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WhyADuck
Premium
join:2003-03-05
kudos:1

4 edits

1 recommendation

Crap just hit the fan, but something's not right?

Well, some of you have been saying that it was only a matter of time before someone died because of lack of 911 service on VoIP. If this story is to be believed, it finally happened.

Now, I don't mean to sound heartless here, if a mother truly lost her baby my heart goes out to her, but there is just something about this whole thing that just doesn't quite "smell right" to me. I'm not saying the whole story was made up, but nevertheless there are a few things that seem strange about this:

MOD NOTE: Photos referenced here were removed at the request of the mother of the infant (photo is also copyrighted) -- Discussion is welcome to continue -- just without the photo. Thanks.

1) We are told that the baby died on 3/24/2005. Today is May 7, a month and a half later. Why is this news just now breaking, on a Friday night no less (I am always suspicious when a story breaks late on a Friday afternoon or Friday night and that would not be the natural timing of the story - it makes me think someone doesn't want the story examined too critically)?

2) Why does the WESH-TV story shows a photo of a baby that seems to have a much darker complexion than the baby shown on the web site (see attached comparison - note the photos are under copyright by WESH.COM and Joseph & Cheryl Waller, I am posting them here under the doctrine of fair use, which I believe allows such use for the purpose of critical analysis. If the mods feel I am wrong about this they may feel free to remove the attachment).

3) Perhaps the thing that strikes me as the oddest thing is that the »www.911petition.com web site seems very professionally done. Reading the article, we are led to believe that this distraught mother, in the short time after her baby's death (and, just by coincidence, just prior to possible upcoming FCC action on the matter) was able to come up with this web site.

I know we have some network gurus on this forum so here is my question to you: Can you track down ownership of the 911petition.com domain? What I am wanting to know is whether there are any known public relations firms or "astroturf" groups that are using this tragedy for commercial purposes, to promote the agenda of one or more incumbent telephone companies.

And the BIG question...

4) Why didn't this mother "read and heed" the warnings about the 911 service on the Vonage web site BEFORE this tragedy happened? If she can put together this kind of web site, one has to believe that she's not an unintelligent person. Yet she apparently didn't have a working cell phone, or a landline backup handy.

I hate to be so cynical but there is just something about the timing of this story, plus all the things listed above, that make me suspicious. I certainly don't mean to be heartless; it's always a tragedy when a child is lost, no matter how it happens. But I wouldn't put anything, not even "using" a mother and her deceased child, beyond the bounds of corporate decency (now there's an oxymoron, especially when we are talking about an incumbent telephone company). Large corporations have no soul, and their only standard of morality sometimes seems to be whatever will make them the most money.

I hesitated about posting this story because of my reservations about it, but I figure it's going to come out anyway - whoever's behind it will make sure it does - and I really would like those of you who know their way around the 'net to see if there is anything that hints that the origins of this web page might be something other than what we are being told. And that is all I will say for now.



rjackson
Premium,VIP,MVM,Ex-Mod 2005-13
join:2002-04-02
Ringgold, GA
kudos:1

said by WhyADuck:

2) Why does the WESH-TV story shows a photo of a baby that seems to have a much darker complexion than the baby shown on the web site (see attached comparison - note the photos are under copyright by WESH.COM and Joseph & Cheryl Waller, I am posting them here under the doctrine of fair use, which I believe allows such use for the purpose of critical analysis. If the mods feel I am wrong about this they may feel free to remove the attachment).
The picture on the right looks brigher because a flash was used at close range. The picture on the left is a picture from a monitor or TV, doesn't look like any artificial light was used at all.

said by WhyADuck:

3) Perhaps the thing that strikes me as the oddest thing is that the »www.911petition.com web site seems very professionally done. Reading the article, we are led to believe that this distraught mother, in the short time after her baby's death (and, just by coincidence, just prior to possible upcoming FCC action on the matter) was able to come up with this web site.
Honestly the site does not appear all that professional to me. There's no evidence she did the site herself, perhaps a friend or family member did it as a favor.

said by WhyADuck:

