Congress Passes Law Banning Caller ID Spoofing

Caller ID Spoofing is when the Caller ID you see on an incoming call is not actually the phone number or company name associated with the caller’s telephone.

There are a lot of legitimate reasons caller ID’s are spoofed, for example a large company may have thousands of phones each with a different phone number, many companies choose to only display the company’s main number as the caller ID. One reason for doing this is if a person hits redial, they will be connected to the main number of the company and not the phone of the person who actually called them.

Of course, there are a lot nefarious reasons for “Spoofing” one’s Caller ID. Telemarketers in far away lands may want to appear as though they are calling from your area code or a scam artist is trying to convince you that he is from your bank and needs information about your account. You might believe this person if the Caller ID said the name of your bank in your area code.

This is what Congress is trying to prevent with the passage of the Truth in Caller ID Act of 2010.

Why we should care about Net Neutrality

We came across a great article on Broadsoft’s blog about Net Neutrality. There is a huge power struggle going on between the companies that provide internet service and companies that provide services that require the internet.

Voice over IP (VoIP) is just one of the thousands of services that require an internet connection.

One of the biggest issues being contested is the ability of internet service providers to favor their own content or limit access to content based on type. For example, Comcast, one of the leading internet service providers also provides internet phone service or VoIP, without a truly neutral internet, Comcast would be able to block other VoIP Providers such as Vonage.

Allowing internet service providers to limit consumers access to certain types of content, or favor their own brands would have a chilling effect on our entire economy.

For those of you who are not familiar with Broadsoft, BroadSoft is the leading, worldwide innovator of Voice over IP (VoIP) applications that is transforming how people connect, communicate and collaborate.

Vonage settles investigation for $3 million

NEW YORK — Voice over IP phone service provider Vonage Holdings Corp. has agreed to pay $3 million to 32 states to settle an investigation into some of its business practices.

In a filing with the Securities Exchange Commission, Vonage said it also agreed to provide refunds to affected customers.

Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said his office received complaints from consumers who said they found it difficult to cancel their service with Vonage amid pressure from the company to keep their accounts.

In Texas officials said that Vonage also failed to clearly tell potential customers that they needed high-speed Internet service to use Vonage, which offers cheaper calls by sending voice data over the Internet. Officials said those unable to use the service had to pay cancellation and other fees.

New Jersey.-based Vonage did not add any wrongdoing or violation by the company. In the SEC filing, Vonage said it agreed to make unspecified changes to its business practices, some of which the company had already implemented.

Maine’s attorney general, Janet Mills, said Vonage will revise what it discloses regarding offers of “free” services, money-back guarantees and trial periods.

The are 31 states sharing in the $3+ million settlement to cover legal and other miscellaneous costs, and any refunds owed by Vonage are in addition to the amount of the claim.

The are a host of other states participating in the settlement, These states include Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

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Senate Passes E-911 Compliance Law

Congress is trying to push through rules of the road for enhanced 911 service on Internet-protocol-enabled voice services before turning its attentions to getting re-elected.

However, it was not until the late 1990s that the market for T1 lines became very competitive and prices began falling to more reasonable levels, causing the demand to rise sharply among small and medium sized businesses. Even today most small business owners and managers still do not know how a standard T1 line works or what it is capable of providing. It would also call for the drawing up of a plan for a national IP-enabled emergency network for “citizen-activated” emergencies.

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association supported the bill, saying in a letter to Senate leaders in February, “When consumers dial 911 for emergency service, they should do so with confidence that their calls for help will be answered without regard to who provides their phone service or what technology they employ.”

The bill, H.R. 3403, is a compromise version of a similar bill that passed in the House. But with some amendments added on the Senate side, it now has to go back to the House for its approval, which is expected, various senators and staffers said.

Senate Commerce Committee chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) said they have been working with House members and that the bill should pass quickly. “We expect the House to act expeditiously so that this bill can become law,” he added, “allowing our 911 system to continue to save lives and ensuring that individuals can always call for help regardless of the underlying technology they use.”

The Federal Communications Commission paved the way for e911 service in 2005 with mandates that voice-over-IP providers deliver 911 service that linked to local operators after hearing from a parade of witnesses who talked of children dying and family members put at risk after calls to VoIP e911 services that did not do so.