Psst! The FBI Is Having Trouble on the Line

Law enforcement faces issues in dealing with voice-over IP

The FBI is aware of the massive technological blind spot that allows criminals and terrorists to communicate undetected on American soil. But so far, it can't figure out what to do about VOIP--short for voice over Internet protocol, the dirt-cheap phone service that lets users make calls via their cable or DSL modems. Law-enforcement snoops can't tap into conversations or identify the location of callers, even with court orders authorizing surveillance. Given that the number of Internet phone users is expected to triple this year, to 2.8 million, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) last week responded to a petition from the...

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