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Panama Decrees Block To Kill VoIP Service

timothy posted more than 11 years ago | from the what-part-of-free-market-don't-you-understand dept.

The Internet 461

An anonymous reader writes "In an apparent attempt to stem telephone company revenue losses due to Internet telephony, the government of Panama has decreed that 46 UDP ports be blocked by all Internet service providers. The ports include ones that are commonly used for voice over IP as well as some that are used for other purposes, apparently with the idea that these, too, could be used to circumvent the POTS (plain old telephone system, a term of art) in making telephone calls."

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first (-1, Offtopic)

handybundler (232934) | more than 11 years ago | (#4591917)

post

Revolt! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4591935)

I can't believe the citizens will allow crap like this to go on for very long, I coulda swore government was to serve it's people, not protect make sure people have to give up all thier money to big companies. What a bunch of crap!

Re:Revolt! (0)

handybundler (232934) | more than 11 years ago | (#4591957)

Not only is voice blockage bs, the blocking of file transfers is quite lame too.

Re:Revolt! (2)

wotevah (620758) | more than 11 years ago | (#4591966)

really ? explain DMCA :)

Haiku (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4592039)

I like to beat it
Until the lotion runs out
Then I use Linux

Different Ports (5, Insightful)

hoagieslapper (593527) | more than 11 years ago | (#4591918)

How difficult could it be to write some software to use VoIP on port 80 or some other commonly used port?

Not hard at all... (5, Interesting)

Da VinMan (7669) | more than 11 years ago | (#4591987)

In fact, I think it would be a piece of cake to cobble together a proxy server that did just that. The clients wouldn't even have to change their software other than to point to the intermediate proxy server.

The problem here though comes in talking to the rest of the world. The above-mentioned servers have to direct the traffic to the destination servers at some point. Those servers are completely outside the control of the subversives to be. Those servers have to know that the traffic being received is actually VoIP and deal with it appropriately.

It can be done, but it will require servers outside of Panama to cooperate with the scheme.

Of course, once the Panama government locates those sites (shouldn't be hard) they'll start gopher whacking them with a variety of tactics: legal shutdowns through warrants, DOS attacks, etc. Vendors from outside of Panama will also rush to fill the void, and that software will also subsequently be outlawed.

The bottom line though is that the government will not be able to control the VoIP "problem" entirely without just pulling the plug on all Internet activity. That would be a steep price and they will face economic pressure to not do it.

Oh well, they'll learn this one the hard way I guess.

Re:Not hard at all... (5, Insightful)

LarsG (31008) | more than 11 years ago | (#4592041)

The bottom line though is that the government will not be able to control the VoIP "problem" entirely without just pulling the plug on all Internet activity.

Too true.

I'm actually more worried about collateral damage here - if the news report is correct then any traffic passing _through_ Panama would be subject to the filters - stopping any application that just happens to use one of the ports mentioned.

Re:Not hard at all... (5, Insightful)

rodgerd (402) | more than 11 years ago | (#4592064)

You've kind of missed the key point, though: once it starts becoming harder and requiring more knowledge to do it, the phone company will be safe again. The danger comes from pervasive, easy to use VoIP services which anyone can use. If the decree can drive it back to the point where only a few geeks are doing VoIP it's all a success for the telco.

Re:Not hard at all... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4592085)

corkscrew [freshmeat.net] allready provides a tunnel over port 80, all you need to do is configure gnomeeting to use port 80, then you have secure VOIP over the mostly web port.

The only way for them to stop VOIP, is to shut down EVERY PORT!

--Benjamin McFree is one cool dude

Re:Not hard at all... (4, Insightful)

bigsteve@dstc (140392) | more than 11 years ago | (#4592090)

The bottom line though is that the government will not be able to control the VoIP "problem" entirely without just pulling the plug on all Internet activity. That would be a steep price and they will face economic pressure to not do it.

If the Panamanian government gets serious about this, they could put a stop to VoIP by making it illegal to use VoIP in Panama. Many countries have done this kind of thing in the past. In the UK 20 or so years ago, it was not possible to set up a public internet because of government rules.

Re:Not hard at all... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4592107)


Just use UDP port 53. I'd like to see Panama try to block that one.

