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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Court-Ordered Access to Smart Phones: In Brief
This report specifically examines certain encryption issues that have been raised in the investigation of the December 2, 2015, terrorist attack in San Bernardino, CA. This report highlights certain issues that policymakers may examine as they follow the ongoing dispute between law enforcement and technology companies, and it focuses on questions related to the government's request. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc824742/
The Federal Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Program: Background, Funding, and Activities
This report discusses the federal government's role in the country's information technology (IT) research and development (R&D) activities. Support of IT R&D began because the government had an important interest in creating computers and software that would be capable of addressing the problems and issues the government needed to solve and study. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc824595/
Big Data in U.S. Agriculture
This report discusses big data within the context of agriculture. Many observers predict that the growth of big data will bring positive benefits through enhanced production, resource efficiency, and improved adaptation to climate change. While lauded for its potentially revolutionary applications, big data is not without issues. From a policy perspective, issues related to big data involve nearly every stage of its existence, including its collection (how it is captured), management (how it is stored and managed), and use (how it is analyzed and used). It is still unclear how big data will progress within agriculture due to technical and policy challenges, such as privacy and security, for producers and policymakers. As Congress follows the issue, a number of questions may arise, including a principal one--what is the federal role? digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc824605/
Encryption and Evolving Technology: Implications for U.S. Law Enforcement Investigations
This report provides an overview of the perennial issue involving technology outpacing law enforcement and discusses how policy makers and law enforcement officials have dealt with this issue in the past. It also outlines the current debate surrounding smartphone data encryption and how this may impact U.S. law enforcement operations, as well as existing law enforcement capabilities, the debate over whether law enforcement is "going dark" because of rapid technological advances, and resulting issues that policy makers may consider. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc824624/
The Federal Cybersecurity Workforce: Background and Congressional Oversight Issues for the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security
This report examines congressional oversight of two strategies undertaken by Congress and the executive branch to strengthen the federal cybersecurity workforce: initiatives to define and identify the federal cybersecurity workforce, and hiring and pay flexibilities applicable to cybersecurity positions at the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc824503/
Using Data to Improve Defense Acquisitions: Background, Analysis, and Questions for Congress
This report examines (1) the extent to which the Department of Defense (DOD) effectively uses data to inform decisionmaking, (2) some of the critical elements needed for DOD to use data more effectively, (3) recent efforts to improve DOD's use of data, and (4) potential questions for Congress. This report focuses primarily (but not exclusively) on defense acquisitions as a case study. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc824544/
Data Security and Breach Notification Legislation: Selected Legal Issues
This report describes the common elements of several data security and breach notification bills that have been introduced in the 114th Congress, which broadly would impose security and notification requirements on businesses regardless of industry sector. It also discusses state laws that may apply in the event of a data breach and addresses two legal issues that may arise in consideration of new legislation about data security and breach notification. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc824549/
Cybersecurity: Overview Reports and Links to Government, News, and Related Resources
This report directs the reader to authoritative sources that address many of the most prominent issues related to cybersecurity. Included in the reports are resources and studies from government agencies (federal, state, local, and international), think tanks, academic institutions, news organizations, and other sources. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc824556/
Is Broadband Deployment Reasonable and Timely?
This report briefly discusses the state of broadband Internet in America as determined by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in its latest Broadband Progress Report. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc824429/
Renewed Crypto Wars?
This report briefly examines renewed tensions between tech companies and the government regarding encryption "back doors" and how quickly-advancing technologies could impact law enforcement investigations. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc824446/
Broadband Internet Access and the Digital Divide: Federal Assistance Programs
This report discusses the "digital divide," a term that has been used to characterize a gap between those Americans who use or have access to telecommunications technologies (e.g., telephones, computers, the Internet) and those who do not. It particularly discusses one important subset of the digital divide debate concerns high speed Internet access or broadband. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc824461/
The National Institute of Standards and Technology: An Overview
This report discusses the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) that has a mandate to increase the competitiveness of U.S. companies. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc821673/
The Advanced Technology Program
This report discuses the Advanced Technology Program (ATP) that was created by P.L. 100-418, the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988, to encourage public-private cooperation in the development of pre-competitive technologies with broad application across industries digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc810764/
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA): Policies, Programs, and Funding
This report discusses the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), which is an agency of the Department of Commerce set up to advise on domestic and international telecommunications and information policies. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc822567/
Net Neutrality: Background and Issues
This report discusses the continued debate amongst congressional policymakers regarding telecommunications reform. A major point of the ongoing discussion is whether action is needed to ensure unfettered access to the Internet. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc822587/
