VoIP Security and Encryption

VoIP Security and Encryption

In the age of electronic #communications, governments don't like to know that there are certain #technologies that are beyond their control. With the traditional PSTN phone system, tapping a call was not a problem. You just need to monitor the line and there was an established procedure for contacting a telephone company for obtaining the call records. VoIP came in and changed all that.

There are many #inherent problems when it comes to tracing VoIP calls. For one, it's over the Internet and so there's no telling what route an IP packet will take unlike a regular landline telephone. Also, the legal framework is not fully in place. VoIP providers may defend themselves and say that they merely provide a service. How others use it is none of their #business. Nevertheless, governments have been able to obtain call records from such services and many software developers are actively working on allowing backdoor access. Skype is one famous example.

The true problem with tapping VoIP calls is technology. Certain services like Skype enforce strict encryption policies which makes the data completely unusable to an eavesdropper. Which is why the only recourse is to turn to the service provider themselves. But even here, there are systems allowing for completely secure encrypted communications inaccessible even to the owners of the application. It's one of the reasons why a few countries have banned the use of these encryption methods - futile as that may be.

The Internet and governments have always had an uneasy relationship. Blackberry for example has had famous duels with countries like India who cannot comprehend that some messages are just designed to be secure from the ground up. The Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES) system is designed in such a way that only the owners of the system have access to the messages. This means that any government requiring call content logs need to apply to the firms themselves. This naturally doesn't sit well with those in power

But what can you do about it? Nothing. And there is evidence that these powerful tools are now becoming available to regular customers as well. MyCelial Communications has released a software known as "Spore" that integrates with the Android phone system and allows for completely secure VoIP calls that even MyCelial themselves cannot decrypt or track. Many feel that customers are not really interested in secure communications, but how long will it be before a popular VoIP application incorporates foolproof security into its system from the ground up? What will governments do then?

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Author: Regular Articles
Bhagwad is an expert consultant on San Francisco hosted VoIP. He also specializes in business class VoIP.
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