At the time the house of representatives was controlled by republicans swept in during the 1994 elections on the back of the "contract with America." Who was their leader? One Rep Newt Gingrich (R-GA)
Reshared post from +Alexander Howard
"Only a Smarter Congress Can Make Better Internet Policy," writes +Daniel Schuman at the +Sunlight Foundation.
If you're still wondering how the problematic tech aspects of #SOPA & #PIPA made it into the bills, much less how they almost passed, Schuman lays it out for you: a "congressional technology lobotomy" in 1995, when Congress defunded its Office of Technology Assessment and made it very difficult to attract and retain top technology policy staffers.
If you're wondering why Congress doesn't get tech, start here.
Schuman: "The Office of Technology Assessment [http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/ota/Ota_5/DATA/1972/9604.PDF] was created in 1972 to equip Congress with “new and effective means for securing competent, unbiased information concerning the physical, biological, economic, social, and political effects” of technology. OTA “was intended to facilitate congressional access to expertise and permit legislators to consider objectively information presented by the executive branch, interest groups, and other stakeholders to controversial policy questions,” in the words of a CRS report. It was a runaway success.
OTA’s small staff of experts (around 140 at its maximum) generated hundreds of reports http://www.fas.org/ota/otareports/ at the relatively modest cost of $20 million annually. Unfortunately, it was defunded in 1995 as part of a broader effort to make the Congress appear more efficient. Despite repeated calls for OTA’s reinstatement, nothing has filled the void, and policymaking has suffered."
Indeed. As we say here on the Interwebs, read the whole thing.
Only a Smarter Congress Can Make Better Internet Policy
Recent calls for technologists to hire lobbyists to educate Washington on internet issues miss a significant part of the big picture. Congress makes bad technology decisions because it has dismantled …
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