This doesn’t sound like good news to skype. They were able to get away with their encrypted signaling and media protocol for so long. However, with the latest news of Taliban’s using skype to coordinate attacks against British and American troops will force them to work with the law enforcement officials
So what does it mean to support LI (Lawful Intercept) - Current mobile and landline calls can be wiretapped by a LI officers and listen to the conversation. The voice sample here is not packetized. It’s a normal TDM(Time Division Multiplez) PCM sample. Off course this requires that the suspect in voice conversation is the target and an approval is procured for wiretapping. In case of VoIP calls, and especially skype calls, the media or voice packets are encrypted and packetized. In order to listen to the conversation, you need to be able to decrypt the packet, which requires the understanding of the protocol. This is one of the big problems with the proprietary protocols. I’m surprised that FCC has not forced skype to support CALEA. Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act
Some tidbits from the news:
‘The trouble with this technology is that it is easily available but devilishly hard to crack,’ the source said. ‘The technology can now be accessed on mobile internet devices and the country’s mobile phone network is expanding rapidly.’
Sir David Pepper, the head of GCHQ, the British Government’s top-secret listening post, has told MPs that internet calls are ‘seriously undermining’ his organization’s ability to intercept communications.