News FBI Seeks Internet Telephony Surveillance

    Date28 Mar 2003
    CategoryGovernment
    2909
    Posted ByAnthony Pell
    The Justice Department and the FBI ask regulators for expanded technical capabilities to intercept Voice Over IP communications... and anything else that uses broadband. The FBI and Justice Department are worried that Voice Over IP (VoIP) applications may become safe . . . The Justice Department and the FBI ask regulators for expanded technical capabilities to intercept Voice Over IP communications... and anything else that uses broadband. The FBI and Justice Department are worried that Voice Over IP (VoIP) applications may become safe havens for criminals to communicate with one another, unless U.S. regulators make broadband services more vulnerable to lawful electronic eavesdropping, according to comments filed with the FCC this month.

    The government filing was prompted by the efforts of telecom entrepreneur Jeffrey Pulver to win a ruling that his growing peer-to-peer Internet telephony service Free World Dialup is not subject to the regulations that govern telephone companies.

    Free World Dialup has been called "Napster for Phones." It's a free service aimed at developing Internet telephony as a mainstream alternative to the public switched telephone network. After an initial investment of about $250 for a Cisco SIP telephone -- a device that functions much like a conventional analog phone, but plugs directly into an IP network -- users can "dial" each other over the Internet anywhere in the world at no cost. Free World Dialup provides a directory service that assigns each user a virtual telephone number, and sets up each phone call. Since it was launched in November, the service has gathered over 12,000 users.

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