kuiperbelt writes: Britain's long-running phone-hacking scandal could have been averted years ago, says the man who went to the papers and the police in 1999 after he became concerned about the remote access exploit that made tabloid newspapers' phone hacking possible. Salesman Steven Nott aimed to get phone companies to close the backdoor by going public, but nothing was done despite prescient warnings of the later controversy. Nott informed the phone companies, but they appeared uninterested. He went to the press, but they used the exploit themselves instead of reporting on it. Journalists and private investigators gained access to targets' voicemail messages by taking advantage of the default PINs that secured a remote access service most phone users were not even aware of.