IT Confidential: Wiretapping, Privacy, Swiss Bank Accounts

Feds are looking closely at VoIP vendors ... Google plan gets panned ... new corporate CIO sets sail at Carnival ... JBoss shows its funny side.

John Soat, Contributor

April 9, 2004

3 Min Read

Vendors of voice-over-IP services know the feds are looking closely. Cox Communications last week signed up with VeriSign for its NetDiscovery Services, which helps companies comply with 1994's Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act. The act requires telecom carriers to ensure that their networks comply with government specifications for wiretapping. The act doesn't specifically address voice over IP, but vendors like Cox believe it's just a matter of time. Cox, which provides cable TV service to 6 million customers in 23 states, launched its VoIP service late last year; it's available in several small markets. Earlier this month, Sen. John Sununu, R-N.H., proposed legislation to put VoIP regulation and taxation under the auspices of federal authorities, not state or local.

Google took quite a drubbing last week over its planned free E-mail service, Gmail. Seems Google's proposal to combine search capabilities, personalization, and advertising with E-mail struck more than a few people as gauche. "Users should understand that by agreeing to Google's conditions, they're giving Google permission to scan through their E-mail at will and communicate their interests to others for advertising purposes," said a Gartner analyst in a statement on the research firm's Web site. "Google will be testing the trust it has earned among its users by serving ads intended to be relevant to actual E-mail content."

Carnival, the cruise-ship company, has tapped Doug Lewis as its senior VP and corporate CIO. As corporate CIO--a newly created position--Lewis will work with the CIOs from Carnival's 12 operating units to develop a corporatewide IT strategy "and devise and execute a plan of portfolio convergence across the various brands," according to a statement. Lewis will head Carnival's CIO Council and run its shared IT-services and application-development efforts. Previously, Lewis held the CIO position at Six Continents Hotels, Lucent, and Pratt & Whitney. Lewis will report to Carnival chief operating officer Howard Frank.

"We're the only open-source company with a Swiss bank account," says Marc Fleury, CEO of open-source services vendor JBoss. And a sense of humor. And a realistic business model. Fleury is referring to the company's European headquarters in Hauterive, Switzerland; American headquarters are in Atlanta. JBoss markets an open-source application server and related infrastructure toolset, but the company makes most of its money off services. "We're not a software vendor; we're a systems integrator," Fleury says. "We offer the proverbial neck to choke."

Interesting image. I stick my proverbial neck out all the time, but I'm not looking to get it proverbially wrung. I'm looking for an industry tip, and you can stick your neck out by sending one to [email protected] or phone 516-562-5326. If you want to talk about voice over IP, the feds and wiretapping, or open-source business models, meet me at's Listening Post.

To discuss this column with other readers, please visit John Soat's forum on the Listening Post.

To find out more about John Soat, please visit his page on the Listening Post.

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