Late last year, this blog covered a proposal drafted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that would grant them the ability to survey VoIP communication. Now, a VoIP service provider, VoIP-Pal, has successfully tested its new Lawful Intercept Technology (LI) that will allow law enforcement agencies to tap any VoIP call without either calling party knowing.
The company has been granted a patent from the U.S. Patent Office and there is a belief that this government could soon start insisting or even requiring all providers to support the LI access.
"It is only a matter of time when it will become mandatory for all VoIP service providers," VoIP-Pal CEO Dennis Chang said in a recent Venture Beat article.
Before you freak out, start yelling at big brother and think about going "off the grid," there is a logical reason for this innovation and its importance.
First off, unlike traditional phone services, it is much harder to wiretap VoIP because it is not directly tied to a physical location. Second, the voice data contained within a VoIP call can be encrypted in such a way that it is increasingly difficult for law enforcement to crack.
Wiretapping is a critical tool for law enforcement agencies to have access to, when they have the reasonable evidence of suspicious or unlawful activity. This is not the Prohibition Era and there are laws in place to prevent the abuse of this process.
Residential and business VoIP customers should expect no change in the way that their VoIP service operates. This will prevent criminals from using VoIP services to circumvent the risk of wiretapping. Companies that are interested in the solution should still partner with an IT consulting firm to implement a new phone system.
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