone else. There’s no opt-out mechanism or audit trail. Even attempts to constrain the system can be circumvented: You can change the recipient’s time zone and wake them up in the middle of the night, or back-date the wake-up call to have it placed immediately.

Visitors must be over 18 to use the service — not exactly Cyrus’ fan base. But it probably won’t make the calls any more mature or limit the mischief.

As we integrate Internet, telephony, mobility and video, we can’t forget the lessons learned online. It’s too easy to let features like authentication, transparency, opt-out and masquerading prevention fall by the wayside in a land grab for names and numbers.

After just 10 hours on Reddit people were reporting the service was swamped, yielding messages like, “Sorry, that number’s already been scheduled for five calls.” Page load times were sluggish, and the fun is likely to end soon.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a sister who needs a wake-up call.

  1. That’s pretty hilarious. We love how you have to be 18 years old to use the service yet it’s Miley Cyrus who would be waking you up. They should have expected this level of abuse.

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  2. We don’t know of any companies specifically offering such a “service” with Jaduka’s Voice APIs; however, it is something that we know is easily achievable with any of our APIs. In fact it was one of the early prototype applications that our engineers developed when doing in-office testing. It got annoying real quick too!!!

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  3. [...] For more:- Gigaom warns us about Hanna Montana’s bad VoIP habit [...]

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  4. Astounding. The technology may change, but the evil minds of 15-year-old girls never do!

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  5. Great post. It’s very true that we need to learn from and experience these troubles now before the web/tv/print worlds converge. Allowing for these mistakes now, although troublesome, will prevent further problems when the technologies are that much more damaging.

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  6. I never thought I’d say this, but thank you Hannah Montana. I know someone that’s in need of 3-4 wake up calls, scheduled every 30 mins starting at 5:00am on Saturday..

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  7. [...] GIGAOM POSTS RELACIONADOSMediaDefender, Anti-piratas pirateados e VOIP“Caller ID Spoofing” é [...]

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