Verizon teams with Cellcrypt for encrypted voice service, aimed at government users

Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ) is partnering with wireless encryption firm Cellcrypt to create a new service called Voice Cypher that will offer enterprise and government users end-to-end encryption for voice calls on iOS, Android, or BlackBerry devices with a specialized application. Cellcrypt says the service features its military-grade encryption technology and is available through Verizon's website or by contacting a Verizon account rep. The service supports the Federal Information Processing Standard 140-2, and will work across cellular, Wi-Fi and satellite networks, including Verizon's LTE network.

Interestingly though, according to Bloomberg Businessweek, Cellcrypt and Verizon both say that law enforcement agencies will be able to access communications that take place over Voice Cypher, as long as they're able to demonstrate that there's a legitimate law enforcement reason for doing so. Seth Polansky, Cellcrypt's vice president for North America, pushed back against the notion that the company is exposing customers to government wiretapping when they think their communications are secure. "It's only creating a weakness for government agencies," he says. "Just because a government access option exists, it doesn't mean other companies can access it." 

As Bloomberg Businessweek notes, carriers are require by law to build networks that can be wiretapped, but are only forced to decrypt communications for the government if they have architected their networks to make it possible to do so. If Verizon and Cellcrypt had structured their encryption so that neither company had the information necessary to decrypt the calls, they would not be required to do so and would not be violating the law.

Tim Petsky, a senior product manager for Verizon Wireless, told Bloomberg Businessweek that government workers talking about sensitive but unclassified information and companies worried about corporate espionage are two kinds of customers that the carrier is targeting with the solution. Article

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