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August 08, 2013
India Planning to Monitor VoIP Providers
By David Delony, Contributing Writer
India is poised to follow China in tracking VoIP providers, according to Business Standard.
The Intelligence Bureau of the country’s Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has suggested that ISPs offering VoIP should provide versions of popular software tailored to India. This means that it should be easier for the government to tap into VoIP conversations, just as China can track IP communications.
The MHA believes that it will be able to monitor and intercept communications that currently can’t be easily tracked. The country could block all VoIP services that don’t comply, including popular services like Skype (News - Alert), Yahoo Messenger, Google Talk, Asterisk and others.
The country could bar these services at the DNS level by blocking their domain names. The government could also tap into “honeypots” in order to catch unauthorized VoIP uses.
The MHA is planning to introduce new biometric ID requirements for new mobile subscribers in an effort to curb abuses.
The moves come after revelations of extensive surveillance by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA). Dubbed Project PRISM, the NSA collected tons of data given to them from major Internet companies, including Google (News - Alert) and Facebook.
The revelations came from documents leaked by Edward Snowden, a former Booz Allen Hamilton employee who fled the U.S. to Moscow via Hong Kong, becoming a folk hero in the process.
Users concerned about privacy, no matter where in the world they happen to be, could use an encryption scheme with VoIP for extra security. Well-designed cryptographic methods are in theory impossible to break. At the very least, the effort may be more trouble than it’s worth to break an encrypted phone call with current computing power.
“Encryption works. Properly implemented strong crypto systems are one of the few things that you can rely on,” Snowden himself told The Guardian.
Edited by Alisen Downey
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