Re:Different Ports (1)

fwankypoo (58987) | more than 11 years ago | (#4591997)

not very hard at all

Re:Different Ports (5, Interesting)

rusty0101 (565565) | more than 11 years ago | (#4592001)

port 80 as used for http is a tcp port, not a udp port.

Some of the protocols that will eventually have to be blocked as a result include tftp, whois++, bootp/dhcp, ntp, udp portions of netbios, snmp (ISPs and large businesses, including the phone company, will love that one.) hsrp, (another favorite of large businesses) quake, traceroute, both MySQL and Postgres, and a few others that may not have tcp vairents, or who's tcp varients are too expensive in network bandwidth to use politely.

Additionally, there is nothing preventing users from building a ppp, ssh, httptunnel or other tunnel over tcp and completely bypassing the UDP blocks from their workstation. It may even become a part of the software for DialPad or other platforms.

-Rusty

Re:Different Ports (5, Insightful)

agentZ (210674) | more than 11 years ago | (#4592036)

Additionally, there is nothing preventing users from building a ppp, ssh, httptunnel or other tunnel over tcp and completely bypassing the UDP blocks from their workstation. It may even become a part of the software for DialPad or other platforms.

It could, but there's a reason why they avoided TCP in the first place. For phone calls, it doesn't matter if the data gets there two seconds after it was sent (ie. the reliable communication offered by TCP.) The data needs to get there now, or not at all. It's okay to have a quarter-second drop in a phone call.

I also worry that the computational overhead of these protocols, especially ssh, could be problematic for a real-time communication. But hey, processors are getting better all the time...

fp (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4591919)

solution: buy a mac

Re:fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4591937)

He [slashdot.org] already got it. Sorry, chump.

This is ridiculous (3, Funny)

SargeZT (609463) | more than 11 years ago | (#4591920)

Banning VoIP? Whats next? Possibly banning email to help the USPS?

Re:This is ridiculous (1)

bobdole34 (444010) | more than 11 years ago | (#4591927)

No you didn't read the article.
Not the USPS, the PPS.

-s

6th post.

Re:This is ridiculous (1)

SargeZT (609463) | more than 11 years ago | (#4591948)

I belive it was a joke, but I could be mistaken. Yes, I understand it is in panama, but if I said PPS, who would understand it?

Re:This is ridiculous (1)

Qender (318699) | more than 11 years ago | (#4591972)

You could have said just "post office" though. Then it would have been both correct and understandable.

Re:This is ridiculous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4592013)

6th asshead

Re:This is ridiculous (1)

bobdole34 (444010) | more than 11 years ago | (#4592040)

Coward in deed.

Re:This is ridiculous (2, Funny)

The Original Yama (454111) | more than 11 years ago | (#4591968)

...and in related news tonight, the government of Panama has decided to block the Panama Canal. Apparently, they are 'concerned' about contact with the outside world, and they want to stop this threat to their national sovereignty immediately.

They will need to also block every other port. (5, Insightful)

Nicopa (87617) | more than 11 years ago | (#4591924)

There are 65534 other ports wich can be used for VoIP, they must block them too!

Re:They will need to also block every other port. (5, Funny)

atrus (73476) | more than 11 years ago | (#4591934)

In other news, Panama is back to using ip addresses to look at websites since DNS is now blocked in that country.

Re:They will need to also block every other port. (1)

SargeZT (609463) | more than 11 years ago | (#4591959)

News Flash, All IP Addresses except for the Panama Canal's Official Website, has been blocked. Users are trying to coordinate a DDOS Attack on the Panamanian Government, but cannot get a ping from the servers, except for the Panamanian Canal.

Re:They will need to also block every other port. (3, Funny)

sam_handelman (519767) | more than 11 years ago | (#4591975)

There are 65534 other ports wich can be used for VoIP, they must block them too!

The idea is that only the most skilled, black hat hacker can open the preferences for his VoIP software and change the port number.

Re:They will need to also block every other port. (5, Funny)

The Original Yama (454111) | more than 11 years ago | (#4591990)

Soon they'll also be blocking shipping ports, including the Panama Canal [slashdot.org] . I've never heard of a country blockading itself before.

Re:They will need to also block every other port. (1)

RuneB (170521) | more than 11 years ago | (#4592043)

Careful now, don't give people ideas. Someone could pay Panama to block all ports commonly used for file sharing, and maybe some TCP ports too!

