Congress is clueless on technology -- and just voted to keep it that way

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A lot of members of Congress were caught off guard in 2012 when the Internet exploded in opposition to the Stop Online Piracy Act. Lobbyists for the motion picture and recording industries had assured them that the proposal, which involved creating a government-sponsored blacklist and forcing ISPs to block sites on it, wouldn't be too disruptive to the Internet ecosystem.

But the people who actually run the Internet were barely consulted. It would be nice if Congress had some technical experts on staff to analyze proposed legislation and advise members about its technical implications.

And in fact, Congress did have an agency like that, called the Office of Technology Assessment, until Newt Gingrich zeroed out its funding in 1995. Rep Rush Holt (D-NJ), one of the few members of Congress with scientific training, wants to change that. He recently introduced an amendment that would have allocated funds to re-start the agency. But it was defeated in a 164-248 vote.


Congress is clueless on technology -- and just voted to keep it that way