ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Can VoIP Calls be Wiretapped?

Updated on July 10, 2014
Wiretapping VoIP Calls
Wiretapping VoIP Calls

Wiretapping and the NSA

Wiretapping of phone calls has a long history in the United States with law enforcement agencies making use of the technology to record phone conversations by criminals in order to secure convictions. However, the technology was also misused in some instances leading to the creation of wiretapping laws which specified conditions under which law enforcement could utilize it. These laws are fairly strict and enforcement agencies need a court order before tapping any phone line.

With the recent revelations regarding the NSA and its surveillance programs, both business organizations and private individuals have become concerned that VoIP calls could also be secretly recorded and accessed by officials. Tapping VoIP calls however is more complicated than normal phone calls for legal and technological reasons. For one thing, VoIP is classified under information services and providers are not required to provide “lawful intercept” for government agencies, unlike telephone carriers.

How Easy is it?

At present, it is easy for agencies to search through email or text messages without court approval when compared to phone calls. As VoIP becomes more popular, it is likely that the government will try to expand the scope of existing wiretapping laws to cover it as well. Some experts are of the view that bringing VoIP into the purview of wiretapping laws will actually be better for citizens since a strict judicial process will then be required even though privacy advocates argue strenuously against any such move.

The other obstacles to intercept business VoIP users are technological. VoIP has the advantage that it is not tied to a physical location such as cellular towers or wires, making it difficult for police to track users. Additionally, users are increasingly accessing VoIP services from mobile devices such as mobile phones, tablets and laptops. In the case of business organizations, VoIP calls are usually encrypted and it can be expensive and time-consuming for law enforcement to break the encryption without help from the service provider.

The Legal Environment

Because VoIP providers are not obligated to provide lawful intercepts for enforcement agencies, there have not been many incentives for the development of such methods so far. Still, at least 2 companies have filed/obtained patents for “lawful intercept of VoIP communication”. While it is not clear if the technology has been made available to VoIP providers as yet, the FBI and police departments are not likely to lose such a golden opportunity. In spite of this technological advancement, until the laws are changed, VoIP is still the most secure form of voice communication available today.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)