Rather troubling that this new decree apparently also applies to any traffic that just happens to go through Panama in the physical world. How critical is Panama, anyway; and how easy is it to route around Panama?

Well gee (-1, Offtopic)

sludgely (447712) | more than 11 years ago | (#4591926)

Well gee, this isn't good.

damn mexicans (-1, Troll)

Marek M S (570062) | more than 11 years ago | (#4591931)

we should have our american corporations take over their damn country over for this.

Re:damn mexicans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4591950)

Even better, "accidentally" bomb their capital. Everybody knows that American smart bombs constantly get lost and land on Americans therefore everyone will beleive that such a bombing was entirely accidental.

Re:damn mexicans (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4592006)

Um.... Panama [find-our-community.net] is not in mexico... A few contries seperate them.

Re:damn mexicans (2)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 11 years ago | (#4592069)

The company that requested it is C&W Panama, a subsidiary of C&W, based in UK. Isn't UK the US' best friend?

fp (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4591936)

oohhhh FP ...wait 20 seconds ...FP!

VOIP in games - an application of technology (-1, Troll)

John Carmac. (622624) | more than 11 years ago | (#4591940)

The latest build of Doom 3 had voip in it, to provide communication within teams but I have decided to remove it since you greedy punks continue to pirate my art. In fact, I'm giving up on the project all together, except for the XBox version which has an excellent voice communicator. jc

Suggestion to Panama (4, Funny)

j1mmy (43634) | more than 11 years ago | (#4591945)

Please adapt.

Re:Suggestion to Panama (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4592112)

No, I suggest we all just block ALL UDP ports, let's just ban the UDP protocol... hell no, we should ban all TCP and UDP use... and while we're at it, let's just make it illegal to use IP...

OK? How many in favour? Raise your hand!

Have they been watching the US Governent (-1, Redundant)

ksuMacGyver (562019) | more than 11 years ago | (#4591946)

I almost fell out of my chair laughing! LOLOLOL!

Another good example of fear of progress (5, Insightful)

XJoshX (103447) | more than 11 years ago | (#4591949)


People have tried to fight progressive technological evolution for ages and it has yet to ever work once. Any country making laws forcing its citizens to live behind the times is only hurting itself. What if panama had outlawed the original telephone because it hurt the post office? Granted, Voice IP isn't quite as drastic a step, but it is progress and it will succeed on its own merit, laws or no laws.

Another good example of corporatism (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4592108)

There is no money to be made in telecommunication in the long run if technology runs its course. Or at least it is going to gross millions instead of billions. In that situation even the remnants of the industry remaining today would largely have to collapse.

The industry is too big and too rich to go down without a fight, in Panama this results in naively blatant intervention. In the US the telecom industry will probably pair up with the content industry to outlaw private private peer to peer broadband communication sooner or later, under the guise of security and copyright protection. Only a monopoly or a price fixed ogliopoly will be able to squeeze money out of people on the same scale as today for communications in the future ... with Bush's soft stance on monopolies the time is ripe to bring the US a couple of steps closer to corporatism, and after that the WTO and globalization can take it on a world tour, and the combined bribing power of the content and the telecommunication industry might just be the force which can accomplish it.

It's ok - Panama sucks (0, Flamebait)

tooley (63773) | more than 11 years ago | (#4591952)

If you're Panamanian and you are reading this, you might want to go and fire or execute a few legislators. You might also consider banning lobbying, which has ruined the USA.

-Pete-

Re:It's ok - Panama sucks (1)

agentZ (210674) | more than 11 years ago | (#4591978)

'tis not wise to advocate the violent overthrow of any government. Their ways are not subtle, and they are quick to anger.

Re:It's ok - Panama sucks (3, Insightful)

rodgerd (402) | more than 11 years ago | (#4592078)

In the long run, violent overthrow of the government worked OK for the French, English, and the United States. It's more of a last resort, though.

But... But.... (1)

David Walker (618902) | more than 11 years ago | (#4591953)

Isn't blocking off ports against 'the spirit of the internet'? I mean, isn't it supposed to be open and unrestricted? (especially by companies)

Re:But... But.... (2)

dvk (118711) | more than 11 years ago | (#4591993)

Uhm... while the action is IMHO stupid and pointless, your comment makes no sense at all.

What *is* 'the spirit of the internet', and what is "internet" you are referring to in the first place? If you are talking about TCP/IP network, then there is no "spirit". There are RFCs, and i don't think you can find one which specs which ports should or should not be blocked.

