Internet wiretaps pose security risks - experts

The US government has won court authority to wiretap telephone calls made over the Internet, but experts say such a plan faces technological hurdles and can lead to new security risks as well, an AFP report said.

The report said a federal appeals court ruled last week that the government had the authority to monitor VoIP calls on the same basis as regular phone calls, saying the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) also applied to cyberspace.

But a study released by a coalition of US high-tech industries said such a plan was not as easy as it seemed, and could create more problems than it solves, the AFP report said.

The report by the Information Technology Association of America concluded that "VoIP wiretapping would require either a massive re-engineering of the Internet itself or would introduce unacceptable Internet security risks."

The AFP report also quoted Vint Cerf, an Internet pioneer who was now a consultant to Google and a co-author of the study, as saying that there were key differences between the public switched telephone network and Internet calls, such as those by Skype or other Internet calling services.

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