Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Government Social Networks The Internet United States News

US House Adopts New Third-Party Web Site Rules 49

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the more-information-not-a-bad-thing dept.
GovIT Geek writes to tell us that third-party websites will no longer be off limits for members of the US House, provided that they use it for "official purposes" and not personal, commercial, or campaign purposes. "The rules are seen by House Administration Chairman Robert Brady as a compromise between several proposals under consideration in recent months and are closely aligned with those circulated by the Senate Rules Committee last week. [...] 'These new guidelines are a step in the right direction for a Congress that has been behind the technological curve for too long,' Boehner said. 'By encouraging the use of emerging and established new media tools, Congress is sending the message that we want to speak to citizens, and receive feedback, in the most open and accessible manner possible.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

US House Adopts New Third-Party Web Site Rules

Comments Filter:
  • .... why did they take away Congressmen's blackberries away from them during the height of the bailout debate? http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2008/09/staffers-for-th.html [abcnews.com]

    • by dreamchaser (49529) on Friday October 03, 2008 @03:16PM (#25249767) Homepage Journal

      They took them away from staffers, not Congresscritters. Had you read the link you provided you'd know that. Lots of junior staffers love to leak because it makes them feel important, and Her Majesty Pelosi didn't want any premature details of the negotiations coming out before they had a deal to screw us out of yet more money.

      • Yeah, I reread it after posting, though I thought I heard that congress also had them taken away. I probably misread that, though.

        The coffee hasn't kicked in yet. But I'm kicking myself, instead.

      • by ivandavidoff (969036) on Friday October 03, 2008 @03:21PM (#25249849)

        ...Her Majesty Pelosi...

        Watch what you call her. Under the new rules, she can flame you and link to her post.

      • by Duradin (1261418)

        Those staffers probably have a better understanding of the legislation than the congresscritter they support.

        Crackberries in the hands of actual congresscritters is like a five year old having it. You get nothing but fantasy and gibberish with the occasional regurgitation of things they heard the grown ups say.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Crackberries in the hands of actual congresscritters is like a five year old having it. You get nothing but fantasy and gibberish with the occasional regurgitation of things they heard the grown ups say.

          You mean like when any suit gets ahold of a blackberry?

        • by BCW2 (168187)
          Staffers are also cheaper to bribe than the Congresscritters who mostly just do what the staffers tell them. The true talking head. Makes "Thundering Herd of Dumbass" more appropriate than ever.
    • Oops, it says staffers, not Congressmen, but I think members of congress had their blackberries taken away, as well. At least, I remember reading that somewhere.

  • In other words (Score:4, Insightful)

    by snspdaarf (1314399) on Friday October 03, 2008 @03:15PM (#25249753)
    The US House would rather relax the rules than spend the money for a server and feed that can take getting blasted by the angry constituents of, what, 437 Congresspersons?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by zappepcs (820751)

      Altogether now, write your congressperson and ask them how they liked that slashdotting? Don't forget to tell them more is on the way. I look forward to hearing which congressional website is slashdotted today, and why.

  • by ardle (523599) on Friday October 03, 2008 @03:15PM (#25249757)
    Even for personal purposes? What constitutes "personal"?
    If someone has, for example, a linkedIn account, do they have to close it if they get elected?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by EvanED (569694)

      My impression from the (relatively poorly written, especially on this point) article, and the fact that just about everyone has a campaign website, is just that linking from the official site is forboden. For instance, neither Obama [senate.gov] nor McCain [senate.gov]'s site really makes it look like they are running for president. (I know both are Senators, not Representatives, but TFA says the new House rules are modeled off of the Senate ones, so I assume they have similar restrictions.)

    • Misleading (Score:5, Informative)

      by Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) on Friday October 03, 2008 @03:49PM (#25250173)

      Even for personal purposes? What constitutes "personal"?

      If someone has, for example, a linkedIn account, do they have to close it if they get elected?

      No, that's not the point. They cannot do personal things in the guise of their office. For instance, President Bush, as a person, can be racist (an example I believe untrue, but sprang to mind quickly). As President, however, he has to have a non-racist approach to running the executive.

      The Rep. can maintained the linked in account, but without the offical presence of his office.

