Any idea how they are going to go about distinguishing internet telephony from normal use?
No clue. Frankly, I'm not at all sure that the congresscritters involved are aware that it's not possible. Having said that, though, I think it's being aimed in a different direction anyway. There are many companies popping up who offer 'phone service' over the 'net; I would imagine that they are thinking of imposing special fees/taxes on them, and possibly on the software used (perhaps along the lines of the 'piracy tax' on DATs and audio CD-Rs).
A lot of this is knee jerk reaction type stuff. I don't think Internet telephony is going to put AT&T out of business any time soon, although in the long term there is certainly a possibility of a very large bite being taken out of traditional long distance services.
The question that must be asked is whether or not it's okay to install artificial barriers to protect an industry that is rendered obsolete by technology. The current answer appears to be yes, if there are companies making a lot of money in said industry. It seems pretty clear to me that congress is far more interested in protecting a company's profits than they are in advancing technology, even when this behavior is harmful to everyone but the company.
If I may wax cynical again, there is a larger picture here. Right now, in a congressional election, he who spends the most money wins. There is occasionally a notable exception to this rule, but in the last elections the big spenders won ~90% of the time. Given this, when a choice comes down to hurting big contributors or constituents, the people will lose every time.
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