Skype's encryption codes are proving a problem for German police, who say that their officers are unable to monitor suspect conversations. One of the country's top cops admitted yesterday that the combination of VoIP technology and Germany's strict anti-surveillance laws — a reaction to the Stasi's exploits during the Cold War — is making it harder to keep tabs on criminal and terrorist activity in the country.
"We can't decipher it," says Joerg Ziercke, President of the BKA, Germany's Federal Police Office. "That's why we're talking about source telecommunication surveillance — that is, getting to the source before encryption or after it's been decrypted." He does not, however, advocate that the Talinn-based internet company gave law enforcers its encryption keys.
"There are no discussions with Skype," he continued, stating that he had no interest in harming a company's competitiveness. "I don't think that any provider would go for that." He did, however, express the need for his country's law enforcement agencies to be able to conduct online searches of suspects' hard drives using Trojan Horse spyware, but he stressed that these cases were rare.