Company Plans "Revolutionary" Eavesdropping Technology To Help Governments Monitor Internet ChatsSubmitted by Ian56 on Thu, 11/22/2012 - 20:50
According to law enforcement agencies, the rising popularity of Internet chat services like Skype has made it difficult to eavesdrop on suspects’ communications. But now a California businessman is weighing in with what he claims is a revolutionary solution—a next-generation surveillance technology designed to covertly intercept online chats and video calls in real time.
Voice over IP chat software allows people to make phone calls over the Internet by converting analog audio signals into digital data packets. Because of the way the packets are sent over the Web, sometimes by a “peer-to-peer” connection, it can be complex and costly for law enforcement agencies to listen in on them. This has previously led some countries, like Ethiopia and Oman, to block VoIP services on “security” grounds. In the United States and Europe, too, VoIP has given authorities a headache. The FBI calls it the “going dark problem” and is pushing for new powers to force internet chat providers to build in secret backdoors to wiretap suspected criminals’ online communications.
In response, technology companies have rushed to develop new surveillance solutions. Dennis Chang, president of Sun Valley-based VOIP-Pal, obtained a series of patents related to online voice calls earlier this year. Among them is a “legal intercept” technology that Chang says “would allow government agencies to 'silently record' VoIP communications.”