Gold'en Rant : Mobile phone VOIP security - what a joke

It seems that, just as the main cellular networks - Orange and Vodafone - are releasing new and improved all-you-can-use mobile data tariffs to meet the major ad campaign for T-Mobile's flat-rate Web'n'Walk service, that they are also clamping down on VOIP services.

T-Mobile has already said that it will warn and even suspend users that use VOIP services across its non-premium mobile data service, whilst Vodafone and Orange are reportedly crippling the VOIP facilities on many of the new handsets.

One of the new mobile VOIP carriers, Truphone, has gone on record as saying it's thinking of suing Vodafone over its new port blocking strategy.

But how do the mobile networks know that their GSM and 3G users are using VOIP services? Simple - they're monitoring usage and looking for patterns that indicate punters are using mobile VOIP services.

Unconfirmed reports even suggest that they are monitoring and recording the VOIP transmissions at their NOCs (Network Operation Centres) just in case subscribers start complaining.

And here's the bad news: The Interception of Communications Act doesn't apply to mobile VOIP transmissions. It doesn't even apply to services like Skype.

In fact, there's not a lot of privacy legislation that can protect you from mobile VOIP calls from being monitored by any third parties.

Contrast this with the protection you get when using circuit-switched cellular (and landline) services.

This situation is quite awful when you think about it. It's one thing to have cellcos carrying out their draconian monitoring, but quite another when you think about the ramifications of someone monitoring your mobile VOIP calls for business or personal espionage purposes.

As my old internal auditor boss used to say: "Just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they're not out to get you Steve..."