Will the addition of backdoors that enable monitoring hurt the adoption of VoIP?


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Well, the fact that Skype is making chats and user data more accessible to police made the front page of Reddit this morning, so I would say that people are taking notice of it.  Even so, the constant stream of revelations about how little privacy we now have in many of our daily activities can have a desensitizing effect.  This sometimes leads me to ask, ala Bob Dole, "Where is the outrage?"


I don't buy the argument that if you aren't doing anything wrong you shouldn't mind being monitored.  I mind anytime someone is looking over my shoulder, whether or not I am doing anything "wrong".  One problem is that if you give away your privacy, probably for a superficially good cause, it is hard to recapture it.  It's kind of like that old saying, "Give them and inch and they will take a mile."  Remember The Patriot Act, supposedly drafted to fight terrorism.  Remember how quickly they started airing commercials saying if you bought marijuana, you were supporting terrorism?  It is just too easy to expand the original intent of a law to extents that are far beyond what was originally intended.   


I don't know if Skype is sharing records without warrants or not.  They shouldn't be, but who knows.  Maybe they just give up the data when asked, and charge police an "administrative fee" to turn it into a profit vector, just like AT&T, Verizon, et al are doing with cell phone records.


Until there is legislation to address the privacy issues of new and/or developing technology, such as VoIP, there is no guarantee of privacy for anyone really.  The tendency is actually the other way, in both the US and Canada, where there have been numerous attempt to actually increase warrantless police surveillance power.  I doubt it will be a serious drag on adoption, though, even though to a degree I think it should be.    

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