I know we have some network gurus on this forum so here is my question to you: Can you track down ownership of the 911petition.com domain? What I am wanting to know is whether there are any known public relations firms or "astroturf" groups that are using this tragedy for commercial purposes, to promote the agenda of one or more incumbent telephone companies.
Domain name records are public, and made available by the domain registrars. Unfortunately in this case the registrant has opted for a private registration, so you don't get any real info:
Registrant:
Domains by Proxy, Inc.
DomainsByProxy.com
15511 N. Hayden Rd., Ste 160, PMB 353
Scottsdale, Arizona 85260
United States

Registered through: GoDaddy.com
Domain Name: 911PETITION.COM
Created on: 21-Apr-05
Expires on: 21-Apr-06
Last Updated on: 27-Apr-05
*

(*) WARNING 1 long line(s) split

I'm not backing up or refuting your claims, just saying based on this evidence alone it doesn't look like she's frauding anyone based on this.


WhyADuck
Premium
join:2003-03-05
kudos:1

Re: Crap just hit the fan, but something's not rig

said by rjackson:

The picture on the right looks brigher because a flash was used at close range. The picture on the left is a picture from a monitor or TV, doesn't look like any artificial light was used at all.
Perhaps. When I first saw the picture in the article (on the TV station site) I initially thought the baby was black, which is why it shocked me to see what appears to be a very caucasian baby on the other site.

said by rjackson:

Honestly the site does not appear all that professional to me. There's no evidence she did the site herself, perhaps a friend or family member did it as a favor.
I don't know - I grant you it isn't flashy but when I look at the content of the site, it just doesn't look amateurish at all to me. I'm sure that if a PR firm were behind it, they would not be so obvious as to use a lot of graphics and such. Rather, they'd make a carefully crafted but somewhat plain, deliberately non-flashy site, so as not to overplay their hand, so to speak.

said by rjackson:

I'm not backing up or refuting your claims, just saying based on this evidence alone it doesn't look like she's frauding anyone based on this.
I'm NOT making any claims, just asking some hard questions and airing my suspicions. I may be totally wrong, it wouldn't be the first time. But I sure wish there was some way to track this down a bit better, to confirm or refute my thoughts. Is there no way to tell where the server that hosts this site is located?


rjackson
Premium,VIP,MVM,Ex-Mod 2005-13
join:2002-04-02
Ringgold, GA
kudos:1

said by WhyADuck:

Is there no way to tell where the server that hosts this site is located?
The IP range in which the site's domain resolves to is registered to GoDaddy, so it's reasonable to believe that's who's hosting the site. Where it's physically located though, is largely irrelevant and probably won't get you any closer to who's behind it.


WhyADuck
Premium
join:2003-03-05
kudos:1

It might possibly be relevant if the location were suspicious - for example, at the same location as a bunch of other sites created by a particular PR firm.



rjackson
Premium,VIP,MVM,Ex-Mod 2005-13
join:2002-04-02
Ringgold, GA
kudos:1

Ok...for as little as $3.95/mo anyone can host a site at GoDaddy.



Trimline
Premium
join:2004-10-24
Windermere, FL
Reviews:
·ObiVoice
·Bright House
·Callcentric
·voip.ms

1 edit
reply to WhyADuck

I saw the news story run on local TV. What they didn't tell you in the article was:

1. Vonage proved that the 911 calls did complete (actually twice).
2. The husband ran next door and also called 911 via POTS.

The couple's main complaint was to "ban" VoIP completely. I was shocked when the Mr. Waller says Vonage and all other VoIP providers "were trying to save a few bucks" by not providing true 911. Huh? Who was trying to save money here?

WESH channel 2 was the only news station out of five major news stations in the Orlando metro area to carry this story. I do sympathise with the couple for losing their baby, but in this case the evidence on the reel suggested otherwise.
--
FWD#537129



burgerwars

join:2004-09-11
Northridge, CA

1 edit
reply to WhyADuck

Re: Crap just hit the fan, but something's not right?

If they were intelligent enough to make a website, I wonder why they weren't intelligent enough to figure out the limitations of VOIP 911. It's not rocket science. There has been the argument that many VOIP users just expected their service to be the same as a regular phone, since many just don't know much about technology, where using a toaster may be a challenge. But that's not the case here.

