Is VOIP Now the Go-To Tool For Gov’t Spying?

There’s an interesting article this week about a new Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General (IG) report on the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and some of the issues the Bureau faces in reviewing and processing evidence. One of the areas that is apparently singled out in the IG report is the review – or lack thereof – of audio recordings gathered as part of investigations.

It’s not clear what percentage of the audio recordings are telephone wiretaps, but it’s probably a fair percentage – and given that the total unreviewed audio runs to over a million hours, even a small percentage is, objectively, a lot of recordings.

What’s most interesting to me is an offhand comment at the bottom of the story:

“In some cases, the bureau explained, the technology that allows them to listen to phone calls means they create a new phone number, which telemarketers can then call, creating new recordings even after a warrant has expired.”

“[T]he technology that allows them to listen to phone calls means they create a new phone number” – to me, that sounds for all the world like a thinly-veiled description of voice-over-internet-protocol, or VOIP – and VOIP through a commercial provider like Skype or Callcentric or Vonage, at that.


Too bad the Bureau is so bad at reviewing the recordings, though; if they were more on-the-ball, they might be able to do something about the con artists and scammers who call cellphones and home phones and business lines and unlisted numbers over and over and over again. Hey, a guy can dream, right?

Published in: Geekiness, General, Security | on October 27th, 2009| No Comments »

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