Forget Messing With Vonage, Skype's Free Calls Plan Messes With The FCC

from the come-and-get-us? dept

Last month, we wondered if Skype’s surprising move to free up all local calls to US and Canadian phone lines was simply an attempt to sink the Vonage IPO (if so, perhaps it was mission accomplished). However, in light of the news that an Appeals Court has upheld rules that apply CALEA wiretapping laws to VoIP, Tim Lee is wondering if the move has a lot more to do with avoiding wiretapping regulation. First off, by being free, the company can make a stronger argument that the rules shouldn’t apply, as it doesn’t quite fall under the “quacks like a duck” test, the FCC likes so much. However, the second argument Tim makes is that, when push comes to shove, Skype might just threaten to turn off SkypeOut, rather than comply — and the larger the userbase at that point (free or not), the angrier those folks are likely to be, potentially creating a larger political problem for those supporting CALEA enforcement on Skype. Pretty sneaky, if true, but either way it could make for an interesting battle in the next year or so.

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Comments on “Forget Messing With Vonage, Skype's Free Calls Plan Messes With The FCC”

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DV Henkel-Wallace says:

Doubt it would cause any firestorm at all

Such a campaign would trivial to defuse via astroturf articles placed in newspapers. Like the one I saw the other day saying that net neutrality was bad for us all because some luddites wanted us to use an “unintelligent network” in which junior’s VOIP call, dad’s movie etc would all instantaneously stop working because some neighbours wanted to download a game…

Eric says:


I use SkypeOut and it is crystal clear! I give traditional phone service about 5 years before they start to seriously feel the heat. Remember, the “phone companies” are the same assholes that charged extra if you wanted a phone any color other than black. I’d love to see them belly up. Plus I lost my ass on Worldcom. Assholes.

Anonymous Coward says:

Do you really think the Govt. will allow forms of communication to be free from their view? Do you really want that?

Doesn’t matter if Skype charges for it or not, there can’t be something out there that terrorists or criminals can use to be safe.

Its all about communication, be it phone service, VoIP, email, chat rooms, whatever.

People bitch about the govt. not protecting us, not preventing 9/11, etc. Either they try to prevent bad things from happening, or they don’t, but you can’t have it both ways.

Johnny Violence says:

Re: Re:

I’ll pass. I don’t need more protection. Buy your own guns & protect yourself. The only way to take away more of your rights was to have a 9/11. It wasn’t going to happen any other way. No the FEAR tactic is in effect, all the cowaring monkeys will give up their privacy for a false sense of security.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Doesn’t matter if Skype charges for it or not, there can’t be something out there that terrorists or criminals can use to be safe.

As the late Orson Welles said, “Only in a police state is the job of a policeman easy.”

“Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes.” -> “Who will watch the watchmen.”

— Juvenal, circa 128 AD

rebecca alexander says:

vonage and skype

I have tried them both,they are not free,they suck,can’t call anybody and they understand a word. fuck it.go to a mexican store and buy a phone card. I have never seen a person from another country go through this shit,they go to a cheap store and buy a cheap card and don’t have to make a million calls toreturn the fucked up equipment.

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