Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services, such as Skype, are now gaining acceptance in the commercial and professional worlds. Aside from lovers and families connecting with each other from all over the globe, Skype is also allowing professionals and their patients or clients to communicate more effectively and efficiently. However, the more popular VoIP becomes with healthcare professionals as well as business, the more of a target it becomes with hackers.
Because people are slowly adopting VoIP as a replacement to traditional landlines, it’s easy to believe that it is just as secure. This illusion quickly dissipates when we begin to discuss security risks and how their systems are often just as vulnerable to security breaches as any other data sent over the Internet. VoIP systems simply do not allow adequate security for calls (Olague, 2009).
For medical and mental health professionals and the patients who rely on their professionalism, the consequences could be even more serious when they involve breaches of ultra-sensitive personal information. In the mental health world, imagine if the victim of a security attack were a psychiatrist, psychologist or counselor who encouraged a patient or client or will or will or to use a public VoIP system such as Skype and also promised confidentiality to a patient. Within the scope of routine counseling and psychotherapy discussions cover everything from unacceptable feelings to frightening behaviors that involve illegalities or immorality.
The possible damages then, that could result from such private, detailed conversations being leaked online would be unprecedented. Such considerations have not deterred the professional community from jumping on public VoIP systems such as Skype, however. Au contraire, many practitioners seem to consider it vogue to be the first in their communities to use these systems to connect with patients who can’t make it into the office for a session or two, without thoroughly investigating the appropriateness of these new technologies for health care.
Garfinkel, S. (2005, January 26) VoIP and Skype Security. Page 1. Retrieved March 11, 2010, from http://www1.cs.columbia.edu/~salman/skype/OSI_Skype6.pdf
p style=”padding-left: 30px;”>Olague, T. (2009, May 28). Advantages and Disadvantages of VoIP Technology. Retrieved March 11, 2010, from http://ezinearticles.com/?Advantages-and-Disadvantages-of-VoIP-Technology&id=2403118