Comment: EU wants to intercept encrypted VOIP communications

Italian authorities are taking the initiative in a European Union (EU)-wide effort to terminate the tacit immunity of voice-over-Internet-protocol (VOIP) communications from authorized interception. Italy’s delegation to Eurojust, an EU coordination body tasked with combating transnational organized crime, issued a statement last weekend, promising to spearhead a project to “overcome the technical and judicial obstacles to the interception of internet telephony systems”. The statement contains several references to Skype, a Luxembourg-based VOIP provider that has so far reportedly refused to share its communications encryption system with government authorities. Because of this, the latter have accused Skype of providing organized crime syndicates with the ability to communicate without fear of their messages being intercepted.

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British authorities admit to hacking computers

The British Home Office has joined an EU-wide agreement that prompts European law enforcement agencies to resort to computer hacking (termed “remote searching” in the official document) in order to combat cyber crime. Commenting on the move, a spokesman for the UK Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) admitted that British law enforcement and intelligence agencies already conduct “a small number” of such operations every year. Specifically, the spokesman said that “remote searching”, which allows the authorities to covertly examine the contents and activity of targeted computers, was employed during “194 clandestine searches […] of people’s homes, offices and hotel bedrooms”. Read more of this post

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