It isn't going to end with just 911. Your internet connection must be up with no glitches along the way (see what happened to Broadvoice this week), plus the electricity must be on in your house for your router and adapter to work. VOIP just isn't as reliable as POTS, so one may still not get 911 even if 911 is there. These people should have kept stripped-down POTS service too, instead of being so cheap and just rely totally on Vonage.



blohner

join:2002-06-26
Cortlandt Manor, NY
Reviews:
·ooma
·Google Voice
·Optimum Online

1 recommendation

reply to WhyADuck

Everytime I read a story like this my blood pressure goes up. Why do people in this country always cry for the government to protect them from themselves?
My BBQ has a whole warning story printed on it - even cigarette lighters have a warning label... I could go on and on... I signed up with Vonage knowing what I get into. I could go on and on - but I'll just leave it at that...
I don't want VoIP to be regulated, I want VoIP to be cheap and semy reliable - I am very happy with Vonage... It's sad to see the baby die but it's not Vonage's fault.
--
I am addicted to speed --- OOL speed that is ---
~Help find a cure for cancer~Proud Member Team Discovery


doncute18

join:2003-04-08
12365
reply to WhyADuck

Its in the terms of service. People just gotta learn how to read. Also if u read the website the baby was already not breathing ? was a autopsy done.



montee4
Premium
join:2004-02-15
Chicago, IL

1 recommendation

I don't think I would pt my babies life at risk by trying to save a few $$ on VoIP. These people need to wake up and asses their current situation instead of being blinded by the fact that they can spend $20 more a month.

Unfortunetly we have become all too reliant on the government to make decisions for us. People need to start being more responsible to prevent problems like this. Having an emergency plan in place before something happens is alyas a good idea.


clecrupt9

join:2002-01-22
GA
reply to WhyADuck

This can go back all the way to people who suggested offering 911 was a real risk to these providers.

Vonage wanted to compete with local line telco's at first as second line replacements. But with the 911 offering it became clear they wanted to compete completely with ILEC/CLEC dialtone. In hindsight it might have been smarter to wait until 911 agreements were in place with the ILEC's to offer the same "expectation" of what 911 is to most people. Of course the ILEC's might not have ever let them in without all the 911 buzz floating around.

I think forcing the voip residential line companies into 911/e911 will be the first step towards regulation. Let's hope USF and access fees stay away for a while.



WhyADuck
Premium
join:2003-03-05
kudos:1
reply to Trimline

Re: Crap just hit the fan, but something's not rig

said by Trimline:

I saw the news story run on local TV. What they didn't tell you in the article was:

1. Vonage proved that the 911 calls did complete (actually twice).
2. The husband ran next door and also called 911 via POTS.
Those are VERY significant omissions in the story, obviously. That just further goes to support my theory that this story did not just happen to appear on the radar at this point in time, just by sheer coincidence.

said by Trimline:

The couple's main complaint was to "ban" VoIP completely. I was shocked when the Mr. Waller says Vonage and all other VoIP providers "were trying to save a few bucks" by not providing true 911. Huh? Who was trying to save money here?
This is the nation where if you buy a cup of hot coffee, set it in your lap, spill it and burn yourself, instead of accepting personal responsibility for being an idiot you sue the fast food joint you got the coffee from. This forces them to stop serving really hot coffee. Too bad if anyone else wanted their coffee really hot, we have to protect all the idiots in this country from themselves even if it inconveniences everyone else.

said by Trimline:

WESH channel 2 was the only news station out of five in the Orlando metro area to carry this story. I do sympathise with the couple for losing their baby, but in this case the evidence on the reel suggested otherwise.
Do me a favor, make a note of whether you see a higher percentage of advertising on that station than on the stations that didn't run the story, from the local incumbent telephone companies or anyone else who might have an axe to grind in this situation. If nothing else, you can fault the station for going for the sensational angle rather than reporting the complete and accurate story (of course, I have never yet seen any TV station report any story completely accurately, in any situation where I've had personal knowledge of what really happened). But at worst, this might be one of those stations where the sales department actually influences which news is covered and which is buried (on such stations you'll never see a negative story about one of their big advertisers unless the other stations break it first, and conversely, a big advertiser can request that a certain story be carried).

