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United States The Internet

U.S. Endorses ENUM 186

esarjeant writes "It looks like the the U.S. has endorsed ENUM (also known as E.164.arpa). This means you get a single number for phone and Internet, look for demos at Spring VON (San Jose, April 1-3) and VISIONng will be engaging in US trials. Essentially this means you get a new TLD of e164.arpa with your phone number in front of it." The addresses look pretty long and unwieldy, but supposedly consumer devices will make it easier to use.
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U.S. Endorses ENUM

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  • I think (Score:3, Funny)

    by Timesprout ( 579035 ) on Friday February 14, 2003 @08:35AM (#5300917)
    this is going to make writing women's phone numbers on beer mats a tad more difficult.
    • this is gonna mean *making up* phonenumbers more difficult ;)

    • Is for one person to read out their number, the other person rings it without answering, and you both type in names on the "last dialled" / "missed calls" lists of your phones without having been charged by either network!

      The only problem is the stalker with hyper hearing who also notes down the number while one of you is saying it aloud, but that is easily fixed by having one person dial their number on the other persons phone, as long as you like them enough to not worry about whether their hands are sticky or not.

      My bar's too stingy for beer mats anyway.

    • Re:I think (Score:3, Funny)

      by joe_bruin ( 266648 )
      dude, i totally scored her number, check it out: 1.0.0.127.e164.arpa

      HEY, WAITAMINUTE!
  • by Lawrence_Bird ( 67278 ) on Friday February 14, 2003 @08:35AM (#5300918) Homepage
    or was that fiber to the curb? Doesn't this make it all that much easier to track people down?
    • hey moderator.. help me understand how its off topic? Havent heard of cell phone users getting spammed? Now we can have a spam autodialer/ portscanner for all the phones and inet connections. How does this make my life any better? Is it that complex to remember a phone number and an internet username? This IMHO has *nothing* to do wiht making things better for the consumer and everything to do with business selling direct to you. " The Department of Commerce said it will support an electronic-numbering system, known as ENUM, which would allow consumers to specify a single identifier for their telephone numbers, e-mail and Instant Messaging (news - web sites) addresses, fax numbers, and mobile phone numbers. In a letter to the State Department, Assistant Secretary of Commerce Nancy Victory said the U.S. should endorse the effort but work to ensure that users' privacy and security will be protected and innovation and competition would be encouraged. "
    • > Doesn't this make it all that much easier to track
      > people down?

      Not at all.

      Does the DNS system we've had all this time make it easier to track you down if someone had your IP address? Not at all.

      Besides, if i wanted to wardial now, there is nothing to stop me.

      Do you think its OK i dial all phone numbers on a telephone and write down who answers, but not to use a DNS database to see who has a domain linked to their phone number?

      The latter would be less annoying atleast, i dont have to have you answer the phone disturbing you to know the number is active.

      Right now IP addresses resolve back to hosts.
      This isnt www.domain.com -> 192.168.0.1.
      This is the other direction.

      192.168.0.1 resolves to www.mydomain.com
      This allows 555-1212 to resolve to phone.mydomain.com

      That is all.

      If you have 192.168.0.1, then you also get
      1.0.168.192.in-addr.arpa to use to point to a host/domain. (For real IPs that is)

      This allows your phone number to point back to a host/domain (IE phone.mydomain.com) as well.

      You still have to know one of the two before hand.
      The only possible info you can gain is that a phone number DOES or DOES NOT resolve at all.
      If it does, you can assume that number is valid/active.

      Right now the only method to do that is... lets see.. I can call it and see if someone answers. I can look it up in a digital phonebook (Technically the real phone book too, but it is not sorted in an easy way to do that kinda search) or just call up and ask the phone company if that number is available, you want it on your line.

      And since this is reverse dns, it has to be setup.
      A phone number could very well be active and if you dont wanna give it a domain, dont!
      I dont have to have my IP resolve back to www.mydomain.com if i dont want it to. (Ok there are some technical reasons like SSL and SSH need this, as well as IRC etc, but those are rare.)
      Just like you dont have to put it in the phone book (Well, ideally heh)

      You can have an IP address and hand that out all over the place, just like you can only hand out your phone number.

      DNS was made to make remembering IPs not needed.
      Now they want to do the same thing with phone numbers, and all people do is bitch.

      Hope this clears up some stuff.
  • First 10 Digits (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mhaisley ( 410683 ) on Friday February 14, 2003 @08:35AM (#5300921)
    First 10 digit dialing, now this? Seems we could base somthing off of just the number its self, although that seems to be the way the idea is going.

    It looks like were getting ever closer to the point where I have to enter a username and password to make a phone call. Seriously folks, the phone is the simplest computer interface in the world, don't ruin it. I don't want email on my phone, and caller id on my tv, I want tv on my tv and other people on my phone!
    • Re:First 10 Digits (Score:4, Interesting)

      by dubious9 ( 580994 ) on Friday February 14, 2003 @08:50AM (#5300982) Journal
      If you think about it, if someone is trying to get a hold of you why should they have to try several distinct numbers and addresses? Doesn't it make sense to have just one, and information gets routed to the appropriate interface (phone, e-mail, IM, etc.)?