"Open and unrestricted"? As in, a bunch of open mail relays avialable to spammers, for example? Thanks, but no thanks :)

Also, what do you mean "supposed"? By whom?

As for "especially by companies": as of now, MOST of the internet is owned (as in, lines and networking equipment) by those "companies" you seem to hate so much.

In short, get off your political horse, and instead of whining go build some program to help use other UDP ports if this action is so against your spirit.

-DVK.

Re:But... But.... (2, Funny)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 11 years ago | (#4592014)

I have sent an email to Al Gore. I will post the response from the creator as soon as I receive it. Then we all shall know the "true spirit of the internet".

Oh no! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4591955)

So all the geeks who want to call their drug dealers are out of luck.....!

Curse you!

Port change... (3, Interesting)

dvk (118711) | more than 11 years ago | (#4591956)

I'm not sure what they decided the competition would be...
If person2person chat programs with voice capabilities, then whoever provides the software (I know Yahoo messenger and ICQ can do that, although it's not VoIP) should be able to make it switch ports easily.
If companies (such as the one I use to call Russia if/when I ever do :) - then the company can easily change ports on its system too - it's not like anything is using some sort of public infrastructure which is all set to UDP port 46 (like, say, you could actually break mail by blocking port 25, I suppose, because any mail transport depends on gazilion computers listening on 25, and not only sender/reciever pairs).

Or is my logic flawed somewhere and the port block like that would achieve the desired effect?

Cheers,
DVK

In a Folow Up News Release (5, Funny)

Quirk (36086) | more than 11 years ago | (#4591960)

The Panamania Government has decreed all citizens are to wear tin foil hats to block telepathic circumvention of POTS.

Port 80? (0, Redundant)

jjonte (145129) | more than 11 years ago | (#4591961)

What happens when VoIP goes over port 80 or 443. They're going to effectivly pause Panama's technological progression. Oops!

Re:Port 80? (1)

malice (82026) | more than 11 years ago | (#4592009)

Port 80 and 443 are used for http and https by default for TCP, not UDP -- different animal entirely.

Logical Conclusion of VoIP (4, Interesting)

CatWrangler (622292) | more than 11 years ago | (#4591963)

Ok. Everybody gets wired up. Everybody learns that it is cheaper to make calls over the internet. What exactly do the phone companies do then? You can't exactly ask them to follow the Linux model.

The obvious solution is going to be a transmission tax on VoIP calls. Cheaper than the old way, but it will begin to cost you money. Hate them you might, but the phone companies have real expenses in physical property, technical services, and customer service. They need to get paid. It will be less than they are used to, but they won't be giving it away for free much longer.

Re:Logical Conclusion of VoIP (1)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 11 years ago | (#4591988)

You are most likely a troll, but what the hell.

The fact that the telcos business model may be outdated it not my concern.

Re:Logical Conclusion of VoIP (2)

CatWrangler (622292) | more than 11 years ago | (#4592021)

The fact that the telcos business model may be outdated it not my concern.

Propose a business model that pays for repairing pipe that will supercede the current model, and we have no argument. We are going to pay for it one way or another, period. Higher telephone, cable bills will be the likely result, but there is no free lunch. Beer is free, but not the beer nuts.

Re:Logical Conclusion of VoIP (2)

Rasta Prefect (250915) | more than 11 years ago | (#4592095)

Propose a business model that pays for repairing pipe that will supercede the current model, and we have no argument. We are going to pay for it one way or another, period. Higher telephone, cable bills will be the likely result, but there is no free lunch. Beer is free, but not the beer nuts.

Hmmm...Lets see..Oh yeah, I have one - paying for internet service. I pay ISP, ISP maintains their pipes or pays telco to do it.

Re:Logical Conclusion of VoIP (2)

ajakk (29927) | more than 11 years ago | (#4591994)

VoIP is just standard IP traffic. The obvious solution is to charge more for Internet access, and more probably charging per amount of volume. If standard voice traffic dies off over time, too bad. The telephone companies are charging for the infrastructure of the net anyways. Let them make their money by charging for that.

