Infineon Develops VoIP Mangling Technology

Infineon Technologies, best known for their memory products, has recently filed two patents (1, 2) for technology meant to deliberately interfere with voice over IP transmissions. New Scientist Magazine's patent news blog, Invention, reports that the German company has filed a patent application for a method of artificially creating a bottleneck for VoIP transmissions, effectively degrading the signal.

"According to the application, a machine on a computer network would analyse passing "packets" of information, distinguishing between data and voice ones. After identifying a series of voice packets, it would add extra "pseudo-packets" to the communications stream. These packets would be labelled as voice but actually contain nothing useful.

Next, a filter within the same device would let the data packets through unhindered but create an artificial bottleneck for anything labelled as voice. The mix of genuine voice packets and pseudo-packets would thus be delayed as well. The delay should be more than VoIP software can cope with, meaning the resulting speech flutters and warbles when decoded at the other end."

Infineon's second patent application is for a method of mangling the transmission of speech data over WiFi hot spots.

Infineon's patent applications come at a particularly relevant time as net neutrality debates rage around the web. The thought of this type of technology getting into the hands of a large telecommunications company that opposes net neutrality is chilling to say the least.