Online Mediation and Skype: Skittish bedfellows in this political climate?

by Petra Maxwell on October 1, 2010

Many of us were encouraged, weren’t we?  A tech-savvy presidential administration that seemed to really ‘get’ how we tend to communicate …..and, therefore, how to connect with its public through Facebook, Twitter, Web video, and chat rooms?  And then there was all of the pre- and post-campaign talk about the use of such media to open up the political process; bring us all into the fold, as it were.

You can’t have missed the recent press, then, about our very same administration proposing a sweeping wiretapping agenda.  Proposals to infiltrate Facebook, Skype, and other online face-to-face communication tools…..had they seen the other side and gotten scared?

And now I can visualize the wheels spinning in your heads (because they did in mine as well):  “Wait a minute ….. and I’m about to sign up for Online Mediation?  I don’t feel safe!”

First, were the proposal to pass (and I have my doubts that it will), wiretapping can’t take place without a warrant.  In extreme emergency situations, courts and government agencies can get around the warrant requirements, but I remain confident that the mediation work we do on behalf of couples, families and small businesses doesn’t come close to raising the eyebrows of government watchdogs.

Second, I am hopeful, perhaps naively, that we’ll fight the good fight on this one.  Health practitioners, educators, therapists, and mediators, all rely on online tools to connect privately with their clients.  If I have to round my colleagues up myself so we can voice our concern about where to draw a responsible line on this matter, then I’ll roll up my sleeves and do that!

And finally, we’re always looking for newer and better ways to connect with you.  Your privacy and security is of paramount importance to us.  We will do everything we can to ensure that your confidentiality is protected and will utilize the latest technology to make that happen.

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