The man behind Pretty Good Privacy, the public key encryption system many use to routinely encrypt their email, is to wave his cryptographic wand over VoIP communications. However, his new baby reportedly does not use public key:
Phil Zimmermann hopes that his secure Net phone-calling efforts will be as successful as his Pretty Good Privacy e-mail encryption program.
Zimmermann has developed a prototype of an Internet telephony application that encrypts calls to prevent eavesdropping. He plans to unveil the prototype on Thursday at the Black Hat Briefings security industry conference in Las Vegas.
"I am revealing this now because I want to help shape the direction of secure VoIP," Zimmermann said in an interview. VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol, the technology used to enable people to make phone calls using an Internet connection.
More from news.com here
There is a market for this sort of encryption on voice traffic, I guess - you could argue that you wouldn't want just anyone listening in on your calls to your girlfriend / wife / significant other... But just as PGP started a long debate on security and who's using it, and for what, so will this.
It's been reported that terrorists and organised crime use off the shelf encryption packages such as PGP when communicating over the web - This package would, in theory, allow them (as well as law-abiding individuals) real-time encryption of voice traffic as well.
What's the solution? A ban wouldn't work. It's been tried in the past, and it failed, abysmally
. Discuss this quandary, as well as the new system in the news forum here