This will be a short post because there’s not much to say yet about voice chat between in-world and out-world parties except for the Vodafone InsideOut service discussed in the previous post.
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What then of Linden Lab? If I were they, I’d join the movement and take advantage of the serendipitous build-out of POPs (point of presence) all over the globe to position Second Life against Skype and VoIP networks like Jajah.com. Imagine being able to place a call to someone anywhere in the world by taking advantage of some open source infrastructure that bridges into the POTS network. They could even offer a revenue-sharing model for those that offer the bridges.
There are many issues to be addressed before this could become a reality. I can think of a few, and I’m sure you can too. Feel free to add your thoughts by adding a comment.
- issuing phone numbers for all avatars
- issues of anonymity versus publicly listed phone numbers, both in directories and callerID
- jurisdiction – this is global, so your state or national regulator will have a hard time dealing with it and taxing it
- when I call from the Second Life grid, hosted in San Francisco or Texas, but I live in Brazil, whose laws do I operate under?
- 911 and location-awareness. Is 911 required? Do location-awareness services provide my physical address (using my IP address) and my virtual location?
- do existing laws regarding telephone crimes and wiretapping apply to a virtual phone in a virtual world communicating with a physical phone?
- how do you protect against VoIP spoofing when the infrastructure is distributed, open sourced, and unregulated?
- how do you support end-to-end encryption?
- Can you support strong encryption when one or both of the parties may be in a country that is subject to export restrictions on encryption technology? How do you know which country an avatar is in, especially if its puppeteer is using the Vollee service on a cellphone while flying across Asia?