Summary: BT starts sending out nastygrams to companies which facilitate secure and standards-based communication
I have been having serious disputes with BT recently. It’s not the first time, either. I am currently speaking to managers there about their poor service that has gone on since January. My Internet connection’s socket being an utter disaster is not my sole reason for disliking BT though. The company has been attacking Linux using FUD and patents [1, 2]; now it goes after free protocols for secure communications using patents, based on this report from the British press which says:
VoIP-to-PSTN termination providers and SIP vendors will be watching their inboxes for a lawyer’s letter from BT, which has kicked off a taxing licensing program levying a fee on the industry, based on a list of 99 patents.
As noted in Australian telco newsletter Communications Day, the move seems to have caught the VoIP industry by surprise, with SIP Forum chair Richard Shockley saying the move has shocked the industry and is already frightening smaller players.
BT is a dangerous giant which seems to have aligned with Microsoft a little too often in recent years. Who is BT trying to defend here, Skype the spyware? Its overpriced landline business? This is an attack on the customers. If BT cannot be reformed by criticism, then hopefully it will suffer consequences for its behaviour. We really need secure communication in the age of Big Brother states. In the news today we have articles such as:
In a CNN interview about the Boston Bombings investigations, a former FBI counterterrorism agent admitted a startling (yet unsurprising) fact: “all digital communications” are recorded and stored. All of them. All phone calls, all e-mails and all social media interactions. According to him, there is definitely a way of retracing and listening to any phone call made on US soil. While most Americans ignore or deny this reality, the shaping of the USA into a heavily monitored police state is complete. Here is part of the CNN interview.
Skype is spied on and so are cellphones and landlines. So what’s left for secure long-distance communication? This is a privacy and civil rights issue, not just a matter of software freedom and open standards. █