      This rule doesn't affect whether Rep. X can put up YouTube videos of "My crazy weekend". He always could. But now he can put up videos saying "The US House of Representatives did X" with him speaking as part of his job.

      But he must not use his those official communiques for personal, commerical or campaigning reasons.

      Similar to how my work might allow youtube to host our official videos (currently, our site does it), but I still couldn't connect me to my company for political or personal reasons (or other commercial ventures.)

  • by VeNoM0619 (1058216) on Friday October 03, 2008 @03:15PM (#25249763)
    And in one of their conferences...

    "We decided to not spend this on the budget, because VeNoM0619 says it sounds stupid, and is full of cooties."
  • by greenguy (162630) <estebandido.gmail@com> on Friday October 03, 2008 @03:16PM (#25249765) Homepage Journal

    I couldn't be happier that members of Congress are finally allowed to check third parties out. We have all kinds of fresh ideas they could appropriate.

    • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

      by megamerican (1073936)

      I couldn't be happier that members of Congress are finally allowed to check third parties out. We have all kinds of fresh ideas they could appropriate.

      I know one Congressman [campaignforliberty.com] who does

  • REALLY! (Score:3, Funny)

    by arizwebfoot (1228544) on Friday October 03, 2008 @03:17PM (#25249781)

    Congress is sending the message that we want to speak to citizens, and receive feedback, in the most open and accessible manner possible.

    I think I just ruined another keyboard spitting out my coffee when I read that!

    --
    Oh well, Bad Karma and all . . .

  • It would seem that any form of communications used by House members on any subject would be Constitutionally protected by Amendment 1. These rule changes seem odd in that context.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Obfuscant (592200)
      ...any form of communications used by House members on any subject would be Constitutionally protected by Amendment 1.

      Oh for the days before McCain/Feingold.

      Do you wonder why so many politicians appear in ads saying "I approved this message"? They are legally required to do that. The 1st amendment protects freedom of speech. Requiring someone to say something is as abridging of freedom as preventing them.

      Do you know that there are prohibitions on political speech (ads) within a certain number of days be

      • by Jaysyn (203771)

        Money is a form of currency, but nice try. Maybe you could barter for airtime instead.

      • by AndersOSU (873247)

        Money is not a form of speech any more than a car is. Money is a possession not an action.

        Donations to candidates are limited because people seeking to serve the public trust shouldn't be unduly influenced by one person with deep pockets.

        If you want to say something say it. Form a PAC, spend as much money as you like. There are some restrictions, e.g. you can't coordinate with a campaign, but I think you'll find PACs have remarkable leeway, (see swiftboat veterans for truth and moveon.) I'm pretty sure t

        • by Kohath (38547)

          You can't restrict the money used to pay for speech without restricting that speech as a consequence.

          So money might not be speech, but it must have the same protections for the speech protections to actually, you know, protect speech.

          Saying the money isn't protected is like saying air is not protected. "We're not silencing the speakers, we're just cutting off their air so they can't breathe to make sounds. They can still move their lips. Free speech is protected."

        • by Obfuscant (592200)
          As has been pointed out, money is necessary to pay for effective speech, so limiting money in essence limits the effectiveness of speech, which is an infringement.

          A flag is a possession, not an action, but wearing a flag on one's lapel is a form of speech.

          Donations to candidates are limited because people seeking to serve the public trust shouldn't be unduly influenced by one person with deep pockets.

          Money is a possession. It is not speech. Someone giving me money hasn't "speeched" to me, then. I can

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by amRadioHed (463061)

        Money is a form of speech, isn't it?

        No. No it isn't.

        • Money is a form of speech, isn't it?

          No. Money controls media. Media makes us *think* money is speech. Ergo, money is a form of thought-control, not speech.

          The thing is, the government has already granted limited monopolies over our air waves. So it effectively took what was ours, and nobodies, consolidated, centralized it, made it scarce, and sold it back to only a limited few -- in exchange for money. This is the real reason people think money is free speech. It's because it was sold for money. If the Ame

      • by Kohath (38547)

        McCain Feingold is clearly unconstitutional too. The SCOTUS got it wrong.

    • by pavon (30274) on Friday October 03, 2008 @03:57PM (#25250285)

      I haven't been able to find a copy of the actual rules, just a bunch of blogger rhetoric, but from what I understand this is more about the boundary between tax-payer funded media and privately funded media.