This story was "news" a month and a half ago. Now it is propaganda, coming out a day or two after FCC Commissioner Martin makes it known that he wants VoIP companies to be forced to offer 911. I don't believe in coincidence, not when events move like this. This sort of "management" of public opinion is exactly what public relations firms do, and some of them are very good at it. If I were a gambler, I'd bet that there is a public relations firm mixed up in this somewhere, and that they are being funded by a telephone company (or, far less likely, a cable company).

Some questions I wish we had the answers to: Who actually designed that web site? Where is it being hosted? Who actually paid for the domain registration and the web hosting? Who or what inspired the TV station to run this story late on a Friday afternoon, well after the event occurred? Was the mother contacted by ANYONE who offered their assistance in getting her story out, and if so, who pays that person's wages or salary? We will probably never know the answers to such questions, unless there is some kind of official investigation somewhere down the road.

lmjh7065
Premium
join:2001-04-04
Cincinnati, OH
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
reply to WhyADuck

Re: Crap just hit the fan, but something's not right?

This is indeed a sad story about loosing your child and I feel for the parents, but people continue to not want to accept responsibility for their own actions. Someone went to a lot of work with this web site trying to shift the blame to someone else.

First of all Vonage or any VoIP provider that I have ever read about never claims to be a replacement for POTS or POTS 911.

No one forced the parents of this child to change their phone service to VoIP, as far as I can tell.

POTS 911 does not always answer on the first ring. People think there is an unlimited amount of not only phone circuits but emergency operators. Even here in town POTS 911 can and has been out of service for various reasons for an extended period of time in some areas.

This all seems to me to be "locking the barn door after the horse is stolen".

Being prepared helps, but even that can't eliminate all possible disasters.

I'm sure that our government will do as good a job with VoIP regulation as they have done with crime, gun control, drugs, liquor, etc., etc., etc. Just my opinion.



BillRoland
Premium
join:2001-01-21
Ocala, FL
kudos:3
Reviews:
·Cox HSI
reply to WhyADuck

I just sent an e-mail to WESH where I copied the Vonage Terms of Service and asked them how was this supposed to be Vonage's fault, and suggested they run a story about how ILEC E911 has had plenty of failures itself. Fat chance of that happening. This woman needs to accept responsibility that she signed this agreement, that Vonage makes it clear that its not E911, and that this isn't Vonage's fault. I don't understand how we survived all this time without 911...
--
"Don't steal. The government hates competition."



vonsen
Just Because
Premium
join:2005-01-06
reply to WhyADuck

Re: Crap just hit the fan, but something's not rig

This has all of the hallmarks of being pushed to prominence to further the agendas of certain corporate entities that are in competition with voip. Witness the recent lobbyist efforts on this front and the subsequent & I'm certain, coincidental lawsuits by several AG's.

911 has not been around forever. Somehow we survived that dark, pre-911 era without rampant diaster befalling us. People know or should have known i.e. would have known if they bothered to do any reading or research that there are definite limitations to any 911 system and particularly to voip, as it is a new and immature technology. If they recklessly barrelled ahead and put their families at risk without thinking things through and making contingency plans, they are idiots that have foisted their own problems upon themselves. Why can't people take personal responsibility for a change instead of crying that it is someone else's fault for not restraining them from their own bad judgement and making the entire world idiot-proof? It is tragic that a death may have occurred because they were too stupid to heed the limitations of voip. And a travesty that a lot of people feel that suing everything that moves is a reasonable 'solution'.

--
                                                                                                               five stars shy



voiplover
Premium
join:2004-05-28
Portsmouth, NH

1 recommendation

reply to WhyADuck

The most simple solution to VOIP's 911 problems!

How hard could it be for voip providers to supply their subscribers with "NOT FOR 911 CALLS"?
I've posted it before and I'll post it again;

A simple sticker that boldly states; "911 may not work with this phone. To call local emergency services dial (to be added by subscriber) 1-XXX-XXX-XXXX"

Our local Chamber of Commerce gave out thousands of red '911 activated' stickers when 911 first hit our area and they were a big hit.

Just my 2c!



La Luna
RIP Lisa
Premium
join:2001-07-12
Warwick, NY
kudos:3

1 edit
reply to WhyADuck

Re: Crap just hit the fan, but something's not right?