      Besides, there will probably be some directory assistance to find people. Even people who are not listed can give you their number once and your equipment will remember it based on the short identifier you give it.

      The Future (tm) will be "Call John" "E-mail John" "Im John" Not "Phone 4.3.2.1.5.5.5.2.0.2.1.e164.arpa"

      Come on, what could be easier that instead of dialing, typing or whatever, you just tell your device who you want to contact.
      • Re:First 10 Digits (Score:5, Insightful)

        by mccalli ( 323026 ) on Friday February 14, 2003 @09:20AM (#5301074) Homepage
        If you think about it, if someone is trying to get a hold of you why should they have to try several distinct numbers and addresses?

        Because I want them to.

        I answer the home landline nearly 100% of the time. I answer my mobile maybe 70% of the time (depends on location and context). I respond to email at a different frequency to my phone call response. And all that is before we take into account that I have several different email addresses for different purposes, and also four different phone numbers (two home landlines, one mobile, one work).

        I want communication separated out by purpose.

        Cheers,
        Ian

        • I answer the home landline nearly 100% of the time. I answer my mobile maybe 70% of the time (depends on location and context). I respond to email at a different frequency to my phone call response. And all that is before we take into account that I have several different email addresses for different purposes, and also four different phone numbers (two home landlines, one mobile, one work).

          Having different devices addresses and giving different people different details is a clumsy and inelegant solution. A far better idea is to have one contact number, connecting to any of your devices, and have an intelligent means to sort calls depending on the originator's device and their own identity, then decide what to do with it. You can already do something like this with the smarter mobile phones, using caller groups (my Nokia 6310i can be set to divert a particular caller group to voicemail without ever ringing during certain hours, but ring for them the rest of the time, for example).

          I want communication separated out by purpose.

          But you don't have that now - you don't know until you answer it that a business contact might have gotten your home number. Or a family member calls your mobile in an emergency. Far better for your phone to take care of that for you. That's what computers are good for, taking care of if-then-else decisions so people don't have to.
        • I want communication separated out by purpose.

          Then get a seperate line for your "business", and one for yourself. Any filtering beyond that can be handled by Caller ID.
      • f you think about it, if someone is trying to get a hold of you why should they have to try several distinct numbers and addresses? Doesn't it make sense to have just one, and information gets routed to the appropriate interface (phone, e-mail, IM, etc

        Because people wear different "hats" and very few people would want to give out their personal telephone number for business usage or vice versa.
      • If you think about it, if someone is trying to get a hold of you why should they have to try several distinct numbers and addresses? Doesn't it make sense to have just one, and information gets routed to the appropriate interface (phone, e-mail, IM, etc.)?

        I would like to be able to change my email address without changing my phone number. You think spam is bad now? Consider how bad it'll be if you have one universal address. As soon as you get into the system, you're toast. The only way to stop the 100 message a day flood will be to change your universal phone/email number.
    • Seriously folks, the phone is the simplest computer interface in the world, don't ruin it.

      Too late. Have you seen some of the wireless phones these days? Just like every other consumer electronic device, phones are getting close to being unuseable without the user's guide. Each cell phone I've gotten over the last 6 years I like less than the one before. I can't wait until this absurd marketing-executive-spawned nonsense of phones that take pictures and phones that do text messaging through the numeric pad and other stupid gimmicks dies a well-deserved death. I want a phone to call people! I don't need companies Microsoft-ing cell phones so that they do a bunch of unrelated useless tasks and do nothing well. I don't need to friggin' surf the Internet on an 80x120 pixel screen!

      Just because you can, doesn't mean you should. I'm the biggest gadget freak I know, but these new phones just look stupid to me.

      • Re:First 10 Digits (Score:3, Interesting)

        by stripes ( 3681 )
        phones that do text messaging through the numeric pad and other stupid gimmicks

        The text messaging on some phones is quite easy to use, and frequently costs less money then a short call...and is a lot less intrusave to recieve (and sometimes make). So for me, text messaging via the keypad is a win.

        I don't need to friggin' surf the Internet on an 80x120 pixel screen!

        I can't say I've really found web browsing on a phone all that useful. Except once. I had taken a walk in a show storm and managed to get lost on twisty little roads. Mapquest even on the tiny phone was quite useful. A GPS might have been better, but I didn't have one. That was 3 years ago or so, I havn't had great use for a web browser in my phone since.

        I don't think this new addressing scheme will have anything to do with how we use cell phones though, just how we use computers to talk to cell phones...

        Plus, isn't this just Carl Malamute's tpc.int all over again? Same thing, revers the digit order, put dots between them...

  • great (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ubi_NL ( 313657 ) <joris@ideeeGAUSSl.nl minus math_god> on Friday February 14, 2003 @08:37AM (#5300924) Journal
    So, if I post to usenet, google archives this, and any idiot in the world has my phone number.

    no thanks
    • Type your phone # in google as it is (ie: 555-555-5555), if you are listed it's going to show who you are and where you live.

      My gf used it to track down the location of a harassing caller.
      • Yes, fine. Basically just a phonebook. The problem is that with this new system, a person would have that info to enter at google and get the info. With it as it is now, you enter someone's email address and all you will get are other instances of that email address posting (to usenet, public mailing lists, etc). You wont get anything REAL on that email address.


