House Republican Leaders Ask for Permission to Use Skype

Broadband Updates, Broadband's Impact, Privacy April 26th, 2010

, BroadbandBreakfast.com

WASHINGTON, April 26, 2010 – House Republican leaders sent a letter last week to the House speaker and chairman of the Administration Committee requesting that lawmakers be allowed to use more video conferencing software applications to communicate with constituents.

The letter, sent to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and House Administration Committee Chairman Robert Brady, D-Pa., says that despite strides made for lawmakers to interact with constituents via new media, “barriers remain.”

“Among these barriers is the current House rule prohibiting members of Congress from using certain video-conferencing software applications such as Skype,” says the letter signed by Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio, Republican Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia and others.

They point out that current House rules allow members of Congress to use taxpayer funds to conduct video teleconferencing activities with constituents, but forbid them from using Skype “which is practically free.”

“We are certain that Skype, an increasingly relevant communication tool for Americans already widely used in the private sector, could be easily implemented in Congress in a manner that would not reduce the security of the House IT infrastructure,” said the letter’s authors.

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