While I feel sorry that this couple lost their daughter, I will say one more time....Vonage makes it ABSOLUTELY clear when you sign up that you MUST activate 911 service....AND that it MAY NOT work in the same traditional manner as a POTS line. I had no experience with VoIP before signing up last May, and I KNEW and UNDERSTOOD the ramifications of a less than perfect 911 system....and dealt with it in other ways.

WHAT is so hard about this for people to understand? The fact is that they just don't BOTHER to read about what they are signing up for....they claim that VoIP companies have plenty of money to fix this....but yet, they signed up because THEY wanted to SAVE money. So they either knew 911 was a crap shoot and didn't care (the "it could never happen to us" syndrome), or the thought of saving money was more important to them than even reading the instructions about 911 at all.

No, I'm sorry, but just because these people did NOT do as they were supposed to (read) and take the necessary steps to protect themselves, that does not make Vonage responsible for their daughters death.

Too bad there isn't some kind of feedback link on that website...I guess you can only comment if you support them.

EDIT: And as far as "stickers" go, I doubt anyone who didn't bother to pay attention to the 911 instructions and the EMAIL from Vonage regarding 911 would bother to use or even notice stickers. I'm sure they'd end up in the garbage with all the other unread instructions.

--
~~I'll make a wish,
take a chance,
make a change,
and breakaway...
Out of the darkness and into the sun...~~


mwf

join:2000-11-26
Granite Quarry, NC
reply to WhyADuck

Re: Crap just hit the fan, but something's not rig

As long as we are making 911 mandatory for VOIP, how about CPR courses for new parents?



justin
..needs sleep
Australian
join:1999-05-28
kudos:15
Reviews:
·iiNet

4 recommendations

reply to WhyADuck

dumb question, why doesn't the government offer a "1-800-call 911" number as an alternative? if that means they can't figure location of caller, how about the first prompt is "enter your 5 digit zip code", and then the call is auto-routed to the correct 911 call center, or, they simply have a "generic" 911 desk staffed, that asks for city and state, and then patches the call through. It would only take a few extra seconds..



HD_Ride
Premium
join:2000-10-18
Jerseyastan

1 recommendation

reply to montee4

said by montee4:

Having an emergency plan in place before something happens is always a good idea.
Well said!


Anonymous
Premium
join:2004-06-01
IA
kudos:2
reply to WhyADuck

We have a choice (well most of the time). People want to save few $ and they get VOIP. And after something like this they bitch.

RTFM or in this case EULA or whatever...but first STFU



CapinPete
Premium
join:2002-12-23
West Palm Beach, FL

1 edit

These people are idiots. Further, I might just use their stupid links on their stupid web page and send my congressman a letter letting them know that I like my VOIP the way it is now.



La Luna
RIP Lisa
Premium
join:2001-07-12
Warwick, NY
kudos:3
reply to justin

said by justin:

dumb question, why doesn't the government offer a "1-800-call 911" number as an alternative? if that means they can't figure location of caller, how about the first prompt is "enter your 5 digit zip code", and then the call is auto-routed to the correct 911 call center, or, they simply have a "generic" 911 desk staffed, that asks for city and state, and then patches the call through. It would only take a few extra seconds..
Because the major phone companies would then have to find another way to try and get rid of VoIP?

Call me cynical, but such a simple solution ignored says volumes about the real agenda here.....
--
~~I'll make a wish, take a chance, make a change, and breakaway...Out of the darkness and into the sun...~~


joako
Premium
join:2000-09-07
/dev/null
kudos:6
reply to blohner

said by blohner:

Everytime I read a story like this my blood pressure goes up. Why do people in this country always cry for the government to protect them from themselves?
My BBQ has a whole warning story printed on it - even cigarette lighters have a warning label... I could go on and on... I signed up with Vonage knowing what I get into. I could go on and on - but I'll just leave it at that...
I don't want VoIP to be regulated, I want VoIP to be cheap and semy reliable - I am very happy with Vonage... It's sad to see the baby die but it's not Vonage's fault.
You are so correct -- look at the automobile industry. Read your car manual, and then go to Europe and read the same manual -- you'll find the European manual tells you how to use the car, the American manual tells you what not to do with the car. I even happened to notice a warning label on the rear hatch of my car today:

"WARNING: Make sure that noone is in the vicinity of the power rear hatch while it is operated. Keep children away from the rear hatch control buttons"

Do they seriously need to tell us not to be in the path of a door while it is being operated?
--
»www.joako.com


owenhome
keeper of the magic blue smoke
Premium
join:2002-07-13
Bentonville, AR
reply to WhyADuck

Re: Crap just hit the fan, but something's not right?