        If you enter my email address at google you wont get anything on me but other posts. Type my phone number, happily provided by this bogus system, and now you know my phone number and address. You have now specifically gained info on me as an individual in ways unavailable from just my semi-anonymous email address.


  • Oh well, with all the news surrounding new numbering plans... I'll think I'll just wait for the neural interface with GPS built-in... now wait...
  • by More Karma Than God ( 643953 ) on Friday February 14, 2003 @08:39AM (#5300932)
    One Number to rule them all, One Number to find them,
    One Number to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.
  • Opting out? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pongo000 ( 97357 ) on Friday February 14, 2003 @08:40AM (#5300937)
    I choose to have my phone number unlisted and unpublished. Does this mean I will have to disclose my phone number if I'm using an e.164-enabled device? Or will I just have to sit this one out on the sidelines, confident that it will die the quick death so common with flash-in-the-pan technology?

    Personally, I don't want to be ubiquitously accessible. I don't want my internet and telephone services magically tied together. This sounds like a scheme that will benefit vendors, providers, and marketers more than it will benefit consumers.
  • Practicality check (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vinsci ( 537958 ) on Friday February 14, 2003 @08:40AM (#5300938) Journal
    The addresses look pretty long and unwieldy
    Reminds me of X.400 e-mail addresses, which weren't so successful. The main reason were exactly their long and unwieldy addresses: multi-line e-mail addresses! There too, applications were supposed to hide the complexity, but someone has to type it into the application to begin with.

    I prefer callto:// URI:s any day.

  • Oh, great. (Score:2, Funny)

    by dphoenix ( 623525 )
    Telemarketer: Hello, sir! Can I interest you in a university diploma?
    Me: "It's 4 am."
    Telemarketer: It's 8 am here, sir! So How about that university diploma?

    This is a horribly, horribly bad idea. :)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Could this be the number that Revelations is talking
    about and not your social security number?


    I love the quote: "
    U.S. should endorse the effort but work to ensure that users' privacy and security will be protected and innovation and competition would be encouraged.
    "

    ...and this is the same US government that is proposing
    patriot II?


    Could they be talking about Microsoft when they mention
    innovation? After all everyone knows Microsoft is very
    good at legal innovations.

  • International (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mccalli ( 323026 ) on Friday February 14, 2003 @08:41AM (#5300943) Homepage
    you get a new TLD of e164.arpa

    Hmm. Not .arpa.us then? Is the idea that all numbers across the globe fit into .arpa, or is this an example of an inappropriate TLD?

    .com and .org have a sensible argument to make themselves out to be international. Phone numbers are definitely region-specific however, and they certainly should be encompassed within . domains.

    Cheers,
    Ian

    • +1 to dial US
      +47 to dial me (Norway)

      Shouldn't really add more than one number, there's not more than 256 countries today I think.

      Not that I really care about this idea anyway...

      Kjella
    • E.164 phone numbers are international. They begin with a country code, which in the case of the US happens to be exactly the same as the long-distance prefix.
    • .arpa is used for reverse DNS lookups. For example, if your IP address is 1.2.3.4, the DNS name 4.3.2.1.in-addr.arpa corresponds to it.
      • No, in-addr.arpa is used for Internet address lookups. The arpa TLD is there to act as a TLD for services like this. The service itself is always represented as a second-level domain under arpa.
  • by Animus Howard ( 643891 ) on Friday February 14, 2003 @08:43AM (#5300949)
    From http://www.networkmagazine.com/article/printableAr ticle?doc_id=NMG20020304S0011:

    "Just how does ENUM turn phone numbers into domains? When an ENUM client queries DNS, it reverses the phone number ordering and applies the domain name at the end. If the original number is +1-415-947-6022, for example, the ENUM client removes all the dashes and punctuation to get 14159476022. The phone number is then sent to DNS as 2.2.0.6.7.4.9.5.1.4.1.e.164.arpa, assuming the server is located in the .arpa domain."

  • by Quantum Jim ( 610382 ) <jfcst24@@@yahoo...com> on Friday February 14, 2003 @08:44AM (#5300951) Homepage Journal
    First of all, is this going to allow me to type "T.T.A.L.L.A.C.0.0.8.1.e164.arpa" when I want to go to the "1-800-CALL-ATT" or would I have to use the actual numbers?

    Secondly, how long until we get:

    Just type T.T.A.L.L.A.C.0.0.8.1.e164.arpa to save up to 44% on long-distance internet browsing!

    Finally, why is this addressing scheme named after Arpanet (*.arpa)? Isn't that a bit out-of-date?
    • It's a reverse lookup : if you reverse-lookup an IP address w.x.y.z you actually query the DNS for z.y.x.w.in-addr.arpa, though typical tools hide this stuff from you.

    • > First of all, is this going to allow me to type
      > "T.T.A.L.L.A.C.0.0.8.1.e164.arpa" when I want to
      > go to the "1-800-CALL-ATT"

      Um.

      About as much as it allows you to type 1.0.168.192.in-addr.arpa to get the host that points to this IP, then resolve the host to get the exact IP you started with and clearly knew to do this.

      If you have the T.T.A.L.L.A.C.0.0.8.1.e164.arpa, you KNOW the number!!!

