Entry #46: Big Brother May Be Listening

Last modified on July 26th, 2008

This next post hits pretty close to home. I work in the field of voice over IP. I write software for my day job that allows people to talk to each other using two computers. A popular manifestation of the technology I work with everyday is Skype, which many people use to communicate with each other.

One of the benefits of Skype is that the entire conversation is automatically encrypted. In theory, this should mean that nobody, not even the government, would be able to listen in on your phone calls. However, a recent article speculates that there may be a backdoor in Skype that would allow governments or authorities to listen in.

Now, that may seem paranoid to some people. But you should know in the United States the government has strict rules regarding encrypted calls. The actual rules regarding digital communications in the states are governed by the Communications Assistant For Law Enforcement Act (CALEA). For example, if you setup an encrypted voice over IP call in the United States, you are legally required to somehow store the encryption keys used so that big brother can decrypt your call and listen in.

So with that in mind, the idea of a backdoor in Skype isn’t that far fetched. In fact, it’s likely there is a backdoor there, purposefully to satisfy the requirements for CALEA.

This entry was written for Blogathon 2008, and in support of the Union Gospel Mission charity. If you’d like to donate to the cause, please visit the blogathon donation page and fill out the form near the middle. You can also follow the blogathon RSS feed for this site by clicking here.

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