House Committee Seeks to Tighten the Content You Can See in Government

JAC_and_USS_Texas.pngRepresentative John Culberson, the Twittering and Qik’ing Congressman from my good old home town of Houston, Texas, has been on a rampage this morning about a proposed new regulation for the House of Representatives, which, he claims, will require all world wide web communications from the House floor from those in congress to receive “prior approval” from a Democratically-controlled Committee on House Administration before it goes out to the web. From the letter:

  • Official content posted on an external domain must be clearly identified as produced by a House office for official purposes, and meet existing content rules and regulations;
  • To the maximum extent possible, the official content should not be posted on a website or page where it may appear with commercial or political information or any other information not in compliance with the House’s content guidelines.
  • Any link from a House website to an external site on which the Member video is hosted must contain an exit notice.
  • CHA, the Office of Web Assistance(OWA), or other designated House entity should maintain a list of external sites that meet whatever requirements are established by the CHA

Per the above proposed recommendations, this would rule out any Twitter communication because by law, each Tweet would need to be prepended by a disclaimer, identifying it as being produced by a House office for official purposes and, as Culberson puts it, that will most likely in and of its self exceed 140 characters. Also, it would mean that any Congressman wishing to use a site such as Twitter to share publicly what is going on in Congress with their constituents will have to get prior approval, censorship essentially, before using such a site or technology.

I find it ironic that it is a Republican that is trying to show the Democrats how to use technology on this, but Representative Culberson has a point here, and we need to speak up if we’re to continue seeing social media propagate through our government. Social Media in government means a more open government, and that’s a good thing! I’d like to encourage all that read this to write your Congressman or Congresswoman about this (Pelosi is part of this!) and get them to see things straight rather than requiring censorship of our House floor.

You can read the Proposal here. (Which, were this proposal to take effect, I believe I would be breaking the law by sharing with you)

UPDATE: Want to discuss? Let’s discuss in a nice open format right below this post via the FriendFeed link below!

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40 thoughts on “House Committee Seeks to Tighten the Content You Can See in Government

  1. Great post. The government is for the people, by the people and therefore must be heard and uncensored to the people. Keeping things in the light is best for everyone…
    LdsNana

    Like

  2. Great post. The government is for the people, by the people and therefore must be heard and uncensored to the people. Keeping things in the light is best for everyone…
    LdsNana

    Like

  3. Great post. The government is for the people, by the people and therefore must be heard and uncensored to the people. Keeping things in the light is best for everyone…
    LdsNana

    Like

  4. Great post. The government is for the people, by the people and therefore must be heard and uncensored to the people. Keeping things in the light is best for everyone…
    LdsNana

    Like

  5. Great post. The government is for the people, by the people and therefore must be heard and uncensored to the people. Keeping things in the light is best for everyone…
    LdsNana

    Like

  6. Great post. The government is for the people, by the people and therefore must be heard and uncensored to the people. Keeping things in the light is best for everyone…
    LdsNana

    Like

  7. Great post. The government is for the people, by the people and therefore must be heard and uncensored to the people. Keeping things in the light is best for everyone…
    LdsNana

    Like

  8. Great post. The government is for the people, by the people and therefore must be heard and uncensored to the people. Keeping things in the light is best for everyone…
    LdsNana

    Like

  9. Great post. The government is for the people, by the people and therefore must be heard and uncensored to the people. Keeping things in the light is best for everyone…
    LdsNana

    Like

  10. Great post. The government is for the people, by the people and therefore must be heard and uncensored to the people. Keeping things in the light is best for everyone…
    LdsNana

    Like

  11. Great post. The government is for the people, by the people and therefore must be heard and uncensored to the people. Keeping things in the light is best for everyone…
    LdsNana

    Like

  12. Great post. The government is for the people, by the people and therefore must be heard and uncensored to the people. Keeping things in the light is best for everyone…
    LdsNana

    Like

  13. Great post. The government is for the people, by the people and therefore must be heard and uncensored to the people. Keeping things in the light is best for everyone…
    LdsNana

    Like

  14. Great post. The government is for the people, by the people and therefore must be heard and uncensored to the people. Keeping things in the light is best for everyone…
    LdsNana

    Like

  15. Great post. The government is for the people, by the people and therefore must be heard and uncensored to the people. Keeping things in the light is best for everyone…
    LdsNana

    Like

  16. Heres how the House leadership will use this rule to control where and what I say and even exercise influence over your website/blog etc

    If the Ds rule change were in effect today, before I could post this, your website/blog would have to be preapproved as complying with House rules, my post would require a disclaimer that it was “produced by a House office for official purposes,” and the CONTENT of my post would have to be preapproved by the House Franking Committee as complying with “existing content rules and regulations.”

    This is a violation of your First Amendment rights and mine, and is an outrageous attempt by House leadership to stifle and control you and me. If Rs were in charge I would be just as outraged – forget the party label – I do not want the federal gov't/House of Representatives certifying your website or the content of my posts. I am writing this post personally, in my official capacity, so it would fall precisely under their new rule and you and I would both be in violation unless we subjected ourselves and my words to their prior approval/editing.

    I am always ready to admit I am wrong but I am an attorney and this is what the letter means.

    This is a story worth following because I am going to continue to vigorously exercise my First Amendment rights on every social media outlet I can reach. Itis my right as an American and my duty as a representative.

    thanks

    John Culberson

    Like

  17. Representative Culberson, very great explanation – I agree, this is
    essential and will affect not only our government, but we as bloggers. I'm
    proud to have people like you represent Texas.

    Like

  18. IANAL (neither is TechDirt, I believe – Culberson is, however), but
    regardless, I welcome his mud slinging or whatever it is you call it. If
    there are already restrictions in place then maybe this will help bring some
    attention to that. My interpretation however is that the current
    restrictions are already vague, which currently allow for him to Tweet while
    on official business, etc (otherwise they wouldn't be proposing this
    restriction – I believe much of it is in reponse to his existing Twittering
    and Qikking on Capitol Hill). Whereas the new restrictions would require
    every Tweet, Qik, etc. to be pre-approved by this committee. It's socialism
    at its finest if you ask me.

    Like

  19. IANAL (neither is TechDirt, I believe – Culberson is, however), but
    regardless, I welcome his mud slinging or whatever it is you call it. If
    there are already restrictions in place then maybe this will help bring some
    attention to that. My interpretation however is that the current
    restrictions are already vague, which currently allow for him to Tweet while
    on official business, etc (otherwise they wouldn't be proposing this
    restriction – I believe much of it is in reponse to his existing Twittering
    and Qikking on Capitol Hill). Whereas the new restrictions would require
    every Tweet, Qik, etc. to be pre-approved by this committee. It's socialism
    at its finest if you ask me.

    Like

  20. Great post. The government is for the people, by the people and therefore must be heard and uncensored to the people. Keeping things in the light is best for everyone…
    LdsNana

    Like

  21. Great post. The government is for the people, by the people and therefore must be heard and uncensored to the people. Keeping things in the light is best for everyone…
    LdsNana

    Like

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