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Legal implication of Ooma's call routing

Posted: Thu Jan 22, 2009 8:59 pm
by cougarnet
Hi guys,

Ooma is great and working with no issue. My understanding is that Ooma uses peer-to-peer technology to route my call to another Ooma hub which can make free local call to my destination number. So if police traces the call, they will see my destination number is being called by this intermediate number. It will be hard to explain this whole Ooma technology to them in case the intermediate number belongs to some "bad" guys.

I hope I misunderstand something here.

Thanks in advance for any clarification.

Re: Legal implication of Ooma's call routing

Posted: Fri Jan 23, 2009 7:55 am
by Soundjudgment
It doesn't actually work quite that way. And a VoIP service is always understood by the 'Electronic Neanderthals.' Don't even pay it no mind. It is all fine.

Re: Legal implication of Ooma's call routing

Posted: Sat Jan 31, 2009 1:43 pm
by sgrunspan
It really doesn't work that way. Also, I was told by an ooma tech that they are not actually routing calls through ooma over local landlines. they have the ability, and they may in the future but they aren't doing it now.

Re: Legal implication of Ooma's call routing

Posted: Fri Feb 27, 2009 3:11 pm
by rajeev_mahajan
You think the NY Times got it wrong in this article from 2007?

"The Ooma system is diabolically clever — and crazily ambitious. It exploits the practice in this country that local calls (usually within a 12-mile radius) are always free, even with basic phone service. When you call long-distance, your Ooma box connects over the Internet to another Ooma box in the destination city belonging to a total stranger. That person is never aware of it and neither are you, but that Ooma box places a landline call for the final, local leg of the call. Behind the scenes, in other words, Ooma relies on a vast peer-to-peer network." ... =cse&scp=4

Re: Legal implication of Ooma's call routing

Posted: Fri Feb 27, 2009 3:19 pm
by murphy
They would have a tough time doing that through my system. I don't have a local land line connected to the ooma box. The whole point is to get rid of the expensive local land line. Local calls via a land line here are not "free" unless you subscribe to a really expensive package. In the past all of my local calls were billed on a per call basis.

Re: Legal implication of Ooma's call routing

Posted: Fri Feb 27, 2009 3:26 pm
by dsb
Already asked this question. Here is OOMA's response

scots is right, we are no longer using Distributed Termination -- there are a lot of old articles out there. Perhaps we should add something to the FAQ page or Knowledgebase about this.

This was a blurb that I posted to the Amazon forums (topic: "Questions about security and privacy") recently...

Just a FYI -- ooma is not routing calls over other user's landlines (e.g. Distributed Termination). Any mention of this was removed from the user T&C's and the ooma website from the website a few months ago. The original intent of this "people-powered" network was to save costs with calling. Unfortunately it lent itself to be a poor user experience due to the fact we needed to block the outgoing caller-ID (e.g. a call going over another user's landline would show as "unknown" as the caller-ID instead of the caller's true name). Also, our business plan went through a couple revisions last year (starting with separating out enhanced features -- ooma Premier -- from the core service features and further recognizing calling economies of scale). As a result, we are able to continue to offer free phone service as a sustainable and scalable business.

See link

Re: Legal implication of Ooma's call routing

Posted: Sat Feb 28, 2009 9:19 am
by rajeev_mahajan
Thanks dsb and Bobby (from the ooma team) for the update.