Saturday, November 24, 2012

Surveillance Grid Moves Ahead With VoIP Spy Technology

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Brandon Turbeville
Activist Post

Once upon a time, privacy was not a word that was foreign to the English language. In that time long ago, police and governments would often have to manufacture an incident (like 9/11) in order to successfully push for more legal powers to monitor private conversations or access data without a warrant.

However, in 2012, the premise of the invasion of privacy is no longer necessary. Now, the debate itself is a foregone conclusion that agencies will be granted greater power to surveil the populace. The only question taken into consideration is what might be the best method that these organizations can utilize in order to take advantage of these coming powers.

Such is now the case with various Internet chat services like Skype and other companies or products utilizing Voice over IP technology, which law enforcement complains makes the task of eavesdropping on “suspects’” communications much more difficult.

As explained by MassPrivateI in the article, “Police want to covertly eavesdrop (spy) on voice over IP chats,” Voice over IP software allows for individuals to “make phone calls over the Internet by converting analog audio signals into digital data packets.”

The article continues by stating,
Because of the way the packets are sent over the Web, sometimes by a 'peer-to-peer' connection, it can be complex and costly for law enforcement agencies to listen in on them. This has previously led some countries, like Ethiopia and Oman, to block VoIP services on 'security' grounds. In the United States and Europe, too, VoIP has given authorities a headache. The FBI calls it the going dark problem' and is pushing for new powers to force Internet chat providers to build in secret backdoors to wiretap suspected criminals’ online communications.

In other words, law enforcement is irate that a technology exists that does not allow them to easily and illegally monitor the private conversations of American citizens. This, of course, ignores the fact that government technology is light years ahead of anything available to the average person. Thus, to believe that surveillance technology for VoIP software does not exist already is clearly naive.

Regardless, as is always the case when law enforcement and government claim they do not have enough sweeping power to “keep us safe,” they are swiftly granted more.

In this case, however, it is the private sector (joined at the hip with the government, military, and intelligence agencies at the highest levels) that is rushing in to save the day. Specifically, Dennis Chang, President of Sun Valley-based company VOIP-PAL, has recently obtained patents to what has been termed a “legal intercept technology” that would allow a host of government agencies to “silently record” VoIP communications.

Predictably, Microsoft has also applied for a similar patent that would allow an agency to “secretly intercept” communications via VoIP, amend the communications content, and store it. Although only recently announced to the public, the patent was filed as far back as 2009.

Chang’s VOIP-PAL patent was filed even earlier in 2007.

In the Microsoft patent, Patent Number 20110153809, it is stated that data that is linked with a request to establish a communication is “modified to cause the communication to be established via a path that includes a recording agent.”

Among the possibilities of the types of modification that may occur during this process, “adding, changing and/or deleting data within the data" are all potential methods of alteration.

After the data has been modified, it is then passed to a protocol entity which uses the data to establish a communications pathway than includes a recording agent which is then “able to silently record the communication” according to the patent application.

Yet one should not be under the impression that this secret intercept surveillance technology is directed only at programs like Skype. As MassPrivateI writes,
The technology could allow the monitoring of conversations, voice messages and video conferences over a variety of devices, including smartphones, laptops and gaming devices.
. . . . . . .
Communications that can be intercepted may be conducted over computers, laptops, set-top boxes, programmable consumer electronics devices, personal digital assistants (PDAs), smartphones, gaming devices, printers, computing devices in automobiles and home media centers, the application states.
With this new technology, individuals can be identified by their usernames and subscriber data, as well as by billing records that can associate usernames with names and addresses. This would make not only calls available for easy interception, but also “any other data streams such as pure data and/or video or multimedia data.”

Of course, it is now becoming well-known that governments and other militant privacy violators do not necessarily even need such technology. Nor do they even need the legal authority for access. This is because major companies like Skype have been notorious for easily surrendering users’ personal data, even at times volunteering to submit the information to the requesting agencies. In a recent report by RT, it was described how Microsoft-owned Skype eagerly handed over the data of one of its users to a Texas-based intelligence firm.

Yet the legal authority to grind the boot of the state further into the face of American privacy is not being neglected either. Considering the recent announcement regarding the infamous Senator Patrick Leahy’s revision of a bill allegedly designed to protect American’s privacy into one that actually eviscerates privacy even more, there should be little doubt that the global surveillance control grid is moving ahead unabated.

In the end, the new VoIP surveillance software is yet one more block in the Berlin wall of surveillance and globalized control. As the Brookings Institution has already stated, the labor and cost needed to monitor, evaluate, and store every form of communication and data within the borders of the United States is minuscule when compared to other products.

With this in mind, anyone who believes those in control of these technologies are merely making wish lists for the future will find themselves both surprised and disappointed soon enough.

Read other articles by Brandon Turbeville here.

Brandon Turbeville is an author out of Florence, South Carolina. He has a Bachelor's Degree from Francis Marion University and is the author of three books, Codex Alimentarius -- The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real Conspiracies, and Five Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident. Turbeville has published over 175 articles dealing on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville's podcast Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV.  He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) 


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Anonymous said...

Not being technology savvy, I always wondered how that work but erred on the side of caution by assuming that they could access that too. We're not even safe on the toilet any more. I just as well surmise that they've got a secret gadget in the toilet that reports back to the CIA, FBI, Pentagon, Dept. of Fatherland Security and local police how many times we go to the bathroom, whether we've done #1 or #2 and what brand of toilet paper we use. At some point, they'll figure out a way to mine that data and sell it the toilet paper companies for marketing purposes and designating bouts of exploding diarrhea as a terrorist act that will subject the individual to arrest under NDAA.

Anonymous said...

couldnt have said it better myself!!

Anglo Saxon said...

To Anonymouse November 24, 2012 8:06 PM.

Your silly side swipe at Germany (Dept. of Fatherland) will only be appreciated by the ill-informed, the stupid, and your ADL.

The UNITED STATES is a Motherland. In other words, the USA is the world's biggest bitch. Everyone outside the USA can see this. Pity those incarcerated inside its womb-like borders can't also.

If you want accurate parallels to Amerika's condition today, then you need to drop your childish obsession with "Nazi" this and "Nazi" that. What is now being reproduced by Washington DC, Chicago, and Manhattan is a re-run of Bolshevism in the post-'revolution' Russia: aka the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).

Anonymous said...

well nothing surprises me when microsoft/ciasoft is involved. they have been in bed together for long time, how do you think they got all the huge tax breaks at the start, and government contracts. well mostly because microsoft was installing backdoors in the computers it was selling to foreign countries like china. but they are now doing that as well ^^. i dont even know why people write about this $%^&, you want all this techno spying to go away, its really really f ing simple, shut them down, shut off service, put toys away for a year. when a world wide industry collapses over night and 150 thousand people from india to usa lose jobs, and those people go headhunting for the lawmakers,you will see the end of these dumb azz laws. idiots

SIP Training said...

It's quite extraordinary that this situation exists with the FBI and authorities having access to so much information whereas a person can spend 10 years in jail and pay a $500k fine for hacking their way onto a server. If the penalty is that big then obviously there is an acknowledgement that these security breaches shouldn't happen, even by the authorities!

Anonymous said...

To Anglo Saxon;please don,t be paranoid about the word NAZI,what I,m sure he meant by that word is control by the ELITES,yes the same as Germany was,but now it means the world-wide elites.By the way are they now saying the could have caught the Wall St crims if they had this technology? I believe the current laws would have done nicely enough IF APPLIED!

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