German Police Unable To Decipher Skype Encryption

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Skype’s encryption is giving the German Polizei a hard time. Apparently they are having severe troubles to decipher encrypted messages.

“The encryption with Skype telephone software … creates grave difficulties for us,” Joerg Ziercke, president of Germany’s Federal Police Office (BKA) told reporters at an annual gathering of security and law enforcement officials.

“We can’t decipher it. That’s why we’re talking about source telecommunication surveillance – that is, getting to the source before encryption or after it’s been decrypted.”

Skype and other VoIP services are difficult to intercept because they work by breaking up voice data into small packets and switching them along thousands of router paths instead of a constant circuit between two parties, as with a traditional call.

In the NZ Herald article they primarily point out the importance of tapping into some people’s conversations since they could be potential terrorists.

“We currently have 230 proceedings related to suspected Islamists,” Ziercke said. “I can imagine that in two or three of those we would like to do this.”

But it sounds like they aren’t planning to do anything about it

“There are no discussions with Skype. I don’t think that would help,” he said, adding that he did not want to harm the competitiveness of any company. “I don’t think that any provider would go for that.

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