      The senate and house both have official websites with pages that each of the congresscritters can use for official business. Naturally, we don't want them using taxpayer money on their campaign since it gives an advantage to the incumbents, so campaigning is forbidden on this website. The argument was about whether linking to content from personal or campaigning sites from their official site should be allowed.

      There was also some concern about embedding third party content (like youtube videos) and whether it caused any technical/political/security concerns. The initial reaction was to ban embedding of third-party content (mostly because it because it wasn't understood). They are now lifting that ban with the clarification that anything on the official site must be official business even if it is hosted elsewhere.

      AFAIK they never prohibited congresscritters from having their own sites, or using any third-party sites - they just had to be separate from the official site, and not funded with tax money.

  • by [cx] (181186)
    They say they can use it for official purposes but not "campaign purposes." Anyone want to elaborate on how a campaign is not an official purpose?
  • I am still bitter as hell about how both my Senators and Representative voted for the %@$#! Bailout.

    It didn't stop them from voting against the desires of their constituents. According to the email one of them sent out as a reply to my comments, most of her constituents were against the Financial Patriot Act and yet she still voted for it.

    "speak to citizens and receive feedback" Lies.

    • I am still bitter as hell about how both my Senators and Representative voted for the %@$#! Bailout.

      It didn't stop them from voting against the desires of their constituents. According to the email one of them sent out as a reply to my comments, most of her constituents were against the Financial Patriot Act and yet she still voted for it.

      "speak to citizens and receive feedback" Lies.

      Many congressman are simply cowards. They were also lied to as this congressman [youtube.com] points out. Many other congressman are simply sellouts. They know who butters their bread. Many congressman get most of their money from financial institutions who will be the only beneficiaries of this bill. Just checkout opensecrets.org

  • Hopefully... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TheSpoom (715771) * <slashdot@ u b e r m00.net> on Friday October 03, 2008 @03:25PM (#25249903) Homepage Journal

    This could lead to us being able to get YouTube videos from Barack Obama if he's elected (adding to the 1400+ he and his campaign already have [youtube.com]). Of course, John McCain just posts his campaign ads [youtube.com]...

    Or maybe thinking open, ongoing communication from representatives is too idealistic.

    (Yes, I realize this applies to the House and not the Executive branch.)

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Obfuscant (592200)
      Or maybe thinking open, ongoing communication from representatives is too idealistic.

      Maybe thinking that a YouTube video is open, ongoing communication is too idealistic.

  • From the article:

    House Speaker Pelosi lauded the panel's effort to "modernize the antiquated franking regulations to address the realities of communications in the Internet age."

    Congressmen like to use government funds to push their next campaigns, and the campaigns of allies. Franking regulation is needed to stop such abuses.

  • Back in the Wild Wild West of Web 1.0, the LDS Church (Mormon church) had a hodgepodge of 3rd party sites built by savvy members who were given that responsibility, and it acted purely as a supplement to the newsletter handed out on Sunday.

    As more people got used to looking at a site than getting the newsletter, they had a problem with not every unit having a page, multiple pages and out of date pages for a unit, blatant image copyright violation, links to copyright violations that were in direct violation

  • by Fooby (10436) on Friday October 03, 2008 @05:10PM (#25251059)

    Allowing representatives to use third-party services for official purposes, rather than government-run official IT infrastructure, enables them to hide their operations in plain sight. This is much like gov.palin@hotmail.com and Bush using RNC services while in office.

    With these new rules in place, official goverment records that should be open to scrutiny will be spread across thousands of privately-controlled servers. Oversight will be impossible.

  • NIB! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Itninja (937614) on Friday October 03, 2008 @06:51PM (#25251863) Homepage
    I can see ways around this. Say you are a senator a want to sell an old typerwriter on Ebay...that's offical business I suppose.

    Item Specifics
    Material : Experience Type: Democrat
    Manufacturer : America Reproduction: Only in a good way
    Great vintage President Deluxe Vote Obama typewriter. The keys are in great shape but WE NEED CHANGE, needs ink cartridge,......

    you get the idea....
  • Hosted on Goatse.cx.

With your bare hands?!?

Working...