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A New Hardware Voice Encryption Solution for VoIP Users

August 06, 2014

By Michael Guta, TMCnet Contributing Writer

Since Edward Snowden highlighted the lengths to which government agencies go to find who a suspect is  talking to, even ordinary individuals who have nothing to hide are getting paranoid. The allegation against the NSA tapping Angela Merkel's phone has made headlines, but more recently Israel might have done the same thing with John Kerry's phone while he was in the Middle East trying to negotiating a peace deal. Encrypting his voice calls might have helped if he had the JackPair, a new device that encrypts your voice call before it is transmitted to the person you are speaking to on the other end.

The good thing about the JackPair is you don't need to install any software, remember a password, and subscribe to a service; and it works with any phone with a standard 3.5mm jack. The device connects between the phone and a headset and with just a click of a button it starts to encrypt the conversation you are having.

It uses a one-time-secret-key (OTSK) that is created for both parties holding the conversation. Once the key is used, it is destroyed at both ends without ever leaving the JackPair. The company said the key is generated using the Diffie-Hellman-Merkle key exchange protocol, which creates shared information without exchanging it over the network. Because it is not stored anywhere, and it is immediately destroyed it leaves no trace, eliminating the chance it can be compromised.

Another benefit of the JackPair is you don't have to have a smartphone in order for the technology to work. It can be connected to all tablets, laptops, personal computers, most mobile phones, VoIP devices and traditional phones with RJ9 jacks.

If there is one issue regarding this type of technology, it is the need to have two or more devices in order to make it work. Consumers are looking to minimize the number of items they carry with them at all times, and having to plugin an external device might be too inconvenient for many people. However, there are individuals who will go to great lengths to ensure their privacy is protected at all times, and a small box may not be such a burden.

The JackPair is currently on a $35,000 Kickstarter campaign, and as of today it has raised $14,021 from 103 backers with 30 days to go. 

Edited by Alisen Downey

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