In this article the Guardian unveils, that for years on years they have been ignoring technical developments — like peer-to-peer networking, VoIP or Skype telephony. Only now, when these technologies get broadly adopted, they want to police users — under the pretext that their main concern would be VoIP’s inability to deliver a 999 service. In actual fact they are scared, that criminals could start to use the anonymity of Skype to hide their communications.
I believe that criminals are already doing this. They have never been slower that the police in adapting technology. In actual fact, I speculate, that the really hard nosed criminals already have a plan in place for the moment when the police actually starts to monitor VoIP traffic and when ISPs have to disclose every VoIP connection to the law enforcement agencies.
Think of a scenario using zombies to act as gateways from a p2p network into the VoIP infrastructure. Those who get their computers confiscated by the police are simple citizens and SMEs. Only after months of careful investigation the police might be able to find out, that …oooops…. they’ve confiscated the machines of the innocent, criminalized the not guilty, devastated the lives of naive users, but that they are nowhere near the perpetrators.
The headlines will be “Hundreds of Computers Seized in Crackdown on Organised Crime”. The everyday citizen will pay the price. And the press will go silent not to unveil yet another police blunder. It is about time law enforcement gets creative and starts thinking ahead, rather than embarking on more big brothering.