Microsoft has been granted a patent for a technology that could create wiretaps for several kinds of Internet communications, including video and voice calls over Skype, which Microsoft acquired in May.
Federal law enforcement agencies have had difficulties tracking and recording criminal and terrorist conversations online. Back in September, it was reported that law enforcement officials wanted to expand the government’s powers to wiretap Internet services. Microsoft’s new technology could help make this a reality.
The spying technology, called “Legal Intercept,” allows currently existing products to be modified to “cause the communication to be established via a path that includes a recording agent,” according to the filing with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Once a connection is established, the agent is able to “silently record” a conversation.
The filing specifically calls out the ability to record any kind of voice-over-Internet-protocol (VoIP) communications. “VoIP may include audio messages transmitted via gaming systems, instant messaging protocols that transmit audio, Skype and Skype-like applications, meeting software, video conferencing software, and the like,” Microsoft said in the filing.
Microsoft filed for the patent in Dec. 2009, long before it acquired Skype. It’s possible Microsoft simply had this on the books so it could profit from licensing the technology to law enforcement agencies. Alternately, Skype’s purchase could have been a strategic buy to help test and deploy this new technology.
The Federal Trade Commission approved Microsoft’s $8.5 billion Skype purchase earlier this month, which inches it closer to completing the acquisition. Microsoft said it expects to close the deal by the end of the year. …
Spying without reasonable cause to believe a crime is being committed is not permitted by the US constitution.
United States Constitution
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. (emphasis added)
It is clear that the spying which will result from this patent will be a violation of persons, houses and effects against unreasonable searches without probable cause.
The photo I added above an example of the “terrorists” on Skype that the government will be watching and recording. If Google’s slogan is “Don’t be evil.” what is Microsoft’s? Actually, it is this: “Be What’s Next.” Great. Let’s all jump three steps ahead to totalitarianism. That’s really cool technology, Microcreeper.