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Dragging Telephone Numbers Into the Internet Age 239

Posted by timothy
from the imagine-that dept.
azoblue writes with this teaser from Ars Technica, presenting a tempting suggestion for online consolidation: "E-mail, IM, Facebook, phones—what if all of these ways to reach you over a network could be condensed into a single, unique number? The ENUM proposal aims to do just that, by giving everyone a single phone number that maps to all of their identifiers. Here's how it works, and why it isn't already widely used."
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Dragging Telephone Numbers Into the Internet Age

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  • by plover (150551) * on Friday January 15, 2010 @09:04AM (#30777762) Homepage Journal

    Jenny, I got your number
    I'm gonna make you mine
    Jenny, I got your number
    86.75.30.9

  • Spam spam spam... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by michelcolman (1208008) on Friday January 15, 2010 @09:06AM (#30777768)
    Great, then spammers only need one number to send you all sorts of spam in all kinds of different ways. And even better, they can try random numbers!
    • by johnrpenner (40054) on Friday January 15, 2010 @11:55AM (#30779568) Homepage

      i've thought about this before - i think what one needs is a single PRIVATE number - that never gets given out to anyone - and you have a bunch of private ALIAS/Reference numbers which you yourself point to your private number - then you only give out the aliases - and if one of the aliases gets overloaded, you pull the plug on the alias, create a new alias, and then direct that new alias towards your private number.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Simetrical (1047518)

        i've thought about this before - i think what one needs is a single PRIVATE number - that never gets given out to anyone - and you have a bunch of private ALIAS/Reference numbers which you yourself point to your private number - then you only give out the aliases - and if one of the aliases gets overloaded, you pull the plug on the alias, create a new alias, and then direct that new alias towards your private number.

        I do that in Gmail with plus-addressing. For instance, if I get spam from Simetrical+dontsendhere@gmail.com, I can just block all mail from that address. Haven't had it happen yet, though.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by raddan (519638) *
        NUMBERS, wow, great idea! After that, we'll need some kind of DIRECTORY to figure out what the numbers map to.

        Ironically, current telephone architecture is better than current Internet technology (any telephone number, anywhere, can be portable; IPs-- NOT!), and they want to "marry telephone numbers to the Internet"? Why not marry the Internet to telephone numbers instead?

        People, numbers are ADDRESSES. They're supposed to imply location, otherwise, why not use a more intuitive identifier, like [you
  • Please no!!! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Choozy (1260872) on Friday January 15, 2010 @09:08AM (#30777774)

    All I can think of is SPAM. I understand the idea and sometimes I think it'd be a great tool (especially if you move ISP's etc, everything would move with you kind of like redirecting your real mail when you move house but with less hassle) but I consider my privacy (what little we have left in this world) way more important than having a single identifier.

    • by Shikaku (1129753)

      A public key specification can prevent this.

      The public key is your address. Nobody knows your public key directly however, just your alias. So your alias can be an email address, your nickname, whatever.

      The private key is your decrypter and the only way to access them.

      (in before that spam form).

    • If all our numbers were condensed into one number, then we'd have one MORE number to memorize... cuz you know someone would find some reason to have all the others, and then we'd all need them. :)
  • How about using IP6? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by master_p (608214) on Friday January 15, 2010 @09:09AM (#30777784)

    A single IP6 address could be enough for all those things.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anpheus (908711)

      Do you really want to have to dial +DEAD:BEEF:CAFE:123:4567:890A:BCDE:F?

      This uses a well understood system (DNS, and in the future, DNSSEC) to use the same numbers you already have to link to other online identifiers, including IP addresses. So we get all the benefits of IPv6 without having to switch everyone to potentially 39 digit addresses in their phone.

      What you propose would be the death of picking up girls in bars, that's for sure. How do you propose to convince them to spend that much time writing do

      • by russotto (537200)

        What you propose would be the death of picking up girls in bars, that's for sure. How do you propose to convince them to spend that much time writing down their number?

