Monday, June 12, 2006

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

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

"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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