Re:Logical Conclusion of VoIP (1)

broken_bones (307900) | more than 11 years ago | (#4592022)

Personally I don't think that taxing VoIP calls is any kind of a solution. To often lately it seems like companies are doing all that they can to protect the old way of doing thing. This is normal. Most people fear change. However normal this is though, it's not good. If a companies can't compete with new technology they need to adapt or get out of the market. Besides, government intervention (ie taxes) should, in my not so humble opinion, be avoided whenever possible.

The preceding has been my 2 hundredths of your local currency unit.

Re:Logical Conclusion of VoIP (4, Insightful)

sammaytg1 (608758) | more than 11 years ago | (#4592057)

Your logic seems flawed to me. When you make a call using voip you totally bypass the phone comapny. YOu aren't costing them anything. THis is like saying that it's wrong to listen to indie band because the riia spent money on the latest release. THe phone companies time ma have come. Just because they were the only way to make calls 30 years ago doesn't mean that now. If voip is a beter alternitive for the people(sound quality and realibilty in exchange for cost) then good for them.

I got a better solution (5, Insightful)

bogie (31020) | more than 11 years ago | (#4592083)

Adapt or die. There is no rule that states established businesses get to do business "the old" forever. If a better cheaper way of doing things comes along, oh well, tough cookies. There were once a lot of blacksmiths as well. So to the phone companies I say, Adapt or Die, better yet just die.

Re:Logical Conclusion of VoIP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4592103)

...sounds like the logical conclusion from a simple mind.

there are thousands of middle management minds like yours out there running businesses....into the ground.

might as well solve all your problems with a hammer...it'd be more effective then whatever you could come up with....and cheaper to boot.

have a great week.

Re:Logical Conclusion of VoIP (2)

rodgerd (402) | more than 11 years ago | (#4592115)

Volume charging, most likely. This is the norm in most of the world.

Re:Logical Conclusion of VoIP (2)

oGMo (379) | more than 11 years ago | (#4592126)

The obvious solution is going to be a transmission tax on VoIP calls.

This is about the dumbest thing I've heard in a few days. No. The solution is for POTS to die. Telcos can switch their services over to simply providing everyone with highspeed wired internet.

They need to get paid.

They can get paid for doing something worthwhile. Not charging for bits to a particular port because their old business model won't support them. Who comes up with this crap? There's no "right to profit" in the Constitution or any other law. Why do you think the dot-com bust happened? If one business model becomes unsustainable, you move or get trampled.

Censorship = Damage? (2)

agentZ (210674) | more than 11 years ago | (#4591969)

The old adage says that the Internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it. While we may not be able to call into Panama using VoIP, will transnational calls that used to go through there be routed around?

Re:Censorship = Damage? (5, Interesting)

xean (443223) | more than 11 years ago | (#4592023)

What this article really demonstrates - and it's something that has been demonstrated before on countless occasions - and that is that most governments of the world believe the internet is something tangible and easilly controllable.

This has been demonstrated here in Australia with the federal goverments push to sensor content and make ISP's liable for content that is served up from their service.

It's been demonstrated by the Chineese government with their sensorship and blocking of sites like google.

It has been shown by the USA's government in their restriction of encryption technology export.

All of these things are easilly worked around by even the most non techsavvy user.

Those of us who understand what the internet is and how it works understand that this sort of filtering will not work. These type sof things just show that until governments actually gain an understanding of the things they are trying to control they will continue to make fools of themselves. (btw: I'm surprised they dont want to block tcp ports 25, 110 & 143 (smtp,pop,imap) as people might send electronic mail rather than using the snail mail service).

Block _all_ UDP? (2)

Megane (129182) | more than 11 years ago | (#4591976)

In the decree, the Panamanian government requires "that within 5 days of publication, all ISPs will block the 46 UDP ports used for VoIP and any other that could be used in the future (which could end up being all UDP ports)," according to a reporter and computer consultant there, and that "the ISPs will block in their firewall or main router and in all their Border routers that connect with other autonomous systems."

After this kind of crap, I don't think I'd have any problem with them blocking UDP 53.

I think this is "Just Cause" for... (2, Funny)

SuperMario666 (588666) | more than 11 years ago | (#4591980)

...some banana republic adventurism!

Heck, maybe it'll tide us over until Iraq War II debuts in January.

The Internet must be a pain in Panama (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4591992)

All those wires connecting North America to South America that have to go through tiny Panama... the ground there must be completely cluttered with fiber optics.

