The Big Brother conspirators out there have always been quick to question advances in technology and to assert that these advances were all to allow the government to spy on your every move. Regardless of your feelings about that, there are several VoIP providers that have been collecting patents and running testing with regards to allowing government and law enforcement agencies access to communications via a back door in the infrastructure. We are not talking small, never-heard of or utilized providers but major players, including Microsoft.
Something Orwellian is Brewing
This fight for the digital wiretapping has been apparently going on since 2007, according to a report from Network World. In 2007, a company known as Digifonica Limited filed a patent for VoIP wiretapping, and just two years later in 2009, after they acquired the ever-popular online communication forum, Skype, Microsoft filed for a similar patent. Apparently, according to the Network World report, another company called VoIP-Pal had patents even before that, and now holds a slew of them after they acquired Digifonica in May 2012.
VoIP-Pal is very confident about the future of VoIP phone service, which is predicted to grow exponentially by 2015 to more than 410 million subscribers. They wasted no time getting to work on testing these patents, just a few months after the acquisition, they announced they had successfully completed a beta test of the VoIP wiretapping. The company explained what they are calling ‘Lawful Intercept,’ as being a technology that will meet the demands of government and law enforcement entities with regards to easily intercepting calls. They even went on to suggest that services such as Skype get up to scuff soon with the offering of wiretaps by these officials.
Something Wicked, or Business as Usual?
Whenever the subject of government surveillance comes up, people are quick to cry injustice or invasion of privacy, but is this really all that different from current practices? After all, these entities already have the ability to tap phone conversations and dump information from cell phones. The ability to access the conversations is different than a stripping of rights because the law enforcement or government agencies would still need a warrant if they wanted any of the information to be admissible in court. At its core, talk of these patents seems more aimed at a scare tactic when really it is just business as usual.
It is not known how many VoIP providers plan on offering this backdoor method to tapping conversations and data exchanges, but do not fear that this will limit your rights or send you into a dystopian existence, the judicial system still exists to protect your rights.