Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/08/16/mobile_encryption/

Standard mobiles can now be used for encrypted calls

Good news for Royals

By Guy Kewney

Posted in Mobile, 16th August 2006 10:37 GMT

A new piece of encryption software "that would have made it impossible for the alleged tapping of mobile phones belonging to the Royal household, ministers, MPs, and celebrities to take place is set to be launched in the UK," by One Day Mobile.

A pre-announcement has been issued, saying: "Babylon nG, available from One Day Mobile, has been jointly developed with German partners Safe-com and the military and can be used on 2.5 and 3G mobile telephones and smartphones. Users simply install the software which enables them to encrypt some, or all, of their conversations."

The drawback, of course, is that the data channel has to be used, not the voice channel. The voice call is encrypted, and a plain data stream sent across GPRS. The result will almost certainly be secure, but there's no guarantee of smooth and continuous transmission.

With voice calls, GSM phones are rigorously specified to introduce no more than a fraction of a second of delay between the speaking at one end, and the sound being heard at the other. No such requirement applies to GPRS, which means there can be jerkiness, delays, and other glitches.

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