Re:The Internet must be a pain in Panama (1)

SuperMario666 (588666) | more than 11 years ago | (#4592016)

Nope, other than drugs and monkeys, not much of anything goes through the Darien Gap. Nasty, nasty country.

Unclear on the concept? (0)

jsimon12 (207119) | more than 11 years ago | (#4591995)

Hahahaha, I love it when orginazations simply think blocking a single port will keep people from using a service. Oh well some people simply don't have a clue.

Next day, several new protocols invented... (5, Funny)

Polo (30659) | more than 11 years ago | (#4591996)

I would assume that there will soon be:

VODNSOIP
VOHTTPOIP
VOICMP

Re:Next day, several new protocols invented... (1)

wotevah (620758) | more than 11 years ago | (#4592003)

or VOIPIP (voice over IP over IP tunnel)

Most of these ports are unassigned anyways! (1)

tim0thy (585890) | more than 11 years ago | (#4592007)

According to the article, the following UDP ports are being blocked: 1034, 1035, 2090, 2091, 5000, 6801, 6802, 6803, 9900, 9901, 12080, 12120, 12122, 22555, 26133, 30582, 35061, 38000, 38100, 38200, 47563, 48310, 51200, and 51201.
# 1034-1035 Unassigned
lrp 2090/udp Load Report Protocol
prp 2091/udp PRP
commplex-main 5000/udp
# 6791-6830 Unassigned
iua 9900/udp IUA
# 9901-9908 Unassigned
# 12007-12171 Unassigned
vocaltec-phone 22555/udp Vocaltec Internet Phone
# 26001-26207 Unassigned
# 31417-32767 Unassigned
# 34250-36864 Unassigned
# 37476-38200 Unassigned
# 47558-47623 Unassigned
# 48004-48555 Unassigned

Most are unassigned anyways.

1034-1035? (2)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 11 years ago | (#4592058)

1034, 1035, 2090, 2091 and 5000 -- aren't those all in the dynamic address range? Wouldn't blocking those ports cause sporadic communications failures in programs such as web browsers?

Re:1034-1035? (1)

tim0thy (585890) | more than 11 years ago | (#4592094)

Only if you are extremely unlucky that day. :)

I don't see how this is moral or legal.. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4592008)


Example: I buy a new tool. It is a clawhammer. For some reason, this deprives the company making nail removers of money, especially considering their old nail removers were overpriced.

So, the government affiliated nail remover maker goes and makes buying clawhammers illegal.

This is immoral. You can't just rent-a-law because your overpriced technology is being smashed by a preferrable alternative.

I mean, just because you can buy laws (ie: riaa), doesn't mean it should be allowed to happen..

Re:I don't see how this is moral or legal.. (2)

jonr (1130) | more than 11 years ago | (#4592054)

Well, it's more like if the government would make it mandatory for hardware stores to remove the claw of the clawhammers... pretty silly. O

Re:I don't see how this is moral or legal.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4592093)

well, apparently it is legal in Panama

Hello? Big business? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4592017)

Hello? Big business? I wonder who lobbied for that change. Because is it good for their citizens? Or just the government's big money backers? This isn't just an American problem. This is another red flag telling us we need to get special interest groups out of all governments.

SSH tunnel? (0)

SirCrashALot (614498) | more than 11 years ago | (#4592018)

Couldn't you use an SSH tunnel to circumvent the blocks? Thats how I do samba and VNC (but thats for security purposes so I can keep my router zipped up tight). I don't know how tunnelling would work with a centralized server, but you could certainly tunnel ports directly to another comp. For windows user, PUTTY works great. Putty [greenend.org.uk]
ssh -L5903:localhost:5903 24.46.xxx.xxx

Unbelievable (2, Troll)

Citizen of Earth (569446) | more than 11 years ago | (#4592028)

the government of Panama has decreed that 46 UDP ports be blocked by all Internet service providers.

That's unbelievable!... that it happened in Panama before America.

Re:Unbelievable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4592074)

A quick look at a world map will tell you that Panama is INSIDE America.

Re:Unbelievable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4592105)

Right on the money... ohh wait it just never gets published by the media!

As a courtesy... (2)

EvilAlien (133134) | more than 11 years ago | (#4592030)

... the rest of the Internet could simply not route any traffic to Panama, all to assist them in controlling the evils of VoIP. That would make sure the telcos survive as it would ensure they are the only option for communication with the outside world.

