Join the Cyberspace Law Committee at the ABA 2004 Annual Meeting

Sunday, August 08, 2004

CLC Forum -- The VoIP Revolution and Key Effects on Legal Practice

Have you ever used your computer to make a phone call? No? Have you ever used it to send instant-messages? Well, IM technologies (which typically also include a voice option) are exactly those used in providing Voice-over-Internet-Protocol (VoIP) service. This morning's panel of Federal and State regulators, ISPs and telcos, generally seems in agreement that low barriers to entry, an intense competitive environment, and the certainty of rapid technological change all should support a hands-off stance for the regulators. Still, some State PSCs have begun general regulatory efforts, and there is nearly universal agreement that VoIP services should help fund "universal service" policies.

Even in a hands-off context (for as long as that lasts), here are some of the issues: conflicts among/between various PSC who DO begin to regulate; how to provide 911 or other emergency services?; should law enforcement interception of VoIP voice-traffic be facilitated by ISPs and other VoIP providers, and how can smaller providers bear the associated costs?

The Cyberspace committee's VoIP initiatives (currently jointly housed under the subcommittees on Connectivity and Internet Law) certainly will continue and evolve. If you'd like to learn more, first login to the Committee's LawHub (free registration required, but available only to Committee members) and then click here. Or, contact any of the following (the co-chairs of the two cyberspace parent committees): Richard Keck, David Satola, Hank Judy, or Tom Laudise.