        You've ferretted out our evil plan to make everyone else as unable to pick up girls in bars as slashdotters are. Bwa ha ha ha... (twirls miserable imitation of bad-guy mustache)

  • Already there? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Cornwallis (1188489) on Friday January 15, 2010 @09:10AM (#30777796)

    Isn't Google Voice already doing this? It seems to be for me.

  • by jbb999 (758019) on Friday January 15, 2010 @09:11AM (#30777800)
    Why would I want a "number" for that? That's why DNS was invented, so we could move forward from using numbers to identify things and use proper identifiers instead. This is a step backwards in many ways.
    • DNS (Score:3, Informative)

      by pikine (771084)

      The ENUM proposal is essentially asking for DNS lookup as a public service run by government or other regulatory bodies. First of all, as you said, why don't we just use names? And second, I'm not sure we want public DNS run by government or regulatory bodies. We already have community-run free DNS service such as http://freedns.afraid.org/ [afraid.org] or commercial free service like http://www.dyndns.com/ [dyndns.com] or http://www.zoneedit.com/ [zoneedit.com]. If you're worried that free services would go away, a lot of domain name registries a

      • Re:DNS (Score:5, Informative)

        by TheRaven64 (641858) on Friday January 15, 2010 @09:44AM (#30778120) Journal

        I didn't RTFA, but it's not a new idea, and both you and the submitter seem to be missing the point. You can store arbitrary contact addresses in NAPTR records in DNS, so you can store email, SIP, POTS addresses, or anything else that can be represented by a URI. The other part of this is allowing reverse mappings, from telephone numbers to something less archaic.

        Telephone numbers, like IP addresses, are globally unique network endpoint identifiers. They are assigned by the UN (specifically the ITU-T, which assigns prefixes to countries) and allow you to call any telephone from any other telephone in the world. The problem comes when you have an endpoint that is really a SIP account, for example. Currently, that mapping has to be done in quite a static way.

        The idea of the proposal is that the e164.arpa. domain will be reserved for resolving telephone numbers to domains, just as in-addr.arpa is used for resolving IP addresses to names. This doesn't need to be government run, but it does need to be authoritative. That means that e164.arpa will be controlled by the ITU, 1.e164.arpa will be controlled by the USA, 4.4.e164.arpa by the UK and so on. You will then get a subdomain of this. Telephone companies that have large assignments of phone numbers get large ones, individuals may get a single 15-digit number. This can then map to any other resource.

        It's not intended as a long-term solution. Eventually, the POTS network is going away (large chunks of it are IP internally already) and you will just use DNS to map directly to SIP, but while interoperability with the POTS network is desirable - say, for the next couple of decades - this lets people with POTS phones initiate calls to SIP phones without having to define a specific bridge or static routing. You'll dial a number on your phone, your telco will look up the SIP address and then route the call there via their bridge.

        I currently have a phone number connected to a SIP address, but it only works from POTS lines because my SIP provider operates a SIP to POTS bridge. With this proposal, anyone can operate one trivially. You will just need to get an e164 number assigned to you and configure the DNS entries to point to your Asterisk (or whatever) server.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by xaosflux (917784)

          I didn't RTFA, but it's not a new idea

          It certainly is not, 1996 just called and wants their Universal Internet Numbers back (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ICQ#UIN)

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Smivs (1197859)

          I didn't RTFA.....

          You must be old here!

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by pikine (771084)

          I currently have a phone number connected to a SIP address, but it only works from POTS lines because my SIP provider operates a SIP to POTS bridge. With this proposal, anyone can operate one trivially. You will just need to get an e164 number assigned to you and configure the DNS entries to point to your Asterisk (or whatever) server.

          VoIP providers are in the business of running the bridge, which duplicates the functionality of telephone number to IP address mapping like ENUM. You configure the bridge to r

        • by homb (82455)

          This is exactly what the .tel TLD is for, and it's already live.

