Stephen Lawson, IDG News Service, San Francisco Bureau
The top executive of VOIP (Voice over IP) provider Vonage Holdings Corp. is satisfied with regulators' response to a carrier that blocked Vonage's service but sees a broader danger ahead with technology for detecting the data service that customers are using.
In an interview Monday at the Spring VON (Voice on the Net) trade show in San Jose, California, Vonage Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Jeffrey Citron also said traditional carriers can't afford to compete all-out with Vonage and other VOIP upstarts despite having greater resources.[.....]
"I think it's a technical issue that extrapolates itself into a First Amendment issue," Citron said. Service providers that own infrastructure and deliver content or services over it now have the capability to look into the packets going to and from a customer's connection and determine what kind of service they are using and even the content of those packets, he said. It is technically possible for network operators to read e-mail, block e-mail messages based on content and limit access to Web sites, Citron said.
In addition to anti-competitive moves against VOIP companies and other content and service providers, the problem raises censorship issues, he said.
"What happens when the media property that owns distribution is owned by a religious group?" Citron asked. Laws should be brought up to date to prevent abuse, he said.
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