Can Encrypted VoIP Be Bad For VoIP?

An article in the New York Times today titled Voice Encryption May Draw U.S. Scrutiny starts out with the following sentence:

Philip R. Zimmermann wants to protect online privacy. Who could object to that?

The answer of course is no one except law enforcement agents. While I admire what Phil Zimmerman is doing I hate the fact that he is associating VoIP with the ability to encrypt conversations. The implication is for many that VoIP will be used to evade listening from law enforcement officials.

While Mr. Zimmerman clearly states this is not his intent, I still read an article today where VoIP is associated with the ability to keep others from listening in.

While the article touches on the fact that this technology can keep hackers from listening in I am left with a bad taste in my mouth.

Perhaps I am misreading this whole situation as Jeff Pulver has helped Zimmerman with this project and I can’t believe Jeff would do anything that would intentionally result in bad PR for the VoIP industry.

I just hope this article doesn’t result in a media frenzy where VoIP is presented as the ultimate tool for terrorist’s phone calls.

  • Onofrio ("Norm") Schillaci
    May 22, 2006 at 2:32 pm

    Although Pretty Good Privacy ( PGP ) provides secure communications using a Public Key method (where each user creates a public and shared key , and both keys are needed to exchange encrypted communications).
    You can bet that a government using higher performance computing platform can crack any high risk communications.

  • IP Convergence: Beyond VoIP, Beyond Cost Savings
    May 22, 2006 at 2:34 pm

    Encrypted VoIP

    Just read and commented on Rich Tehrani’s blog on how encrypted VoIP may be bad for the industry.

    What is your opinion?

  • Rich Tehrani
    May 22, 2006 at 2:39 pm

    I really hope this is the case. Hopefully we won’t see articles to the contrary. VoIP is changing the way the world communicates. Let’s hope those people who have something to lose through VoIP’s growth don’t use this as a platform to put doubt in people’s minds about this technology.

  • A Patriot
    July 24, 2008 at 6:59 pm

    I hope we’ll see secure, encrypted VOIP that’s easy to use. Along with smart phones, it’s among the best hopes we have for privacy right now, considering that the government listens in to all internet traffic without warrants.
    It’s not about having something to hide. Privacy is fundamentally important for its own sake, and for the sake of a free, democratic society.

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