    • by T Murphy (1054674)
      I don't see the harm in standardizing a number system to use, then adding a name-based system on top of that- exactly the way DNS works in the first place. Not to mention I don't care to have a new version of domain squatters rush in just yet.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by rantingkitten (938138)
      Yeah! I am not a number! I am a free man!
  • Who has access to search through all the mappings that are created? Why stop at just a single phone number, why not have a single identity number and map everything (phone numbers, bank accounts, paychecks, etc.) to that single number. Who would then even need a name, just write your identity number on a sticky note and put it on your forehead, or embed a RFID chip in you at birth.
  • You mean... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Capt James McCarthy (860294) on Friday January 15, 2010 @09:12AM (#30777818) Journal

    Like a social security number or tax id?

    • by MrMr (219533)
      You are aware that social security numbers only work for your tribe?
      • by Rockoon (1252108)
        Thats one of the reasons that we have Tax ID's. So that members of other tribes can also be part of the wonderful Social Security Number experience.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        I was just providing an example of a numbering system for a large location that everyone in said location uses.

        However, this would be silly to do IMO (like the SSN). You get owned on one account and you are owned everywhere. There are advantages to having different systems for different resources.

  • by JustOK (667959)

    Tattooed on our foreheads

  • by Omegium (576650) on Friday January 15, 2010 @09:14AM (#30777826)
    (I posted this earlier on Ars Technica)

    Why would you want to keep the telephone number?

    The telephone number is a good example of a situation where the technical factor prevailed over the human factor. Numbers are abstract and difficult to remember for most people. And since its invention we have needed to use lists to associate these numbers to things we actually can remember, such as names.

    I think it will go completely the other way, and that in 50 years people will never have heard of phone numbers. The identifier will be the email address, and if I want to call someone I select that address and press "call", and a VOIP connection will be made. If I want to IM or mail, I press other buttons.

    The email address is easy to remember, it has build-in identification of the purpose you want to use it for (private, business, ...), can already be used for several types of communication (mail, jabber) and is completely transparent to location

    • by MrMr (219533) on Friday January 15, 2010 @09:29AM (#30777992)
      I prefer a mobile with just 10 data entry keys.
      The user-friendliness of having to select something from a 150 entry drop-down or having to press every key (a different) multiple times is vastly overrated.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Nomeko (784750)

        And you'r not able to search the list using the 10 digit keypad on your phone?

        I'm able to call noob only by pressing 666 :P

      • by cgenman (325138)

        I prefer to google a phone number and just click "call."

    • by T Murphy (1054674)
      I know the blackberry- along with many/most other phones I'm sure- has voice recognition to allow you to assign a name to various phone numbers as you wish. Despite phone numbers having to be unique, this system lets everyone use "home" as the name as their home phone number, and everyone with a friend named Dave can call a different Dave. Not to mention you can use whatever name you would find easy to remember. I would rather use a similar, user-defined naming system on top of a unique number standardized
    • by wvmarle (1070040) on Friday January 15, 2010 @11:02AM (#30778980)

      A number is very easy to give over the phone. Easier than an e-mail address. This as so many letters sound very similar and so.

      In practice I have been giving my fax number over the phone so they could fax me their e-mail address. Works great! Particularly considering I am often working with Chinese and other Asians with sometimes very poor spoken command of English. Numbers then go remarkably easy.

    • Why would you want to keep the telephone number?

      Long term? You don't. But as the world moves to SIP or some other telephony solution that runs on the internet, some people in the world will be stuck for some time on a POTS exchange with a simple phone that can only dial numbers. So what if that exchange didn't have to use the normal international phone network but could use DNS to find a SIP server to route the call to directly over the internet?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by VShael (62735)

      in 50 years people will never have heard of phone numbers

      Considering that today, we still know of the phonograph, telegraph poles, and telegrams.... human nature and socities memory doesn't change as quickly as you think, even when it comes to outmoded technology.

  • by argent (18001) <peter AT slashdo ... taronga DOT com> on Friday January 15, 2010 @09:14AM (#30777832) Homepage Journal

    This is making many of the mistakes X.400 did, albeit on a smaller scale.

    People want tokens that are easy to remember. Email addresses like "myname@example.com" are much more memorable than "C=US/OU=Example/FN=My/LN=Name" or "+1 234 456 6789". If someone's using this service, they're using an internet-capable device, so they can enter an alphanumeric address and don't need to remain compatible with Strowger's switch.