Internet Privacy: Overview and Pending Legislation
Internet privacy issues encompass concerns about the collection of personally identifiable information from visitors to Web sites, as well as debate over law enforcement or employer monitoring of electronic mail and Web usage. In the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks, debate over the issue of law enforcement monitoring has intensified, with some advocating increased tools for law enforcement to track down terrorists, and others cautioning that fundamental tenets of democracy, such as privacy, not be endangered in that pursuit. This report provides a brief overview of Internet privacy issues and tracks pending legislation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc822608/
“Junk E-mail”: An Overview of Issues and Legislation Concerning Unsolicited Commercial Electronic Mail (“Spam”)
This report discusses unsolicited commercial e-mail (UCE), also called “spam” or “junk e-mail.” Not only can it be a nuisance, but its cost may be passed on to consumers through higher charges from Internet service providers who must upgrade their systems to handle the traffic. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc816121/
“Junk E-mail”: An Overview of Issues and Legislation Concerning Unsolicited Commercial Electronic Mail (“Spam”)
This report discusses unsolicited commercial e-mail (UCE), also called “spam” or “junk e-mail.” Not only can it be a nuisance, but its cost may be passed on to consumers through higher charges from Internet service providers who must upgrade their systems to handle the traffic. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc820983/
Cybersecurity and Information Sharing: Legal Challenges and Solutions
While considerable debate exists with regard to the best strategies for protecting America’s various cyber-systems and promoting cybersecurity, one point of general agreement amongst cyber-analysts is the perceived need for enhanced and timely exchange of cyber-threat intelligence both within the private sector and between the private sector and the government. This report examines the various legal issues that arise with respect to the sharing of cybersecurity intelligence, with a special focus on two distinct concepts: (1) sharing of cyberinformation within the government’s possession and (2) sharing of cyber-information within the possession of the private sector. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc821165/
Broadband Internet Access and the Digital Divide: Federal Assistance Programs
This report examines issues regarding broadband access in the U.S., more specifically the "digital divide,” which is a term that has been used to characterize a gap between “information haves and have-nots,” or in other words, between those Americans who use or have access to telecommunications technologies (e.g., telephones, computers, the Internet) and those who do not. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc821174/
Illegal Internet Streaming of Copyrighted Content: Legislation in the 112th Congress
This report describes streaming technology, explains the disparity in criminal penalties for different forms of infringement committed by electronic means, analyzes legislation in the 112th Congress that would harmonize penalties for illegal streaming with those available for other forms of online copyright infringement, and summarizes arguments for and against such a legislative change. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc821076/
Science and Technology Policy: Issues for the 109th Congress
Science and technology have a pervasive influence over a wide range of issues confronting the nation. Decisions on how much federal funding to invest in research and development (R&D), and determining what programs have the highest priority, for example, may have implications for homeland security, new high technology industries, government/private sector cooperation in R&D, and myriad other areas. This report indicates the sweep of science and technology in many public policy issues, although it cannot provide a comprehensive examination of every science or technology issue which may be of interest to Congress. This report identifies other CRS reports that treat most of those issues in more depth. It is updated occasionally. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc821417/
Point & Click: Internet Searching Techniques
This report discusses criteria to consider when judging the quality of an internet site and the best strategies for locating information on the World Wide Web. There are two ways to search the Internet. The first is to use subject guides (e.g., Yahoo, Galaxy, or WWW Virtual Library), which are compiled by human indexers. These present an organized hierarchy of categories so a searcher can “drill down” through their links. The second option is to use a search engine (e.g., Alta Vista, Hotbot, or InfoSeek), an automated software robot which indexes Web pages and retrieves information based on relevancy-ranked algorithms. This report describes how search engines index the World Wide Web, as well as various features common to most search engines. In addition, the report suggests searching tips for retrieving the most precise information. Finally, the report discusses Usenet news groups, email discussion lists, gophers, and miscellaneous Web resources. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc821420/
The Federal Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Program: Funding Issues and Activities
This report discusses federal funding for IT research and development. Proponents assert that federal support of IT R&D has produced positive outcomes for the country and played a crucial role in supporting long-term research into fundamental aspects of computing. Critics assert that the government, through its funding mechanisms, may be picking “winners and losers” in technological development, a role more properly residing with the private sector. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc821428/
America COMPETES Acts: FY2008 to FY2013 Funding Tables
The 2007 America COMPETES Act (P.L. 110-69) is designed to “invest in innovation through research and development, and to improve the competitiveness of the United States.” This report tracks accounts and activities authorized by the 2007 and 2010 COMPETES Acts during each act’s authorization period. It includes only those accounts and activities for which the acts provide a defined (i.e., specific) appropriations authorization. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc821109/
Telecommunications Discounts for Schools and Libraries: The “E-Rate” Program and Controversies
This report addresses the controversial issues surrounding the E-rate program’s implementation and subsequent legislative measures introduced to address these issues. An additional issue, concern that minors may gain access to “inappropriate” material through the Internet has also had an impact on the E-rate program. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc821103/
Privacy Protection for Online Information
