The House BlackBerry communication program, initiated in 2001, provided all members with the device, and paid for the associated e-mail service (to the tune of $6 million). The adoption of this wireless technology was related to the events of 9/11.
However, Congress is now caught in an uncomfortable position concerning its continued use of the Blackberries, as reported today by the Washington Post. A patent infringement case between BlackBerry’s Canadian parent, Research in Motion (RIM) and NTP Inc., threatens to force the removal of the devices. In an unusual action, James M. Eagen III, Chief Administrative Officer, U.S. House of Representatives, requested that the parties seek a resolution allowing Congress to keep their Blackberries.