TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Vonage's Citron Says VoIP Blocking Is 'Censorship'

Re: Vonage's Citron Says VoIP Blocking Is 'Censorship'
8 Mar 2005 06:57:27 -0800

Isaiah Beard wrote:

>> My local convenience store and drugstore carry certain newspapers, but
>> not all for my area. Does that mean they are _censoring_ the ones
>> they don't sell? According to Vonage they are.

> You comparison is overbroad and overreaching, and compares apples to
> oranges.

> I would think of it more this way: let's say that your phone company
> provider, be it Verizon or other LEC, decided that profanity should no
> longer be used on its phone lines, and installs special filters to
> capture and "bleep out" such speech. Would that be acceptable?

Actually, I think a more proper analogy would be them not letting
me call certain destinations, rather than the content of the call

I want to clarify some confusion I had -- I misunderstood that the
blockage was done by an ISP, not apparently a telephone company. ISPs
are totally free market and they can do what they choose, blocking or
not. Local telephone companies are regulated "critical service"
carriers and as such have more obligations.

Charles Cryderman wrote:

> I totally agree with this. But remember the courts do as they
> please. A case in point. A very religious married couple in Ann Arbor,
> Michigan owned a apartment building. Because of their religious
> beliefs, chose not to rent to un-married persons. Now this was private
> property and their religious beliefs told them not to, but the courts
> ruled that they were in violation of the law. So in essence the court
> said, your right to do as you wish with you private property and to
> follow your religious teaching do not exists. What takes precedent,
> the Constitution or laws made by Congress? I was taught that nothing
> supersedes the Constitution yet the courts do it all the time.

That's a good point.

Actually, in your specific example, court decisions have gone both
ways. In some cases a 'mom and pop' apt owner, say of a duplex, can
exercise their religion to deny to a unmarried or gay couple; but
that's a pretty isolated narrow situation.

> See this a misconception that the VoIP providers do not have to follow
> some regulations. What they want to insure is that they do not have to
> collect a bunch of crap taxes and fees per line. In my opinion none of
> the companies should be forced to do this. But these providers do pay
> into these. For the lines that they install to terminate to they are
> paying E911, sales tax and into the universal service fund. Just not
> for the customer access side. Why? because the law requires these fees
> based on a telephone line, not access to making telephone calls.

Not paying into those 'taxes' saves them a heck of a lot of money and
allows them to undercut their competition. Given that benefit, it's
wrong for them to turn around and demand that same competition help

To me it's like I set up a hot dog cart in the parking lot of a
convenience store (that also sells hot dogs) and I get the govt to say
it's ok for me not to pay taxes for my spot that the host store has to
pay. Now I'm demanding the host store provide me with hot dogs as
well for me to sell.

Perhaps another analogy would be people who ride on the bumper of a
bus for free, and then complain if the bus is discontinued for lack of

> Did you notice as well, Pat that all along we have been talking about a
> ISP doing this. It wasn't, it was a regulated telephone company that did
> it. So all the brew-ha-ha about ISPs wanting freedom from regulation had
> nothing to do with it after all.

I correct myself on this -- a regulated local telephone company has
different obligations than an ISP. But to me it's still cream

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