Tom Ridge: gotta love VoIP, but intercepts are necessary

Yesterday at the VoIP 2.0 IP Telephony show in Fort Lauderdale, former Department of Homeland Security director Tom Ridge spread a little bit of that VoIP love.

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Yesterday at the VoIP 2.0 IP Telephony show in Fort Lauderdale, former Department of Homeland Security director Tom Ridge spread a little bit of that VoIP love. That's Secretary Ridge up there- photo by TMCNet.

In his keynote address, Ridge noted the capability of local governments in and around New Orleans to use VoIP as a communications channel when land lines went out and cell towers were toppled.

Ridge, who already had left his Department of Homeland Security position at that point in time, knocked the DHS' "huge failure to coordinate and communicate before, during and after the event." He added his view that "it comes down to leaders using the tools available to them to serve their nation: it's about networks and relationships and about training."

But as to threats from human, rather than natural sources, Ridge sounded unequivocal in his position that it is OK for the National Security Agency to intercept phone calls of suspected terrorists or their associates. He believes that such intercepts should also include VoIP calls.

"We cannot afford to operate as if events like September 11 or (Katrina) won't happen again," said Ridge, a former Governor of Pennsylvania. "We don't live in fear, we live in freedom - and that's the way it will continue to be. "VoIP is just one technology that will help us live freely and be good citizens at the same time."

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