ETel Coverage: At the Debate - From Indifference to Fear

by Moshe Yudkowsky

Lee's debate at the Etel conference moved me from indifference over the telco's IMS initiative to outright fear. IMS is more than a transport layer; it's more than another effort to introduce a "Service Creation Environment" into the legacy telco networks. If it were just those two I could ignore IMS, because telcos have been attempting to introduce flexibile service creation environments for decades.

But IMS invites invasion of privacy and data mining. IMS, according to the telcos, will manage your address book, your "friends" list, your social networking contacts, and perhaps what you have for breakfast tommorow morning. By opening your data, your network browsing, and your calling history to other telcos and -- perhaps, but almost certainly -- to marketing organizations, your entire life becomes available to anyone with a checkbook.

On the bright side, the telcos intend to control which third-party applications run on IMS. Since it's unimaginable that any imaginative new technology -- such as blogging, YouTube, MySpace, Second Life, or even Google -- would ever be allowed to see the light of day on the staid telco networks, nothing worthwhile (aside from stodgy or clueless institutions) will use IMS. I hope...