Information Snooperhighway

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New FCC regulations would extend CALEA, the wiretapping law that requires phone companies to provide easy access to law enforcement, to Voice Over Internet Protocol providers. Critics question whether this is actually within the scope of the FCC's authority, and worry that the burdens of regulation will push innovation overseas.

UPDATE: Declan McCullagh reports—probably from the beach now that he's abandoned the swamps of D.C. for sunny California—that the National Science Foundation has shelled out some $300k to researchers at (the otherwise famously libertarian) George Mason University to develop software for just this purpose.

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  1. How are they distinguishing phone calls from any other realtime data connection? My understanding that VoIP is just a realtime audio going both ways? Is there a large fundamental difference between that and Text Messaging? How much different is text messaging from e-mail? Maybe my VoIP understanding is wrong and there is a fundamental difference in the way VoIP works. This would open a huge can of worms, and I don’t see how they can tip-toe around the slipperly slope. This seems very dangerous to me.

  2. Hmm lets see:
    Stem cell innovation pushed overseas? Check.
    Wireless technology innovation pushed overseas? Check.
    Reproductive technology innovation pushed overseas? Check.

    Why shouldn’t VOIP innovation go overseas?

  3. I hate when politics get involved with science. The politicians mess everything up, I wish we would have more scientist as politicians than greedy lawyers making the decisions.

  4. Don’t forget encryption technologies being pushed overseas.

  5. How famously libertarian is GMU, anyway? Isn’t it owned by the Commenwealth of Virginia, that is to say, THE STATE?

    Kevin

  6. “How famously libertarian is GMU, anyway?”

    Well I can’t speak for the rest of the university, but the econ dept. there is pretty strongly libertarian/free market.

  7. Declan moved to San Francisco. This time of year, if he’s writing at the beach he’d better be wearing his long johns.

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