It's a blame game folks.

They lost a child. It stopped breathing. Who's at fault? Anybody? Probably not. Even if the call had gone through, what good could it have done? Did the mother attempt CPR? Did they do anything beyond call 911? Having a child and not knowing CPR is simply asking for trouble. Without it, that baby would have what, maybe 4 minutes before going brain dead? When was the last time an ambulance made it on-scene in 4 minutes? If it took 10,15, or even 30 minutes for the ambulance to get there, what then? The baby wouldn't survive that long anyway.

They are just looking for someone to hang the blame on. They're not at fault in their minds. To them, they were depending on 911 to save the life of their child. You can't do that. You have to depend on yourself first(CPR!).

I really like Justin's "1-800-call 911".

Also, my cell-phone has this thing called E911. It has a GPS receiver that sends satellite information to the network and it can locate you with it in an emergency. It's not GPS navigation or anything, it doesn't have that capacity. It only takes the times from the sat's and sends them on, a computer on the other end figures the location. That even came with a refurb'ed $9 phone I bought my wife. It looks like a scope, or cross-hairs next to the battery indicator. It works out doors, in doors, in elevators, pretty much everywhere. I was amazed.

What would it cost to build that into every hand set in the US? $1? 2, 3, $10? Would it matter?

If I call 911 from my cell phone, they KNOW where I am. I called to report an accident (no not mine) and I was in the mall parking lot. They asked me if it was in the mall parking lot or on a side street before I told them my location.

That technology, with a national 911 system, would solve all this crap instantly.
--
Never argue with a fool, people might not know the difference.



Cam
Premium
join:2003-01-25
Luther, OK

When I signed up for Vonage they had no "911" system at all. I knew that and signed up anyway.

I have children and I keep a prepaid Virgin Wireless cell phone right next to the Vonage phone. If there is an emergency call that needs to be made the wireless phone is used.

Between my Vonage bill and my Virgin Wireless payments I am still saving a bundle with Vonage and have been very pleased with the service the provide.


clecrupt9

join:2002-01-22
GA
reply to justin

Re: Crap just hit the fan, but something's not rig

Justin what you've proposed is very similar to an IVR solution I kicked around a while back. People seem scared to make any fundamental changes to 911 though.



WhyADuck
Premium
join:2003-03-05
kudos:1
reply to owenhome

said by owenhome:

Also, my cell-phone has this thing called E911. It has a GPS receiver that sends satellite information to the network and it can locate you with it in an emergency. It's not GPS navigation or anything, it doesn't have that capacity. It only takes the times from the sat's and sends them on, a computer on the other end figures the location. That even came with a refurb'ed $9 phone I bought my wife. It looks like a scope, or cross-hairs next to the battery indicator. It works out doors, in doors, in elevators, pretty much everywhere. I was amazed.
I would be amazed if it works inside an elevator, or any other totally enclosed space. What I suspect they are doing in your case is using triangulation off their cell towers when they can't get a "real" GPS signal from the satellites, but not giving you any indication of the difference. Satellite signals are strictly line-of-sight (ask anyone who's ever had a tree branch grow out in front of the signal path to their Dish Network/DirectTV or similar dish) so unless it's one of those glass-enclosed elevators that go up the outside of a building, I don't see how it could work.

Cybertoy_ch
Premium
join:2005-03-31
Stamford, CT
reply to justin

said by justin:

dumb question, why doesn't the government offer a "1-800-call 911" number as an alternative? if that means they can't figure location of caller, how about the first prompt is "enter your 5 digit zip code", and then the call is auto-routed to the correct 911 call center, or, they simply have a "generic" 911 desk staffed, that asks for city and state, and then patches the call through. It would only take a few extra seconds..
probably 'cause people that are stupid and don't read the disclaimer that 911 won't work with their VoIP line are most likely equally stupid to not know the zip code they're in...