Who's with me?

Wow, move to Costa Rica (1)

Facekhan (445017) | more than 11 years ago | (#4592032)

Fuck Panama, just think if Al "I invented the Internet " Gore was Commander in Chief we would be invading Panama over this (hehehe another Bush Joke) .

Oh well I think the Panamanian Government just helped about 10 million people realize how stupid government is in general.

Obligatory... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4592034)

...Can you hear me now?...

More genius from those 'in charge'. (2)

digitaltraveller (167469) | more than 11 years ago | (#4592047)

#ifdef __PANAMA__
#define VOIP_PORT 80
#endif

Re:More genius from those 'in charge'. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4592084)

Since this is UDP we're talking about, more likely it'd be...

#ifdef __PANAMA__
#define VOIP_PORT 53
#endif ... or 69, 123, 161 or 139 - actually that last one might not be a bad idea.

There isn't any point to this because... (1)

tim0thy (585890) | more than 11 years ago | (#4592049)

Users can just imbed the VOIP packets inside another port and use that to transport. Sure, it won't be as efficient (latency might be problematic), but it'll get the job done.

This isn't really all that different from what... (5, Interesting)

3-State Bit (225583) | more than 11 years ago | (#4592055)

the U.S., as well as many other countries, already do, albeit in a different industry. When the U.S. says: "You, as a citizen, are not allowed to circumvent insuring your automobile, say by having infinity cash [sic] that you're willing to use to pay for any damages that you might inflict, but must go through a PRIVATE, government regulated insurance agency in order to use the public roads..."
Except for satellite and other wireless communications, ALL VoIP in Panama (as elsewhere) goes through wires that sit on the Government's land (that would be everything). If I can't use a public road except by playing by the rules of regulated private companies, (even if I know of a cheaper alternative), why should Panamians be allowed to use data lines going through public land, except by playing by the rules of a regulated private company?

Okay, that's the most contrived example I could think of. I don't think there's a closer equivalent -- some candidates were Edison (the electric company) - run public schools (look it up -- but you're not required to go to one, since you can homeschool) and private appraisals mandated in certain cases by the government.

Anyway, uh, yeah, HOW DARE THEY.

Re:This isn't really all that different from what. (4, Informative)

rc-flyer (20492) | more than 11 years ago | (#4592086)

Actually, you're wrong. If you have enough cash and can prove it (by posting a bond for example), in many states you can avoid purchasing insurance. Essentially, you are self-insuring yourself. Whether that is a smart thing to do is another question entirely.

VOIP Sucks anyway (0)

dan_the_heretic (260226) | more than 11 years ago | (#4592062)

So what does it matter. I mean, have you done VOIP at 42K dial up?

What it will also kill.. (3, Interesting)

sakusha (441986) | more than 11 years ago | (#4592063)

On the positive side, this should kill the Windows Messenger popup spams, which propagate over UDP ports.
On the negative side, it will kill Quicktime, which needs UDP ports for negotiating a connection.

In case site gets /.'ed (5, Informative)

tim0thy (585890) | more than 11 years ago | (#4592067)

In an apparent attempt to stem telephone company revenue losses due to Internet telephony, the government of Panama has decreed that 46 UDP ports be blocked by all Internet service providers.

The ports include ones that are commonly used for voice over IP as well as some that are used for other purposes, apparently with the idea that these, too, could be used to circumvent the POTS (plain old telephone system, a term of art) in making telephone calls.

In the decree, the Panamanian government requires "that within 5 days of publication, all ISPs will block the 46 UDP ports used for VoIP and any other that could be used in the future (which could end up being all UDP ports)," according to a reporter and computer consultant there, and that "the ISPs will block in their firewall or main router and in all their Border routers that connect with other autonomous systems."

This "unequivocally decrees that all routers, including those not carrying traffic from Panama, but that might be traversing Panama, have the 46 UDP ports blocked."

The significance of the government action affects areas far beyond that nation. Due to its geographical location, numerous undersea cables connect in the country, making it a substantial hub for international IP traffic.

Among the services that are to be disrupted are NetMeeting, Dialpad, and Net2phone, which labels itself "communication without borders," a claim which apparently will no longer be true if one of those borders is Panamanian or communication is between two countries whose IP traffic passes through Panama.

