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[ NNSquad ] 911 vs Airplanes?

The VoIP liability message is completely wrong!!!! Remember that the mere
appearance of a 9-1-1 call attempt is signal and that can get through an IP
network with redundant paths more reliable than over a system that requires
miles of copper pairs stay intact in an emergency. Of course IP over that
copper pair is a problem -- but that's what happens when ask a telephone
company to design a reliable system -- they paste QoS stickers everywhere
and then say that failures simply don't count. 

People have died because of VoIP reliability -- or, more to the point,
because cellular systems insist on voice or nothing so you can't get out a
life-or-death message because you don't get "pin-drop" quality voice.

This is a fatal (literally) flaw in the QoS model -- some third party knows
without any doubt what a valid message is and isn't. Thus we have a brittle
9-1-1 system only available to those able to dial a phone that they happen
to be near in any emergency and it goes to a dispatcher who has one try at
getting it right.

We've become inured to the fatally flawed systems we use now and declare
everything else to be wrong no matter how much better it really is. 

I don't want an ISP's intelligent design mentality to cost me my life
because of the presumption that POTS is, by definition, the only reliable
means of communications.

You should also read the book, Fatal Words, about airline crashes caused by
this same attitude in aviation.

If ISPs claim that they must give voice priority to save lives then they
must take responsibility for the deaths they cause by preventing other means
of communicating.

-----Original Message-----
From: nnsquad-bounces+nnsquad=bobf.frankston.com@nnsquad.org
[mailto:nnsquad-bounces+nnsquad=bobf.frankston.com@nnsquad.org] On Behalf Of
Lauren Weinstein
Sent: Wednesday, March 12, 2008 17:09
To: Brett Glass
Cc: Lauren Weinstein; nnsquad@nnsquad.org
Subject: [ NNSquad ] Re: Moderation policy (and previous message from Brett

Let's get past the airline bomb analogy.  A bomb's sole purpose is
to destroy and terrorize, and whatever "damage" is done by P2P is
ancillary to P2P's purpose, not P2P's purpose itself.  When someone
triggers a purposeful DDoS attack, that's damage for damage's sake.

But Brett's concern about VoIP liability is a valid one, though I
tend approach the question from a different angle.  The trend in the
VoIP industry seems to be toward disclaiming any responsibility for
handling emergency calls reliably -- in some cases I've even seen
stickers on VoIP phones warning that they shouldn't be used for
emergency purposes.   

Much of this issue has revolved around E-911 capability problems,
but concerns about VoIP availability under heavy load (either due to
the emergency itself or other factors, such as overall Internet
traffic characteristics at any given point in time) have increasingly
been noted.

Since most Internet access networks are not engineered to traditional
telco POTS availability standards, the risks of emergency calls on
most consumer or enterpise VoIP systems can be considerable.  For
that matter, in serious regional emergencies, even conventional POTS
can fail.  Having lived in L.A. my entire life, I can testify to the
range of riots, fires, landslides, earthquakes, and other
biblically-inspired disasters locally where I've seen all my phone
and Internet circuits go down.  And that's not counting the guy
who ran his car off the street and sheered away my local B-box.

Which brings us to an interesting question.  Is it even reasonable
to be considering the use of VoIP for emergency calls in the current
Internet environment, given the wide variety of factors that come
into play (including but not limited to QoS considerations)?

NNSquad Moderator

 - - -

Brett Glass wrote:
> Yes, I know that to some who don't operate networks for a living the 
> analogy might seem "over the top." But it's not. Just as a bomb is 
> destructive and can hurt innocent people, P2P is destructive to networks
> and hurts innocent users. And, yes, there can be harm to life and limb, 
> because people rely on VoIP to serve as their telephone. I worry, day 
> and night, that if I don't provide absolutely reliable service someone 
> will be hurt and that I will be held liable. This is no joking matter;
> networks MUST be reliable.
> --Brett Glass