A new spying technology could allow government agencies to 'silently record' conversations on Internet chat services such as Skype in real.
A California businessman has obtained a patent for a 'legal intercept' technology, he said 'would allow governments to "silently record" voice over internet protocol (VoIP) communications'.
Dennis Chang, president of VoIP-PAL, a chat service similar to Skype, claimed his technology would allow authorities to identify and monitor suspects merely by accessing their username and subscriber data.
According to the patent, they could also be tracked down by billing records that associate names and addresses with usernames, the Daily Mail reports.
Such a capability would make not only audio conversations, but 'any other data streams such as pure data and/or video or multimedia data open for interception', the report said.
According to the report, Skype was last week forced to pull its password reset function after vulnerability was revealed that allowed hackers to hijack accounts using just their victim's email address.
The security flaw allowed an attacker to reset the password of any Skype users, locking victims out of their own accounts and giving the hacker total control.
Internet users who are paranoid enough to use false subscriber data and services to mask their IP addresses could be able to circumvent the identification.
But Chang's patent would nevertheless restructure the way VoIP data is sent over the Internet to make it much easier for authorities to track calls, the report said.
Governments worldwide have been hunting for new ways to hack into their citizens' communications online, with the various online services severely hampering their ability to conduct surveillance, the report said.
The patent filed by Chang's company marks just one entrant into a battle to capitalise on this race to provide the next generation of online surveillance technology, it added. (ANI)