Wednesday, October 05, 2005

VoIP Tap-tap-tapping

The FCC has decided [PDF] that it will expect broadband ISPs and Internet phone services, such as Skype, that can route calls to the PSTN, to be wiretap ready by 2007. The new rules aren't new at all, but are an extension of the rules that already govern wiretapping on the PSTN. What isn't clear is how these rules apply to private businesses that have switched to VoIP; small businesses or individuals that provide WiFi or access points to the internet; or, what happens if these companies don't fall in line by 2007. As well, while companies like Skype are declaring themselves to be telephone companies -- it's not clear whether the FCC is on firm legal ground by lumping ISPs into the same group. Further, the FCC dropped another little bomb, when it implied consumers may only be allowed run applications or use services on their computers, if the software and services complied with the needs of law enforcement. While not law, it is a principle [PDF] that the FCC has decided to adopt to shape future policies. Do I hear a collective WTF? I'm glad I'm Canadian! And I hope we're not going to follow suit.

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