Today, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Administration announced that they will open up the world of Skype communications to Members of Congress and their staff. Now, Members of Congress can reduce travel time and related costs while increasing and improving communications, transparency, and government accountability through the experience of Skype video calling. Skype enables lawmakers to hold meetings with their constituents who are unable to travel to the Congressional office, participate in virtual town hall meetings when the Member is not in her District, and build relationships and collaborate more effectively with other Members on important legislative efforts.That's great that Congress is looking to save costs by leveraging Skype. Of course, I wonder if U.S. Representatives will now avoid contentious in-person town hall meetings like the raucous town hall meetings during the Obamacare debate. Some legislators even called constituents who voiced their disagreement with the healthcare plan "unAmerican". Do we really want our representatives hiding behind a webcam?
Skype's engineers worked closely with the Congressional network security team to ensure that Skype is used safely for official business.
Don't get me wrong, I like the idea of our government using Skype to improve communication with constituents. Just as long as townhall meetings aren't replaced with a computer monitor in the center of the room. What's next? Instead of 435 Representatives sitting in Congress, we'll see 435 computer monitors running Skype with Representatives working remotely? I can picture it now...
And of course you know once Congress starts using Skype and sees how it easy it is to conduct business, they'll want the ability to work from their home district and use Skype. I guess that's not necessarily a bad thing, considering the corrupting influence Washington D.C. seems to have on politicians. Perhaps if they stay closer to home more often they'll actually listen to what the American people want.