  • Cute hack... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday January 15, 2010 @09:15AM (#30777836) Journal
    But I'm not quite sure why I would want to tie all my shiny new contact mechanisms to a 19th century relic controlled by the telcoms, entities which are sclerotic at best and downright evil at worst.

    ENUM seems like the sort of thing that would happen if you got a bunch of fairly sharp techies together and told them that it was an axiomatic, foundational, truth that telephone numbers must remain relevant and central to communication. Within those constraints, they seem to have come up with a good solution. Those constraints, though, seem irrelevant. The internet, and its design philosophies, is simply better.
  • by benwiggy (1262536) on Friday January 15, 2010 @09:15AM (#30777846)

    You mean like the .tel domain?

    .tel provides all contact information: phone numbers, postal addresses, email, web addresses, etc -- all within the DNS.

  • Why on earth.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Nomeko (784750) on Friday January 15, 2010 @09:16AM (#30777850) Homepage Journal

    would you use the phone number as a universally unique id?

    One user might have several phone numbers, while the one phone number might have several users.

    Additionally, the phone number is not portable across national borders. You can not bring your Norwegian phone number and use it with an american registrar.

    Additionally users might be forced at regular basis to change their phone numbers. Me for one, had to change my phone number when I changed employer.

    Database designers have known this for ages. Always assign a new unique id to any row in a table. Ids that seem unique and stable might change. Even social security numbers might change.

    Oh.. Who would want all their contact info to be collected in one global system available for all?

  • why backword? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by xonicx (1009245)
    ENUM is a temporary workaround to make SIPURI and TelURI compatible. Once everyone start using sipuri, enum will phaseout. joe@airtel.com is easier to remember than +918764233906
  • by KlaymenDK (713149) on Friday January 15, 2010 @09:19AM (#30777880) Journal

    I do not want a single number, because I do not have a single identity.

    I do not want my work to call me on my personal phone, so they don't have that number. But my job naturally requires some amount of phone work, so they all have *that* number. Makes sense, right?

    • by Octorian (14086) on Friday January 15, 2010 @09:34AM (#30778028) Homepage

      I agree with you completely on this notion of a person having multiple identities. I often run into other people who I wish would get the message.

      At best, we need two identities. Basically, a work identity and a personal identity. (Of course in reality its quite common to have multiple work identities depending on your specific situation, but they're rarely all actually necessary.)

      One thing that makes no sense to me, however, is all the people out there who use their work identity *as* their personal identity. Often these people may be the same types who "don't use a computer at home" and thus do all their computing at work. Or maybe they simply don't understand that its actually a good idea to keep them separate. Probably the only thing that'll knock them in-line is a surprise hostile layoff. (which may not be likely everywhere, but you always have to expect it as a possibility)

      • by tverbeek (457094)

        As time goes on and our culture evolves, there will be fewer people using their work identity as their personal identity for the simple reason that they've changed jobs a few times and understand what a bad idea it is. (Especially when one of those "surprise hostile layoffs" is termination for personal use of a company computer.) Becoming an employee @example.com and remaining there for the rest of your life is a quaint 20th century notion, and I'd be really surprised to see anyone under 30 (or even 40) t

    • by Speare (84249)

      I do not want a single number, because I do not have a single identity.

      I wonder why more techno-savvy people don't get this point. A computer doesn't have to have only one network address/interface, why should people?

    • Perhaps a Grand Central/Google Voice setup would be in order then. With Google Voice (previously Grand Central), I can give everyone a phone number and it will ring all of my phones. However, I can also specify some rules. For example, if someone from my work calls me on my Google Voice number, I can have it only ring my work phone and cell phone and not my wife's cell phone or my home phone. If I call the Google Voice number, it will call my wife's cell and our home phone, not my cell or work phone. S

    • by snspdaarf (1314399) on Friday January 15, 2010 @10:43AM (#30778792)

      I do not want a single number, because I do not have a single identity.

      Exactly. At home, I am a cop. In an internet chat room, I am a 15 year old girl who's parents have gone away for the weekend.

