Signing contracts on the telephone

January 27, 2010

Internet telephony has developed from a niche product into standard technology in recent years. Most telephone providers switched their background technology to Voice over IP, or VoIP for short, long ago. BITKOM, the German association for information technology, cites the economical rates and additional functions such as interaction between e-mail and voicemail as the primary forces driving this change.

The fusion of telephone and Internet is also resulting in new business forms and services that must be secure against tapping and manipulation. For example, the possibility of concluding or changing contracts by telephone. With this in mind, the security experts at the Fraunhofer Institute for Secure Information Technology SIT in Darmstadt have developed software that provides legally-binding archiving of VoIP telephone calls.

Let's look at a possible application: A banker talks to a customer. This talk leads to a contract that is to be recorded in order to provide evidence. The banker presses the record button on his or her telephone, and the customer is automatically asked for consent. If the customer confirms, recording begins in accordance with the VoIPS principle, which is based on digital signature technology. The software from SIT divides the telephone calls into intervals and signs the transmitted data packets with corresponding metadata. To keep the separate packages from being stored in the wrong order, each interval is given a distinctive encoded "stamp". In this way, VoIPS combines all the important information on a stored call into an indivisible chain. Any changes to the calls will be noticed, no matter when the change is made.

VoIPS is suitable for all situations where companies, public authorities, banks or insurance companies want to store calls with a tamper-proof method in order to rule out later legal uncertainties. For example, VoIPS could be used for telephone banking or for recording conversations in hospital operating rooms. Based on the applicable standards for , VoIPS can be installed on any IP system.

Explore further: One Millionth Cisco Internet Protocol Telephone in Europe Shipped to BEC Denmark

Related Stories

Small Telephone Network With Peer-to-Peer

April 7, 2006

Siemens has developed a telephone system that doesn't require a switchboard. The HiPath BizIP telephones are directly connected to one another and communicate much like participants in an Internet file-sharing service (peer-to-peer, ...

Phishers Use Call Forwarding to Mask Fraud

April 28, 2007

A phishing attack uncovered by SecureWorks tries to entice victims into forwarding their telephone calls in order to thwart out-of-band authentication by banks.

Skype comes to iPhones on Tuesday

March 30, 2009

Skype has confirmed that a free software application enabling iPhone owners to use its Internet telephone service will be available in Apple's online App Store beginning Tuesday.

Recommended for you

Not another new phone! But Nextbit's Robin is smarter

September 2, 2015

San Francisco-based Nextbit wants you to meet Robin, which they consider as the smarter smartphone. Their premise is that no one is making a smart smartphone; when you get so big it's hard to see the forest through the trees. ...

Team develops targeted drug delivery to lung

September 2, 2015

Researchers from Columbia Engineering and Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) have developed a new method that can target delivery of very small volumes of drugs into the lung. Their approach, in which micro-liters ...

Team creates functional ultrathin solar cells

August 27, 2015

(Phys.org)—A team of researchers with Johannes Kepler University Linz in Austria has developed an ultrathin solar cell for use in lightweight and flexible applications. In their paper published in the journal Nature Materials, ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.