The Federal Communications Commission has voted 5 – 0 to subject voice over IP communications to the same laws that apply to eaves dropping over conventional telephone calls.
Whilst VoIP is cheap alternative to making standard telephone calls, especially over long distance, it is rather difficult to tap. The vote means that VoIP is now subject to the 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA), and that assistance is basically a requirement that your VoIP chat has a back door in it so that federal law enforcement agencies can listen in without telling you.
FCC chairman Michael Powell said: “Our support for law enforcement is unwavering. It is our goal in this proceeding to ensure that law enforcement agencies have all of the electronic surveillance capabilities that CALEA authorizes to combat crime and terrorism and support homeland security.”