  • by wiredog (43288) on Friday January 15, 2010 @09:19AM (#30777898) Journal

    that corporations, governments, and scammers, can use to track us.

  • Easy to remember numbers or email addresses or anything else are obsolete. Everyone uses an address book built into the phone or other device and never has to remember anything other than your name or what ever they filed it under. People almost never exchange email addresses or phone numbers. You send someone as email so they have your address. They add your phone number from caller id to their address book.

    • by Chrisq (894406)
      On the internet are going back to the "Welsh" system of naming people. In Wales there were a lot of isolated villages with only a few surnames, so people would be referred to by their occupation or a ditinguishing feature, like "Dai Station" or "Dai baker". There are people I know on the internet as "John the Buddhist", "Ausy Mark" and so on.

      Not only do we have directories but they all have personalised names!
  • One ring to rule them all!

    • Who will be the Sauron of this tale? Google? MS? USDoJ?

      With Saruman played by Apple? Napster? TSA?

      heh.

  • by rennerik (1256370) on Friday January 15, 2010 @09:24AM (#30777932)
    Pfft, phone numbers. That's so 19th century. They really should come up with something a lot more modern. Ahhh yes, I can see it now:

    "Oh my number? Sure, no problem. Do you have a pen? Here we go: f3a9d4c1-0bff-4792-bf3b-09513ef61af8. It forwards to my home, though, so don't call too late. You can also use it to text me, or IM me. Looking forward to hearing from you!"
    • by Inda (580031)
      To shorten that number, you could increase the number of digits and characters. Maybe 26 characters and 10 digits.

      Also, to save complications, we could all be given a number at birth. Maybe we could share part of our number with our parents to aid family tracking.

      i.e. My first born son's number would probably be "Cletus Inda 01/05/2010" sans the caps and slashes.

      Think it would work?
  • by damburger (981828) on Friday January 15, 2010 @09:25AM (#30777956)
    How the hell did this thread go so long without a Prisoner reference?
    • Just guessing, but maybe because that was the better part of half a century ago?

    • Number 2 is still working out which number I am. He's been going for 4 minutes now. Needless to say "6" was taken by someone closer to the deal than me. I'll be lucky to get something close to my UID. More than likely it'll be something close to my MAC address mixed with the VIN on my car.
  • Digital stone age (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TimeElf1 (781120) <kennettb.gmail@com> on Friday January 15, 2010 @09:27AM (#30777982) Homepage Journal
    So, instead of having a separate email, IM, facebook, phone number, etc we have one unique number? Great so if we forget our unique number we are totally screwed rather than just a little bit screwed. No thanks, if this is the future I'll just stay in the digital stone age.
  • Who could forget the PITA it was to transcribe someones compuserve number, so that they can send a email later?

    Hell I forgot my Compuserve number...

    It almost reminds me of the old telegraph days (My office used telegraph to send message to ships). I had a telegraph number and an answer back.

    • Who could forget the PITA it was to transcribe someones compuserve number, so that they can send a email later?

      Or, the nightmare that was EasyLink.

  • by Hurricane78 (562437) <deleted&slashdot,org> on Friday January 15, 2010 @09:34AM (#30778032)

    We should rather use DNS for phone numbers, and then allow something like:
    phone:cowboyneal@slashdot.org
    Similar to “mailto:”.
    Or one of
    ^(phone|voip):(//)?(cowboyneal@slashdot\.org|slashdot\.org/~cowboyneal/?)$

    By the way: Why are URLs (URIs) so inconsistent?
    I guess the voip and @ version is the cleanest one. But I’m not sure about the point of the “//”.

  • by Raindeer (104129) on Friday January 15, 2010 @09:35AM (#30778044) Homepage Journal

    I'm the author of the piece. Most comments in my opinion make the mistake of saying: I want this or that to be my identifier. Or I don't want a universal identifier.

    The reality is: there are two identifiers that are on most business cards. Phone numbers and e-mail adresses. Both could be used in a much more advanced way. No matter which way you look at it the telephone number won't go away. ENUM would enable you to use it in multiple ways.

    • No matter which way you look at it the telephone number won't go away.