The decree is apparently rooted in complaints by Cable & Wireless Panama (Motto: "If you're worried about your data, voice, or Internet service provider, we're here to help"), which says it is losing money due to users employing the Internet to make otherwise expensive internetional telephone calls -- calls that would otherwise be listed on Cable & Wireless bills.

The UDP ports involved include: 1034, 1035, 2090, 2091, 5000, 6801, 6802, 6803, 9900, 9901, 12080, 12120, 12122, 22555, 26133, 30582, 35061, 38000, 38100, 38200, 47563, 48310, 51200, and 51201.

The decree was published October 25.

Among the services that employ some of those ports are "nlockmgr," the NFS lock manager responsible for rpc.statd and rpc.lockd, which in turn are responsible for crash recovery functions for locked files and for processing file locking requests, respectively; telnet; and numerous VoIP services.

In addition to those who wish to save on their phone bills, the government order blocks the perfectly lawful use of those ports by businesses that have legitimate VoIP applications allowed in the country.

There were reports late Sunday that Panamanian ISPs were planning a demonstration aimed at exhibiting their displeasure with the government action.

Possible reasons for this move? (5, Interesting)

uncleFester (29998) | more than 11 years ago | (#4592068)

Out of simple curiosity, I plugged 'panama phone company' [google.com] into Google.. after all, what could this little pissant country have in the way of phone companines? And what are the first two links to pop up?

Privatization - Phone Company: [alphaluz.com] and A Case of Privatization Gone Wrong: Panama's Wires Crossed [worldpress.org] . Perhaps this is the start of some revenue-generating stunt to pull some dumbass decision-maker's ass out of a fire somewhere?

-fester (capt. conspiracy?)

ps.. I'm sure Panamanians by and large dislike this as well.. the 'pissant' is directed at the governmental representation of Panama, which right now looks suspiciously like a boil on someone's ass.

This is crazy. (2, Insightful)

fearincontrol (622152) | more than 11 years ago | (#4592088)

This ranks up with the CBDTPA as the most absurd legislation of the twentieth century. There are so many loopholes around this law it's stupid, not to mention the fact that banning a port to try and stop any certain service is stupid -- as has been pointed out, it's not exactly amazingly difficult to change the port used by the program. *clap clap* I think Panama secretly elected GWB. This is exactly the kind of ignorant decision he's famous for.

Panama assists security developers everywhere. (4, Informative)

anto (41846) | more than 11 years ago | (#4592089)

People have been saying for years we need transparent encryption of internet connections (OK mabee I've been saying it) Once 'important' countries like Panama start playing routing games like this it becomes even more important.

Such heavy handed actions might be just what projects like FreeSwan [freeswan.org] need to get more universal acceptance. That all being said does anyone honestly belive that panama will be able to block *all* UDP traffic, while they are at it is might be a good idea to block ICMP and TCP - both of which could potentially carry voice data as well.

Cable & Wireless of "Panama" (5, Interesting)

Augusto (12068) | more than 11 years ago | (#4592109)

This is very embarassing, but not a surprise.

This is yet another example of our British friends at Cable & Wireless adapting to the local culture of the country which they're sucking the blood out of. They obviously have quickly learned the Panamenian way of politics and have paid off all the necessary politicians, which can often be bought very cheap.

Cable & Wireless is privatization gone totally wrong. The previous phone company was a government owned company called INTEL, and Cable & Wireless beat US GTE and took over the phone system of Panama. The results have been horrible.

Local calls in Panama used to be like in the US, you paid your minimal fee and could talk all the minutes you wanted. Cable & Wireless brought the wonderful European model of paying for each minute for local calls.

If that wasn't enough, they also charge you per minute (I think) for calls from a land line phone in your house to a cell phone. That is, you pay for calling a cell phone and the person on the cell phone pays too. I had to find this the hard way after making a few calls to some friends from my grandmothers house.

So, people are fed up with them, and the internet savy are using Voice over IP a lot. I used to receive a lot of calls from a cousing over dialpad.com (when it was free). This was the ideal system to make a call to the US, dialpad was for US calls only, but the funny thing is that this worked great if you lived in another country.

Here's a good article on the whole mess Cable & Wireless is creating;

A Case of Privatization Gone Wrong - [worldpress.org]
Panama's Wires Crossed

fall out? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4592113)

you dont loose your hands for downloading a voip proxy this do ya?

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