      This is reverse DNS for phone numbers (instead of IPs)

      When i make phone.mydomain.com resolve to my phone number, it would be nice for my phone number to reverse resolve back to phone.mydomain.com, and that 2nd part of the process is where e164 comes in.

  • So, not only will I get spam telling me how to "enlarge my member" but phone calls during dinner, too. Isn't that special.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    What the Internet really needs is a set of numbers to connect to commonly used people and sites. The current system (tld's, subdomains, @-signs, etc.) is way too confusing. People have a hard time understanding it and finding what they are looking for. A number similar to a phone number for looking up people and businesses on the Internet would simplify things a lot. The only catch I see is that there are a lot of Internet addresses, and perhaps a 32-bit number would be required to identify all of them.

    Further, I propose a system to extend the Internet phone numbers to have a textual equivalent. It would be a word or series of words that might be chosen to describe the person or business owning the number. Further, suffixes could be used to identify the nature of the name, such as commercial or the name of the country of origin. To distinguish between the various Internet addresses accessed by the number, a prefix could optionally be added to specify the protocol with which to connect, and for families, businesses and groups, a user name could optionally be specified in addition.

    This new system would be a dramatic simplification of the current system with its confusing and obfuscated methodologies. Numbers are much better for identification, and with the usability enhancements I have described would be far superior.
  • by DarklordJonnyDigital ( 522978 ) on Friday February 14, 2003 @08:50AM (#5300979) Homepage Journal
    Y'know, this isn't going to be as bad as you think it is.

    Sure, it's been argued that this means anyone can find out your phone number from your IP, your IP from your phone number or something similar, and telemarket the living daylights out of you. Not true. Unsolicited telemarketing spam, as you've no doubt been reading on Slashdot, is likely to soon become illegal in all states and most of Europe - at least, that's what I see happening. The closer the internet comes to the phone system, the more quickly we'll see spam being made equally illegal.

    As well as encouraging people and corporations to get the broadband into peoples' homes - and I see just about every home "having the internet" within the decade - this system could provide a way of linking a physical location or house number with an internet address, making it easier for legitimate marketers to get along with consumers. I'm already seeing banner ad servers that see from my hostname the I'm in the UK and serve me advertising for UK ISPs - expanding on this concept, we might some day find all banner ads like Slashdot's - serving us only advertising that interests us (Megatokyo [megatokyo.com] shirts, web servers, ThinkGeek) and less online casinos, spyware and fake Windows dialog boxes!
    • by dphoenix ( 623525 ) on Friday February 14, 2003 @09:00AM (#5301020)
      There are many states that have clear restrictions and laws regarding e-mail spam, but this is never tracked down or dealt with. Specifics like no forged headers, no using anonymous remailers, and so on. But it's tough to track down, and spammers are very crafty, and thus little gets done - at all. Connecting the two (phone, internet) will only worsen the problem. Perhaps, senators would be more interested in legislation and enforcement if they have a 9 year old daughter being offered penis enlargement during dinner-time.
      • This is easier to solve than most people think - simply write the law in such a way that the producer/distributor of whatever is being sold/promoted via SPAM is punished for it, regardless of wether or not they 'directly' sent it out. After all, there's always one way to get in touch with the penis enlargement people - order the stuff ;-)
    • by isaac ( 2852 ) on Friday February 14, 2003 @09:07AM (#5301039)
      Sure, it's been argued that this means anyone can find out your phone number from your IP, your IP from your phone number or something similar, and telemarket the living daylights out of you. Not true. Unsolicited telemarketing spam, as you've no doubt been reading on Slashdot, is likely to soon become illegal in all states and most of Europe - at least, that's what I see happening. The closer the internet comes to the phone system, the more quickly we'll see spam being made equally illegal.

      Oh! Well, I feel so much better then, seeing as how NOBODY ever does anything illegal. After all, I'm sure all those unsolicited emails in my inbox are for perfectly legal and legitimate businesses! And look what a good job the junk-fax laws have done - I've never gotten a fax spam!

      </SARCASM>

      Make something possible and it will happen. Create a marketing opportunity, and it will be exploited. Nature abhors a vacuum.

      -Isaac

    • but what about Nigeria?
    • Sure, it's been argued that this means anyone can find out your phone number from your IP, your IP from your phone number or something similar, and telemarket the living daylights out of you. Not true. Unsolicited telemarketing spam, as you've no doubt been reading on Slashdot, is likely to soon become illegal in all states and most of Europe - at least, that's what I see happening.

      Since a fair amount of spam is sent by criminals anyway why should one more help anyway? Especially since spam can be sent from anywhere... It's not as if the UN security council is passing resolutions against spammers.
    • You lost me. How would this privacy violation encourage anyone to provide broadband to anyone? What diff does it make what the nature of your identifier is wrt whether or not broadband is made available?


      I'd STILL be stuck with dialup, being in a USA rural area (meaning BIG wide open spaces vs the equivalent in the UK where it appears that DSL is doable with just a little goading/support from the guv'mnt)...it would just mean I would have the same old slow 56k connection but broadcast to everyone what my phone number is...and I'm UNLISTED for a reason.

