Marchex Adds Major Security Enhancement for Call Recordings

Marchex, a mobile advertising analytics company, today launched a major security enhancement to Marchex Call Analytics that enables companies to automatically redact credit card numbers from recorded phone calls in real time.

The patent-pending technology automatically detects spoken credit card numbers using voice stream pattern recognition and machine learning algorithms and replaces that information with beeps in the recording.

"It looks for numeric patterns. It looks not just for digits but the pattern of how the digits are spoken," explains Jason Flaks, director of product engineering at Marchex.

All credit cards contain either 15- or 16-digit combinations, and there is a pattern to how those numbers are spoken that makes credit card numbers unique from other information that could contain numeric sequences, like addresses, dates, phone numbers, and pricing information, he adds.

"There are lots of ways to find credit card data within the recording, but just searching for the words 'credit card' in the data stream isn't enough," Flaks points out, noting that there could be a number of other reference points where those words could be used during a normal contact center interaction.

The technology redacts consumer credit card information in real time while the call recording is being processed within Marchex's secure datacenter. It is part of Marchex's Secure Call Analytics feature set, which includes the following:

  • Automatic encryption of call recordings, with configurable data retention rules;
  • Restricted data access with role-based permissions;
  • Caller opt-out of call recording; and 
  • Read-only call recordings within Marchex's Web interface.

Marchex estimates that 20 percent to 30 percent of phone calls to businesses contain payment information. It also notes that 142 million customer records were hacked in 2014.

"Call recordings are a valuable source of information for companies, but they're also a target for hackers," Flaks says. "This type of product is one way to eliminate that. As a business owner, this is one way to eliminate some of the risk."

"Analyzing call recordings is an effective way for enterprises to improve operational efficiency, customer service, and messaging," Flaks says. "Enterprises that accept credit card information have a secure, scalable way to do so in real time while safeguarding consumers' financial information."

John Busby, senior vice president of consumer insights and marketing at Marchex, says the product is a logical fit for Marchex, which deals with many companies that bring in a lot of revenue over the phone.

"Marketing can still get all the information it needs from the call recording," while customers' credit card information is still secure, he states.

That is a major concern at YMT Vacations. "Our reservation process requires a credit card, and it is critical that our customers' financial information is secure and confidential," said Tom Garrett, its vice president of marketing, in a statement. "Marchex's redacted recordings allow us to understand call center performance while safeguarding our customer data."

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Posted January 29, 2016