      No matter which way you look at it, the horse and buggy won't go away.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ascari (1400977)
      My email and my phone number are the two things in my life that are constantly subject to abuse by outsiders. (Spammers, telemarketers etc.) You have not made a convincing case why it's actually a good idea to extend merger them or to other aspects of my life.
    • by homb (82455)

      But why would you want ENUM when .tel already does it in much more generalized way, and with encryption to boot?

  • 1. Join an adult affiliate network and choose a website for promotion

    2.
    for (enum=0;enum=OVER9000;enum++)
    {
    SendMessageToEnum(enum,"Hi! Check out my new website: www.chickswithdicks.com");
    }

    3. ???

    4. PROFIT!

  • by Chrisq (894406) on Friday January 15, 2010 @09:46AM (#30778134)
    What we really want though is not "one number", but "one use numbers", the same as Gishpuppy [gishpuppy.com] email addresses. That way you can leave your number with the girl in the bar, and when she decides that you were some annoying nerd and gets her brother to write it up in the men's loo you can just cancel it.

    I would really not want to have one number misused that would also give my email address, skype, google chat and website to everyone!
  • by MattRog (527508)

    Why, in this day and age, are we talking about NUMBERS? Do we address websites via IP address? No, we have DNS.

    Why isn't there a DNS for phones? I pick a name, perhaps even something as simple and unique as MY EMAIL ADDRESS, and then anyone who knows my email address can contact me. Or, just like DNS, I can set up any number of unique names for various things (my-recruiters@gmail;) that point to some sort of numeric based phone.

    You could even call it Phone Name System.

  • End Times (Score:4, Funny)

    by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Friday January 15, 2010 @10:03AM (#30778322) Homepage Journal

    I can't believe nobody's figured out that ENUM is simply the Mark of the Beast and is going to be burned into chips that will implanted in our brainstems.

    ENUM spelled backwards is MUNE and it's on the MUNE that they have the secret military bases where they're going to send those of us that won't use our ENUMs.

    The only thing that can save us now is when the prophesied "Woman of the North" comes down from Alaska to use her secret mental powers to organize the Wolverines(!) so we can defeat the forces of ZOG and usher in the return of Jesus and Ronald Wilson Reagan where they will reign together for 1000 years.

    Don't you guys read your bibles and World Net Daily? megamerican, where are you when we really need you?

  • Seriously, I do see the advantage...of which your universal number could also become your ssn, and tie into your phone number and drivers license, even your passport, then again why stop there, you could have it easily accessible through a chip or a barcode tattoo...
    wait a minute, i think i heard of this story before...link here [wikipedia.org]

  • Just say no (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LiteralBoy (1520321) on Friday January 15, 2010 @10:19AM (#30778486)
    I see nothing wrong with keeping email, IM, Facebook and whatever else separate from my phone number. Despite the conventional wisdom of this age, I have no desire to be "constantly connected" and reachable, much less have it all rolled into one convenient number. Besides the "one stop" hacking opportunity alluded to in someone else's comment above, it also strikes me as one more step towards a world of constant surveillance.
  • by CopaceticOpus (965603) on Friday January 15, 2010 @10:24AM (#30778560)

    A single number to identify people would be just as powerful as a SSN or driver's license number. It would make fraud so much easier. Eventually people would compile databases tying these IDs to SSNs and would distribute those online. Then we would start seeing advisories to keep your single contact number a secret!

    On the positive side, perhaps this would help to convince financial institutions that simply knowing someone's SSN and mother's maiden name doesn't prove anything about identity.

    • A single number to identify people would be just as powerful as a SSN or driver's license number. It would make fraud so much easier.

      While you are right in practice, it doesn't need to be so in theory.

      On /. you are "CopaceticOpus". That is, in the slashdot universe you have a single number which identifies you. Does that make you more vulnerable to /. fraud?

      No, you have a password which you use to prove that you are the person identified by the name CopaceticOpus.

      The problem with SSNs is that they don't have a password.

      Using a single identifier isn't a danger in itself; it just magnifies the underlying problem of not having a secure way to establish which people the identifiers identify (and which they don't).

  • by RobertLTux (260313) <robert@laurenceP ... minus physicist> on Friday January 15, 2010 @10:41AM (#30778772)

    "Using numbers made it easier to train people to operate the exchanges. (Women were chosen because their voices worked better in exchanges.)"

    No Women were used because the messenger boys they replaced were proto-hackers and kept doing nasty tricks to the customers.

  • This is already done. It's called an email address.

    Import your gmail contacts to find new friends on facebook. this concept is applied many ways.

  • by BitZtream (692029) on Friday January 15, 2010 @11:06AM (#30779014)

    I already have this. Its my email address. Everything I do on the Internet is keyed to an email address.

    Email is email, obviously.
    XMPP for IM, uses my email address.
    Facebook I don't use, I actually have a live so I don't have time to sit around and convince others that I have one or to collect friends for the popularity contest.
    Phones - If I email you, you'll get my phone number. This won't be an issue for too much longer I don't think, its just going to take everyone finally going to VoIP (cringe)

    So uhm, this is a solution searching for a problem I take it?

  • Why not switch to XPath for personal GUIDs? For example ///[/address]/, etc...and when it's time, prefixing ///... is easy enough.
    As far as the Spam issue many have brought up, I don't think security through obscurity is ever going to be adequate protection so worrying about the public registry of IDs seems like a waste of time- the evil marketers will only either derive your ID via brute force or buy the ID from somebody else. Using finer grained sender authentication at the user level (combined with cry
    • Wow- my post got mangled. Let's try this again: Why not switch to XPath for personal GUIDs? For example /<country>/<city|<region>/[/<address>]<name>, etc...and when it's time, prefixing /<star>/<planet>/... is easy enough. As far as the Spam issue many have brought up, I don't think security through obscurity is ever going to be adequate protection so worrying about the public registry of IDs seems like a waste of time- the evil marketers will either derive your ID vi
  • 0118 999 881 999 119 725........3
  • Changing numbers? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by HikingStick (878216) <z01riemer@nOsPAM.hotmail.com> on Friday January 15, 2010 @12:06PM (#30779672)
    In reviewing the comments, I did not notice anyone raising the idea of wanting to (or needing to) change numbers (except one who noted that they like getting a new number when they move so that old acquaintances can be dropped). If the phone number becomes the primary hook on which all other identities are hung, what happens when you want an unlisted number or have need to change numbers? Victims of domestic abuse, some State employees (like corrections officers), and others have reasons to either switch numbers or request an unlisted number. In Minnesota, corrections officers can even request vehicle license plates that are registered to the State so that the inmates can't use their personal license plate numbers as a means to have friends on the outside look up personal information on them (the corrections officers).
  • by Jason Pollock (45537) on Friday January 15, 2010 @02:28PM (#30781728) Homepage

    The problem with ENUM is that the data is stored in DNS. Which means it is harvestable and intended to be cached. I don't _want_ to share my email addresses, Facebook ID, work, cell and home phone numbers and IM addresses with anyone and everyone. That's just stupid.

    ENUM is a Bell-Head protocol invented before spam. It was meant to be easily mirrored between carriers, with the standard behaviour of "caller pays".

    What we really need is a protocol that will ask _my software_ where the call should be sent. The software is then able to decide based on the originating details if I want to receive the call, and what endpoint/protocol it should be sent to.

    That's what I want. Invidividualised call control at the point of address resolution.

  • Why numbers? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nsayer (86181) <nsayer@kfu.COUGARcom minus cat> on Friday January 15, 2010 @02:57PM (#30782160) Homepage

    In the really, really, REALLY old days of telephony, there were no numbers. You rang up the operator and asked to be connected to the Smith house, and the operator connected your plug to their socket.

    Once that stopped scaling, numbers were used because it made looking them up on a plug board a lot faster. When automatic dialing came, that scaled similarly because you could cascade stepper relays to do the dialing.

    But nowadays telephone switches have more in common with Cisco routers than they do the old gear. There's no reason that you have to number stuff anymore. The instant messaging folks - particularly jabber - are closer to what we need than the old tired PSTN numbering scheme.

: is not an identifier

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