    • Imagine all of the opportunities to sell enlargement creams, investments in dead dictator's uncleared bank accounts and printer toner cartridges. All you have to do is a dictionary attack against the known area codes and local exchanges. Wow! Imagine the growth in the US economy!
    • Who decides who is a legitimate marketer ? If I want to hear from a vendor I will contact them, otherwise they should be restricted to public advertising, targeted spam, and mail should be illegal. The only good thing about it is stuffing the pre-paid return envelope back in the mail empty...
  • Great! (Score:5, Funny)

    by SecretAsianMan ( 45389 ) on Friday February 14, 2003 @08:51AM (#5300987) Homepage
    looks like the the U.S. has endorsed ENUM

    Great! Maybe we will all start using enum instead of #defined constants!

  • by wowbagger ( 69688 ) on Friday February 14, 2003 @08:52AM (#5300990) Homepage Journal
    (NOTE: I realise what I am about to propose will never happen.)

    The DNS system should be reversed - in other words, this site should be http://org.slashdot

    Justification: The ideal would be for the domain to move from the least specific to the most specific. Consider the current system: First, you have the protocol - the most general part of the URL. Then, you have the domain, moving from the most specific to the most general. Then, you have the URI (directory and filename), which moves from the most general to the most specific.

    Now, consider if DNS were to be reversed. You would move from the most general (the protocol), then the TLD, then the organization, then the machine, the directories, the file name, and any CGI args.

    The ENUM system would be more in line with telephony - you would have the country code, then the area code, exchange, and finally number, just like the current system, rather than having to reverse the number.

    You could still have the completion feature you have now - if you type tel://555.1212 the system could automatically apply the default country code and area code, it would just prepend rather than append.

    (Oh, BTW: on ENUM, they should have allowed each logical grouping of the telephone to be one subdomain - in other words, county code.area code.exchange.number, rather than c.o.u.n.t.r.y.c.o.d.e etc.)
    • by mccalli ( 323026 ) on Friday February 14, 2003 @08:59AM (#5301018) Homepage
      The DNS system should be reversed - in other words, this site should be http://org.slashdot

      Used to be the case in the UK. The UK's primary network system was JANET (Joint Academic NETwork), and its systems worked as you described.

      For example, I used to go to University in Lancaster. My email address was csc345@uk.ac.lancs.cent1. To communicate with the rest of the world however, I learnt to always write this as csc345@cent1.lancs.ac.uk.

      Cheers,
      Ian

    • For once, this is something they got right in the UK (they still drive on the wrong side of the street, though. ;-)

      What you propose was actually the standard way of adressing internet hosts in the UK many moons ago. Since all net related software was provided with source, they were patched to handle this way of addressing hosts.

    • IMHO it makes more sense to specify the most specific section of the domain first, as the general bit can be assumed.

      For example, I have a default domain of twoshortplanks.com. This means I can type "http://zen" into my browser and it looks up "zen.twoshortplanks.com". Where is is most useful is for things like "mail". When I move around I DHCP and that sets the default domain completion for my DNS, meaning when I'm at home I can get "mail.twoshortplanks.com" when I look up "mail" and when I'm other places like work I get "mail.otherplace.com". Very handy.

    • Yes, basically, you're right.
      -russ
  • It'll be to easy for spammers to find recipients at random, the scheme looks too ordered.
  • ring.. ring.. (Score:2, Interesting)

    Me: Hello?
    Someone: Hi, is this 2..2.0.6.7.4.9.5.1.4.1.e.164.arpa ?
    Me: Yes.
    Someone: Did you get my e-mail?
    Me: Who is this?
    Someone: Do you want to improve your sex life by having a penis enlargement.
    Me: I'm sorry , but I already have a large penis.Goodbye.
    *click*

    ring..ring..
  • by image ( 13487 )
    About time the rest of the US caught on. I've been using ENUM's since Pascal:
    TYPE
    Suit = { spades, hearts, clubs, diamonds };
    Or C:
    enum suit { SPADES, HEARTS, CLUBS, DIAMONDS };
    Or Java:
    public final class Suit {
    public static final Suit SPADES = new Suit( "Spades" );
    public static final Suit HEARTS = new Suit( "Hearts" );
    public static final Suit DIAMONDS = new Suit( "Diamonds" );
    public static final Suit CLUBS = new Suit( "Clubs" );
    private String _name = null;
    private Suit( String name ) { _name = name; }
    public String toString{ return _name; }
    }
    Oh wait. Now I read the article! Nevermind...
  • IMHO email addresses, domain names and URLs are easier to remember and use than numbers. There are very few phone numbers I can type in from memory (my own, my parents', my work's... that's probably it), and dozens of email addresses and web site front page URLs.

    Rather than embed a clunky phone number into a DNS entry, can't we hide phone numbers behind a directory the way DNS hides IP addresses? The spam issue would need to be addressed of course, but the sooner I can use a payphone without needing to look up a number manually the better.
    • I'm even worse. I couldn't remember my fiancees, my work or my moms number if my life depended on it. It's not that I've got a problem remembering numbers - I remember my bank account numbers etc. with no problems at all. The reason is simply that I never type the numbers in, I always use my cellphone either for the call itself or to look up whatever number I need.

      Using numeric addressing on the internet as well is the last thing I'd want.

    • Um.. but what you want is exactly what this does!
      Didnt you even bother reading what enum does???

      (Sorry if this sounds like a personal attack, it is indeed not. Its just this is the 5th reply ive made correcting people that dont know what ENUM is yet think they have the right to bitch about it and claim it shouldnt exist)

      ENUM is reverse DNS for phone numbers.

      The point of ENUM is that YES it is better to use domains/hosts and not numbers!

      ENUM exists to do the same thing DNS does for IPs right now.

      Do you go around and type 1.0.168.192.in-addr.arpa to get to 192.168.0.1? Or do you type in mypc.mydomain.com ?

      Well, now myphone.mydomain.com will resolve to my phone number using an ENUM record.
      Then my phone number will (Using the e164 standard here) reverse resolve back to myphone.mydomain.com

      Its the same method www.mydomain.com resolves to an IP. This does that for phone numbers.

      IPs and Phone numbers have nothing to do with eachother, and this will not let people magically obtain one from the other and steal your soul.

      Technically i can make www.mydomain.com have an A record for an ipv4 address, an AAAA for ipv6, and also an ENUM for a phone number.
      They have nothing to do with eachother other!!

      ENUM will allow you to call me (using the existing phone system as it is right now) by calling phone.mydomain.com which will resolve to my phone number.

      Hope this clears up some stuff.

  • ENUM in the News (Score:5, Informative)

    by nycview ( 610116 ) on Friday February 14, 2003 @09:07AM (#5301040) Homepage Journal

    ENUM in the News

    EFA expresses security concerns over ENUM [smh.com.au], SMH, November 27, 2002.

    Enum's potential applications aren't as widespread as promised [newarchitectmag.com], New Architect, July 2002.

    Internet Telephone Numbering System (ENUM) offers promise of a single point of contact for all communication devices [itu.int], ITU Press Release, May 31, 2002.

    Listing Again [economist.com], The Economist, April 11, 2002.

    Phone number-to-e-mail service raises privacy concerns [computerworld.com], Computerworld, October 5, 2001.

    Your Rights Online: A Number For Everything [slashdot.org], Slashdot, September 4, 2001.

    One number & and no escape anywhere [thetimes.co.uk], The Times, September 3, 2001.
  • This means that (Score:4, Interesting)

    by kinnell ( 607819 ) on Friday February 14, 2003 @09:08AM (#5301041)

    Spammers will be able to compile email lists from the telephone directory, promting everyone to go ex-directory, and rendering the phone book obsolete

    A symbiosis will be encouraged between email spam and phone spam

    Telephone numbers will be available all over the internet, even if they are ex-directory

    Changing your phone/fax number will require changing your email address, and vice versa

    Moving to a different region will require a change of email address, thus rendering an obvious advantage of email irrelevant

    Of course there are advantages as well, but I'm feeling cynical today. Is it just me, or does this plan seem a little naive? A bit like ten years ago, when the internet was going to solve all the problems of the world overnight, and make everyone suddenly nicer.

    • I just wanted to point out that not a single point in your post is possible or true.

      I think it all goes around the fact that you are under the (incorrect) assumption this links phone numbers to email addresses.

      It doesnt (Thank you for reading the article)

      If you have a block of real IPs, you get an in-addr.arpa block to setup reverse dns.

      Lets say i have www.mydomain.com point to my IP address.

      Is it more insecure or bad for any of the reasons you pointed out that i ALSO have my ip address resolve back to the same host?
      No.

      And that is all ENUM is, for phone numbers.

      If you want phone.mydomain.com to resolve to your phone number, people dont have to remember your number. that is good!

      ENUM allows the phone number to reverse resolve back to phone.mydomain.com (Or whatever host/domain setup you want)

      Technically you can give out your phone number, just like you can give out your IP address.

      But remembering numbers sucks.

      DNS lets us not remember IPs already, and now it will let us not have to remember phone numbers.

      Did anyone hold a gun to your head to make you register a domain and use DNS for your site?
      No.
      And noone will do the same with your phone number.

      I personally would love phone.mydomain.com to always resolve to my phone number, even if my phone number changes alot.
      Thanks to ENUM i can have that.

      If you want to dial numbers and only put IPs in your webbroser or send email to person@ip.ad.re.ss then more power to you.
      But ill use DNS thank you.

  • You may like to check out GoNumber.net Personal listing [gonumber.net]. Thanks to the fact GoNumber.net is a directory NOT a technology / standard, it can adapt, so your GoNumber really does last forever, even if new communications mediums arrive in the future. There are privacy controls built in (being upgraded as you read this). GoNumber.net allows you to choose a GoNumber that is between 1 and 10 digits in length. It can even represent the letters on a phone keypad. Furthermore you can opt to input the alphanumeric equivalent of a GoNumber into the GoNumber field at www.gonumber.net or surf to www.gonumber.net/xxxxx where xxxxx is your GoNumber or alphanumeric equiv. For example, http://www.gonumber.net/555123 [gonumber.net]. Or try inputting 'GOiSS' into the GoNumber input field at GoNumber.net to see a GoNumber weblink in action.

  • by hussar ( 87373 )
    I would love to see what their plan is for supporting members of the US Armed Forces and Foreign Service and US expats overseas. We get a number like this while in the US and then we are stationed outside the US. What happens then?

    I am still waiting for about 50% of online merchants to figure out the APO/FPO system and how to mail me products. I would rather the Dept. of Commerce fix that problem first before they help telemarketers spam me no matter where on the globe I am.

    And what about costs of the calls/transmissions? If I am in Southwest Asia and someone in the US calls my ENUM, who gets tagged for the long distance bill?
    • And what about costs of the calls/transmissions? If I am in Southwest Asia and someone in the US calls my ENUM, who gets tagged for the long distance bill?

      Sounds like a /. poll question. I nominate 'CowboyNeal'.
  • IPv6 (Score:2, Insightful)

    by matithyahu ( 560061 )
    So if we can't switch to IPv6 this is supposed to happen? But how are they planning on those two interacting? I imagine that they won't have ENUM for devices or IPv6 for people but won't this make it a little more complicated. You sending the one email but it being routed to eight different devices doesn't necessarily make things easier
    • Well, no, IPv6 addresses are never supposed to be statically allocated, instead relying completely on hostname resolution. Not to mention the fact that you probably couldn't remember an IPv6 easily, not to mention several. If this conforms to the same in-arpa DNS system, then this would imply that the enum numbers would provide a reverse lookup mapping. I don't know anything about enum though, so this is all conjecture.
  • I was going to write a long email ranting about but this but decided not to bother as nobody will use it anyway so it doesn't matter
  • Wowee, another case of the Internet catching up to OSI, which defined address prefixes based on E.164 telephone numbers a decade ago.
  • It is a brief article, so it brought up a lot of questions for me:

    So this is supposed to connect *all* our phone lines with *all* our e-mail addresses and *all* our domains? Or is it that everyone suddenly has these new e-mail accounts and websites which each of us needs to manage and check because the government or other superpowers might decide to leave us notice there instead of, say, on my voicemail machine or sending me a form letter?

    How do the e-mail addresses fit into it again?

    And so now when my phone company tells me it will take 1 week to move my phone when I move, are my e-mail and domain out for that time, too, or are they required to provide an outside-accessible secured e-mail server and access so I can update my website? How about if I move out of their broadband service area? How about if I change my ISP to cable or satellite? Or if I move into another phone service's area? Does the phone company host my e-mail and website, or my ISP?

    And do we get to choose our phone numbers, or do they magically decide at one point in history that *that's* the phone number you keep for the rest of your life? Or do you keep the number for your lifespan?

    When they have to extend the phone numbers to 11 digits or more, are they going to revise all old numbers so they start with additional 1's or 9's or something (thinking mostly about the DNS)?

    "could be routed to a telephone, an e-mail inbox or a fax machine, depending on the application."

    Who decides these routings? Or are we all going to be required to have a magical box to connect us to the outside world? Or are we all issued passwords so we can remotely configure our preferences (yeah, like 99% of the country is going to want to do that, let alone keep their passwords).

    Which organization is going to coordinate all of this? Government? Public? Private? Verisign?

    We are talking about doing this for everyone, right? Who's going to do the tech support?

    8-PP
    • I've read the article about 3 times and still can't see the utility of it. My phone number is *not* public information and has nothing to do with my email address, nor do I want it ever to do so.

      VOIP can use IP addresses and therefore works fine on the back of the existing DNS system - there's zero need for a 'new' standard.
  • by sckienle ( 588934 ) on Friday February 14, 2003 @09:48AM (#5301243)

    I still got calls for the person who last had my phone number for years after it was switched to me. Now I can get personal emails for the prior "owner" of my phone number and not even have the chance to tell them I'm not Kim before they go on about what happened to them last night.

    Leaving that and telemarketers having everyone's email address immediately and automatically aside, I am confused as to the utility of this. I would much rather have permanent transferable alphabetic EMail address, which I do have on pobox.com, than my telephone number.

  • What ENUM is for (Score:4, Informative)

    by Ben Hutchings ( 4651 ) on Friday February 14, 2003 @09:49AM (#5301245) Homepage
    Please read the usage scenarios [iptel.org] in this Internet Draft if you don't know what ENUM is about.
  • No (Score:3, Interesting)

    by praedor ( 218403 ) on Friday February 14, 2003 @10:13AM (#5301400) Homepage

    I wont use it, thank you. My phone number is unlisted. I take pains to protect that and I use a relatively anonymous email address that cannot easily be tied to me in the real world.


    I will not go for having my phone number pasted all over the net, part of every newsgroup posting, email-based opinion expression, etc. My phone number, address, etc, are not for wide open, general consumption.

  • You know, .tpc.int.

    "The Phone Company"

    For those who don't know (and are too lazy to check here [tpc.int], this is a free service that maps fax numbers to email addresses, so, if you know a fax number, you can send a properly mime-formatted fax (or plain text, it works), to them via a .tpc.int email address: it gets routed to a local internet to fax gateway (presumably a local call away from the destination fax machine), and thence to the desired destination.

    Being free, coverage is not perfect, of course, and there are limits to how much each gateway will accept (per origin, hour, day, week, etc.) but the system works surprisingly well!

    Yes, fax machines are not phones, but the concept obviously extends there.

  • Without legislation to seriously hinder spammers, this thing looks like trouble. The abuses stagger the mind.
  • Maybe I'm dense, but can someone explain to me why I might ever want this?
  • It's a fundamental bridge between two different worlds - the PSTN and IP networking. The real utility of this is not so much the one-id-for-every-contact, its things like pstn->ip telephony->pstn. Some of the applications include:

    -Combining with SIP to provide global number portability - no cell phone roaming overseas, etc.
    -Reducing international tariff burdens by terminating calls in countries with better tariff agreements with the destination (i.e. it is much cheaper for the UK to call France than for the US to call France, so you route the call over IP to the UK, then go PSTN from the UK to France).
    -Simplifying carrier-transit agreements

    And these are just the ones we've come up with so far. It's worth noting as well that part of the ENUM spec is the use of a new dns record type - NAPTR, which allows regular expression functionality in DNS RRs...the mind reels at the possibilities.

    For the people who want to know about e164.arpa, that is planned to be the global TLD for ENUM. Thanks to the miracle of DNS delegation, each country code can be administered by the country itself. The only one that's really complicated is the US, since it includes other countries in the +1 country code.

    The problems with ENUM are primarily that most of the phone companies have solved some of these problems with proprietary (generally inferior) solutions. They're slow-moving to begin with and don't immediately see the utility in implementing ENUM. It's mostly up-and-coming CLECs and VoIP companies that are looking to ENUM to both generate revenue and save money.

    Plus, there is already enum support in a variety of products. Cisco's VoIP suite includes ENUM support (only the SIP line, not the H.323), so you could roll out ENUM within your organization. I have a feeling that ENUM will be much like BGP or DNS is today - 95%+ of the population will either use or benefit from it, and never be aware of its existence.

    Thanks,
    Matt
  • Now I can get spam no matter where I am!

    I wonder how long this will take for it to be abused. What, maybe 2 seconds?
  • So, I'm not sure I understand it, but does this mean that my cellphone is going to have an IP address, of sorts? If so, this could mean that it could be incorporated into our current DNS system. Think - I could have some CNAMEs set up for my domain, so you could call me at cell.joestoner.com, home.joestoner.com, or work.joestoner.com, and this last address would also be the same ip as webmaster.phone.mycompany.com!

    I'm hoping that my impression of this is right, because it would be pretty damn cool.
  • The addresses look pretty long and unwieldy, but supposedly consumer devices will make it easier to use.

    Have you seen an IPv6 address lately?

    Seriously. I think 4.3.2.1.5.5.5.2.0.2.1.e164.arpa is a hell of a lot easier to remember than 23AF:4DE5:4AB5:23CE:CD2B:2FBB:AE4E:EB13 because it's made up of already-memorized numbers. Just my .02.

  • by Uart ( 29577 ) <feedbackNO@SPAMlife-liberty-property.com> on Friday February 14, 2003 @02:02PM (#5303477) Homepage Journal
    Ok, so it sounds convenient right? People will be able to find you regardless of the mode of communication, right?

    Right. BUT here are the problems.

    1) Now the Government can also find me.
    2) I'm pretty sure someone will use this to track you/your communications
    3) Sometimes I want someone to have my email address but not my phone number, or vice versa, etc.
    4) I don't like the idea of being labeled with a number.

    I'm sure you call all add others. For me, those concerns weigh heavier than any conveniences.
  • by eyefish ( 324893 ) on Friday February 14, 2003 @02:50PM (#5303968)
    As any educated slashdot reader knows, the instant (and I literaly mean 1 second later) that ENUM becomes operational there will be millions of spam messages targeted to those poor souls.

    So, I recommend lawmakers first create a global "do not contact me" list where anyone can go in and declare their ENUM "spam-less".

    Of course, this will NOT stop spammers from moving their operations to other countries were such laws do not apply and then send you spam anyways.

    In other words, I think the ENUM idea is a great idea, but one which spam will very likely kill. Just imagine, once a single spammer gets a hold of my "universal address" there is NO WAY I will be able to stop such spam. Today at least I can get a different email address and get done with it, but once you have your ENUM tied to your home address, personal website, home phone, fax, work phone, cell phone, beeper, etc, changing emails/numbers/addresses all of a sudden becomes VERY hard. As a matter of fact I wouldn't be surprised if the spam community is actually lobbying to get ENUM approved.

    Note that I *wish* I was wrong (and if I'm proven wrong you can trust me that I'll be the first one to be happy about it), but my take on this is that something like ENUM will only work effectively in the long future when all countries agree on a worldwide do-no-call list with legal penalties regardless of in which country you are.
  • Note that when you look up a US local phone number, it has only one destination (subject to local number portability) However, with US toll-free numbers (i.e. 800, 888, 877, 866, 855), the destination location is dependent on the time of day, the calling party id, and the relative amount of traffic sent to one location versus another. A toll-free number can have a separate destination for a given calling party 10-digit US phone number, area code or other criteria so that a call you place and one I place may end up on different carriers and different parts of the country. Also, a toll free number often absolutely prohibit connections altogether from some portions of the US (or Canada etc). Routing these calls properly is not simple.

    For reasons such as this, I think we can expect a lot of hands out looking for money for putting small records in databases (registration) and for looking such up. Look at the business models of the heavy sponsors of ENUM.

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