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.

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • identicon
    DV Henkel-Wallace, 12 Jun 2006 @ 6:12pm

    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...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Eric, 12 Jun 2006 @ 6:38pm

    SkypeOut

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Andrew Strasser, 12 Jun 2006 @ 8:36pm

    If we don't stand up for ourselves then who will?

    Seriously, sometimes you have to take what you need or want. The Govt. in no way is your friend. Snippet from Free Geek today...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Brian, 13 Jun 2006 @ 8:35am

    Or, maybe instead of all the conspiracy theories, Skype is just running this promotion to increase usage in North America (GASP!). Sometimes it's just marketing, not a vast conspiracy to kill Vonage / fight the government / etc.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2006 @ 10:18am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2006 @ 11:52am

      Re:

      The FCC seems to be taking the position that they are federal regulators of all forms of "communication", just like their name says. This will make them incredibly powerful, and who doesn't like power? Spectrum management is becoming just a small sideline for them.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Johnny Violence, 13 Jun 2006 @ 2:30pm

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Jun 2006 @ 6:55am

      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

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2006 @ 12:00pm

    Maybe Skype plans to continue offering these "free" calls but adding on a monthly "Homeland Security Fee" ($19.95 ?).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Dave, 14 Jun 2006 @ 10:00am

    The reason the government would oppose this is quite simply because they can't really tax it. They reap huge amounts of money from communications taxes, not to mention the politics/lobbying of telecommunictations companies.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    rebecca alexander, 5 Dec 2006 @ 8:00am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Show Now: Takedown
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.