House members can teleconference over Net

June 28, 2011 at 3:42 PM
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WASHINGTON, June 28 (UPI) -- The U.S. House of Representatives settled security issues about using video and phone Internet teleconferencing services, allowing lawmakers to use both.

Rep. Dan Lungren, R-Calif., a member of the House Technology Operations Team, told colleagues Tuesday the chamber's public WiFi network was enabled to allow members and their staff to conduct Skype and ooVoo video teleconference calls, The Hill reported.

"Improving constituent communications and increasing transparency has been a top priority for me as chairman of [the} House Administration [Committee]," Lungren wrote. "During a time when Congress must do more with less, utilizing low-cost, real-time communication tools is an effective way to inform and solicit feedback from your constituents."

The House held up adoption of the technology over security concerns, heightened earlier this month by the breach of the Senate's computer systems by the hacker group Lulz Security, The Hill reported.

Members had been seeking such telecom technology for more than a year. In April 2010, House Republicans, backed by then-Minority Leader John Boehner, urged then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi and then-House Administration Committee Chairman Robert Brady, D-Pa., to implement Skype.

Lungren said the House negotiated modified license agreements with Skype and ooVoo to maintain the appropriate level of security within the network.

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