August 18th, 2010
01:02 PM ET
10 years ago

Why your senator can't Skype

 Lawmakers are prohibited from using Skype to chat from their offices.

Lawmakers are prohibited from using Skype to chat from their offices.

New York ( - Internet video-chatting service Skype helps connect people across the globe - but your representatives in Congress are banned from using it.

House Democrats and Republicans have been tussling over whether to overhaul technology rules that prohibit lawmakers from using Skype to chat from their offices with the people they govern.

Their obstacle: A 2006 ban on running peer-to-peer applications behind House and Senate firewalls. Such programs allow computers to share files (remember Napster?), which could pose a security risk.

Skype is a peer-to-peer (P2P) program, but its software is a different animal from the popular-with-pirates media swapping applications that gave the P2P field a reputation as the Internet's Wild West. While Skype users can send files directly to others, the company says it's impossible to share documents accidentally - as users could with file-sharing programs like LimeWire.

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soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    If Bachman and Boehener are for it, I'm definitely against it. Skype clearly will be a security risk if it has the same infrastructure such as LimeWire. Congress will be getting infected with viruses left and right.

    August 18, 2010 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  2. Ed

    They want it that way so they don't have to face you, because that provides proof of the conversation.

    August 18, 2010 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  3. aunt Bea and Opie

    Skype?please dont let Rush use it,hahaha,my kids see enough monsters on TV.Rushs NUMBERS are so bad he had to get on Facebook and give away free I phones to try and get his numbers up,hahaha

    August 18, 2010 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |