Relay Scamming

Whoa! A colleague sent me a link to Telepocalypse: A deaf ear, which discusses a scam taking advantage of a service for the deaf, hard-of-hearing, and those who have trouble speaking.
How did I miss this considering it was Slashdotted? I read some of the comments. One person recommended making the relay service a 900-service and the Federal government reimburses those who are “certified” as legitimate.
Ha, that won’t work especially since we can make relay calls through the Internet without dialing a number. Plus, reimbursement is a pain in the rear. We’ve already got plenty of challenges… we don’t need another to pay a phone bill and then fight to get reimbursed. I have a hard time getting the occasional rebate to go through without trouble.
Anyway, there’s the argument of people who use the relay service for legitimate reasons should be allowed to make any kind of call they wish even if it is illegal. They have that right. If anyone can call an 900 number, a person using the relay has the right to do so, too.
The relay operator is trained to communicate the messages between the two people on the call and nothing else. Not make judgements, insert opinions, change the tone of voice to indicate a personal response other than the two people on the line. Thanks to all the hardworking operators for making this possible. It’s not an easy job.
Good to see the technology and issue received the attention from /. Joe Clark, of course, reported on it. I disagree about not using IP Relay. I can’t use 711 from my office and using IP relay is the only way I can make business calls without being charged. I work for a phone company and we wouldn’t want our long distance calls charged to a competitor (but our company is NOW a long distance carrier option except for Hawaii). [ Thanks, Matt]
I’ve been doing a ton of reading (scanning) on the Internet about the social and psychological factors of not having average hearing. Fascinating stuff. Will report on it.