December 16, 2003
The beginning of the regulated internet

Some notes on JOHO the Blog concerning the regulation of Voice over IP, as telephony is set to disappear completely as an independent infrastructure. Kevin Werbach is absolutely right in saying:

...the real issue is the transformation from the Internet as a subset of telecom to telecom as a subset of the Internet. That means treating voice as an application that can run on any platform, not as the platform itself. The regulatory status of VOIP is just the tip of the iceberg.

The reflex "But how do we control this" seems completely out of place when viewing VoIP from an Internet perspective. If heavyhanded regulation is implemented, the arms race of P2P (in the guise of filesharing) against the music industry will be duplicated as an arms race of P2P (in the guise of voice messaging) against governments. The opportunities to circumvent VoIP regulation are simply too many for any local and fair regulation to be possible, and I frankly don't see how governments can win and serve the interests of their citizens at the same time:
If wiretap provisions were extended to the IP network of the internet, would public access points at libraries and schools be shut down? What about access through company networks. Cryptography enables information hiding on so may levels that it seems absurd to legislate other than through a complete ban.

Posted by Claus at December 16, 2003 01:11 AM | TrackBack (0)
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