VoIP Legal Issues

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Legal Issues Regarding Voip
Here are some legal issues regarding VoIP.
Constitutional Right
Generally speaking, net neutrality is the notion that all content, applications,
and services should be treated the same by Internet service providers
(ISPs). Net-neutrality proponents fear that network operators might
someday discriminate against certain types of information by charging fees
to particular content providers in exchange for guarantees of higher-quality
service or by blocking some content completely. Such a proposal may
sound innocuous enough, but the problem is that the proliferation of things
like streaming video and online gaming are taking up increasingly large
amounts of bandwidth and are sensitive to delay. This Internet congestion
can lead to the degradation of service for all Internet users. Slight delays
may hardly be noticeable in e-mail or web-browser applications, but can be
more serious for video-content providers or Voice over Internet Protocol
(VoIP), which allows people to make phone calls over the Internet.
(Summers, A. 2008)
Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act
Wiretaps have been used since the invention of the telegraph and have
been a legal element of the US law enforcement arsenal for more than a
quarter century. In keeping with law enforcement’s efforts to keep laws
current with changing technologies, in 1994 the US Congress passed the
Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA). The law
proved to be controversial because it mandated that digitally switched
telephone networks must be built wiretap enabled, with the US Department
of Justice in charge of determining the appropriate technology standards.
The law provided speciļ¬c exclusion for “information services.” Despite that
explicit exemption, in response to a request from the US Federal Bureau of
Investigation (FBI), in August 2005, the Federal Communications
Commission (FCC) ruled that broadband voice over IP (VoIP) must comply
with CALEA. Civil liberties groups and the industry immediately objected,
fearing the ruling’s impact on privacy and innovation. There is another

community that should be very concerned. Applying CALEA to VoIP
requires embedding surveillance technology deeply into the protocol stack.
The FCC ruling undermines network security and, because the Internet and
private networks using Internet protocols support critical as well as
noncritical infrastructure, national security as well. The FCC ruling is a step
backward in securing the Internet, a national and international priority.
(Landau, S. 2005)
Preservation of Evidence regarding VoIP
The Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is designed for voice
communications over IP networks. To use a VoIP service, an individual only
needs a user name for identification. In comparison, the public switched
telephone network requires detailed information from a user before creating
an account. The limited identity information requirement makes VoIP calls
appealing to criminals. In addition, due to VoIP call encryption, conventional
eavesdropping and wiretapping methods are ineffective. (Irwin, D. & Slay,
J. 2011)
References
• Irwin, D. & Slay, J., (2011). Extracting Evidence Related to VoIP Calls.
IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology. 361 (e.g. 2),
pp.221-228
• Landau,S, (2005). CALEA and Network Security. IEEE SECURITY &
PRIVACY. e.g. 32 (e.g. 2), pp.26-27
• Summers, A, (2008). Net Neutrality or Government Brutality?. The
Freeman. 2 (e.g. 2), pp.3-11

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