Skype is panicing about being forced to offer 999 or 911 emergency telephony services. Skype responded to a demand in Norway by turning off links to the PSTN networks and their founder Niklas Zennstr�m said "When there is a burglar in my house, I don�t want to call the police; I want to email or IM them. The burglar may hear my voice!"
Utter tosh… if there’s a burglar in my house while I’m in it, I want to hit them with a baseball bat and then call the police. Or other medical/fire emergency I’ll also want to SPEAK with the operator. The conversation is most definately going to be a two way thing – hopefully with the operator giving useful advice on the situation to manage it until the qualified people arrive. Doing this while sitting and typing it out on a computer is just silly.
Reminds me of, back in 1993ish, in an online "room" a girl asked people to call 911 because her violent ex-boyfriend was banging on her door. She couldn’t do it herself because her internet connection was using the phone line. Well d’uh – you deserve a beating.