Wednesday, September 20, 2006

SOS - Save Our Skype

The movement to save Skype at San Jose State continues to grow. The JMC163 class blog has a list of recent posts about the issue. Andrew Venegas sent an email to Bob Neal, the Sr Director, Network & Telecom Network Services UCAT, and got a response. Steve Sloan sent out this letter to the campus community (I also copied the SOS title from Steve). It is a great perspective from an educator. The Spartan Daily and the Skype Journal have all picked up the topic, and it looks like it will soon be in the Mercury News. Keep the letters coming. Here is my email to Bob Neal:

Dear Mr. Neal:

I am one of many students that were very surprised to learn that San Jose State University is contemplating blocking the use of Skype on campus. Skype is a powerful tool that seems to me to be a great way to enhance my education. Not only is a working knowledge of Skype and similar services going to be necessary for me to get a quality job when I graduate, but students and teachers can use it to improve the quality of education at San Jose State now. Skype is a tool that expands our universe as students; we now are able to connect with people all over the world in a way never before imaginable. Just think of the possibilities! Blocking Skype is nothing but a shortsighted move on the part of ignorant University staff. Please do not let this happen! We need to stay on top of the very latest technology, not pretend like it does not exist!

Sincerely,
Kyle Hansen

It is not nearly as elegant as Steve Sloan's, but the more people he hears from, the better. If you are a SJSU student, email him at bob.neal@sjsu.edu or call 408.924.7862. I will post any response I get and any other news I hear.

PS - for those of you that are Mac users, there is a new version of Skype, and it is pretty cool.

2 comments:

MikeS said...

It's funny all this chest beating about "saving Skype". If you ever sat across from a panel of lawyers who are defending their client against your claim of IP theft, you would not be nearly as friendly to Skype when Skype is what gets the scumbag off. Why? Because Skype is encrypted and unlke IM, there are not any real endpoints that can be tracked. You can not prove that the suspect did or did not talk to the other side and when. There is no telcom records, no IP tracks, no usernames, no content to examine, no log files and so on. From an legal perspective, Skype is a magic bullet to get your client off the hook. To the injuried party, Skype is the devil incarnate where they have just been screwed and didnt even get a kiss out of it.

If you want to use Skype, then rules need to be in place, better yet, there needs to be a corporate version of Skype that provides the corporation (school, business etc) certain protections. If Skype is not willing to do that, then people like me will try to ban Skype anywhere other then personal use.

Lisa said...

I'm not very familiar with Skype, but... I work for a school district, technology department, where we try to keep the bad stuff out and let the good stuff in. My daughter uses Skype to call me from collage and for that it is great. Because of what I do for a living I know that things are never as black and white as we sometimes would like them to be. I read the comment sent by Mike and I can see where there could be some real problems. It is not easy to keep up with or ahead of those who will misuse great technology. It's the old saying about one bad apple in the barrel can spoil it for all.
It would be interesting if you were given the responsibilities and standards that need to be upheld and had to implement them.. what your take would be on this. I'm not taking sides because I do not have all the facts. I can see a lot of good and potential for some real problems with Skype coming from a network / legal end of things.