Swiss test VoIP wiretapping software

In a bid to prevent criminals using VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) the Swiss government is testing a new software system that it is hoped will be able to track VoIP phone calls. According to the Swiss newspaper SonntagsZeitung the system works by infecting the target computer with a Trojan horse virus that enables law enforcement officers to listen to VoIP calls.

Nov 16, 2006
By David Howell
Harriet Harman

In a bid to prevent criminals using VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) the Swiss government is testing a new software system that it is hoped will be able to track VoIP phone calls. According to the Swiss newspaper SonntagsZeitung the system works by infecting the target computer with a Trojan horse virus that enables law enforcement officers to listen to VoIP calls.

The system has been developed by ERA IT Solutions. As anti-virus and firewalls can’t currently detect the Trojan program it can transit the calls from the target PC back to a central server without interruption.

The rise of VoIP telephones has been raised by law enforcement agencies. Detective Superintendent Stuart Macleod outlined the concerns of the Data Communications Group (DCG) that reports to the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), HM Revenue and Customs and the Serious and Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), amongst other agencies.

He said: “At present, law enforcement agencies have great difficulty in tracing the origin of VoIP calls. This poses significant threats to our democratic society and it is for this reason that the DCG believes that it must be mandatory for VoIP service providers to be required to retain adequate records in respect of calls made using this technology.

“Without these records, VoIP services will become the communication method of choice for criminals and terrorists, secure in the knowledge that their activities are untraceable by law enforcement agencies. If this situation is allowed to emerge because of inadequate regulation, then the DCG believes that criticism of government and those responsible for implementing regulatory controls will be huge.”

It is hoped that the new software will deter criminals hoping to use VoIP to obscure the origins of calls made.

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