Social technology is showing up in the strangest places. President Obama relaunched his Twitter account last week with a new signature that he will use so followers will know when a message comes directly from him versus one of his staffers. Wednesday, Pope Benedict XVI sent his first tweet. And earlier in the week, the U.S. House of Representatives approved Skype for official use.
According to The Washington Post, Skype engineers worked with the House network security team to ensure that the videoconferencing technology can be used safely within the context of congressional duties. Members of Congress as well as their staffers will be able to configure their own privacy settings. Each office will also have its own Skype Manager account. Though the Senate has not yet jumped on the Skype bandwagon, observers say its members may not be far behind.
And from the looks of things, legislators may not be the only government officials putting Skype to use in the near future. The Register reports that Microsoft, whose acquisition of the IP-based calling service was approved earlier this month, has been awarded a patent that
covers one way in which a VoIP-based communications system might enable a call to be intercepted and covertly recorded, naming Skype as one of the services to which it could be applied.
It's known as "legal intercept," the story says, and it may prove quite useful as the government scrambles to ensure its surveillance capabilities keep pace with emerging communications technology.