This report focuses on one aspect of online privacy – collection, use, and dissemination of data via the Internet, and discusses related federal privacy laws and selected legislation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc821619/
The EU-U.S. Safe Harbor Agreement on Personal Data Privacy: In Brief
This report discusses a recent judgement by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) that invalidates the Safe Harbor Agreement between the United States and the 28-member European Union (EU). Safe Harbor is a 15-year-old accord, under which personal data could legally be transferred between EU member countries and the United States. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc795682/
Cybersecurity and Information Sharing: Comparison of H.R. 1560 and H.R. 1731 as Passed by the House
This report compares provisions in two bills in the House of Representatives that address information sharing and related activities in cybersecurity. Both bills focus on information sharing among private entities and between them and the federal government. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc795529/
U.S.-China Cyber Agreement
During the state visit on September 24-25, 2015, President Xi Jinping of China and President Barack Obama reached a Cyber Agreement. This report briefly discusses that agreement. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc795686/
Privacy Law and Online Advertising: Legal Analysis of Data Gathering By Online Advertisers Such As Double Click and NebuAd
This report discusses privacy issues arising from so called "e-havioral" advertising. This individual behavioral targeting has raised a number of privacy concerns. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc795653/
Internet Governance and the Domain Name System: Issues for Congress
This report provides a definition regarding Internet governance and how the Internet is currently governed. The report discusses the role of United States government and future model of Internet governance. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc795801/
The Manhattan Project, the Apollo Program, and Federal Energy Technology R&D Programs: A Comparative Analysis
This report compares and contrasts the goals of, and the investments in, three research and development (R&D) initiatives, which may provide useful insights for Congress as it assesses and debates the nation's energy policy. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc795345/
The Federal Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Program: Funding Issues and Activities
This report discusses the federal government's role in the country's information technology (IT) research and development (R&D) activities. The government's support of IT R&D began because it had an important interest in creating computers and software that would be capable of addressing the problems and issues the government needed to solve and study. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc795366/
Cybersecurity: Legislation, Hearings, and Executive Branch Documents
This report provides links to cybersecurity-related committee hearings in the 112th, 113th, and 114th Congresses. It also provides a list of executive orders and presidential directives pertaining to information and computer security. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc795396/
A Federal Chief Technology Officer in the Obama Administration: Options and Issues for Consideration
This report addresses issues related to the potential scope of duties and authorities of a CTO, as well as other issues Congress may choose to consider if it opts to exert oversight or to develop legislation to create the position and/or office of a CTO. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc795406/
Infrastructure Programs: What's Different About Broadband?
This report discusses the unique characteristics that may dictate that government programs in support of broadband deployment be structured differently than conventional infrastructure programs. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc795475/
Internet Governance and the Domain Name System: Issues for Congress
This report provides a definition regarding Internet governance and how the Internet is currently governed, and discusses the role of United States government and future model of Internet governance. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc795902/
The Internet Tax Freedom Act: In Brief
This report discusses the Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA; P.L. 105-277), which enacted in 1998, implemented a three-year moratorium preventing state and local governments from taxing Internet access, or imposing multiple or discriminatory taxes on electronic commerce. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc795758/
The Internet of Things: Frequently Asked Questions
This report was developed to assist Congress in responding to some commonly asked questions about the Internet of Things (IoT), a complex, often poorly understood phenomenon. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc795702/
The Department of Defense, Science and Technology Program: An Analysis, FY1998-FY2007
The purpose of this report is to help understand how the budget increases of the last ten years have been allocated. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc795787/
The Federal Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Program: Background, Funding, and Activities
This report discusses the federal government's role in the country's information technology (IT) research and development (R&D) activities. Support of IT R&D began because the government had an important interest in creating computers and software that would be capable of addressing the problems and issues the government needed to solve and study. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc770598/
Industrial Competitiveness and Technological Advancement: Debate Over Government Policy
This report discusses congressional interest in the pace of U.S. technological advancement due to its influence on U.S. economic growth, productivity, and international competitiveness. The proper role of the federal government in technology development and the competitiveness of U.S. industry continues to be a topic of congressional debate. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc770552/
Data Mining and Homeland Security: An Overview
This report explores the issue of data mining in detail and in the context of homeland security, as well as relevant initiatives and pieces of legislation. Often used as a means for detecting fraud, assessing risk, and product retailing, data mining involves the use of data analysis tools to discover previously unknown, valid patterns and relationships in large data sets. In the context of homeland security, data mining can be a potential means to identify terrorist activities, such as money transfers and communications, and to identify and track individual terrorists themselves, such as through travel and immigration records. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc770597/
Encryption and Evolving Technology: Implications for U.S. Law Enforcement Investigations
This report provides an overview of the perennial issue involving technology outpacing law enforcement and discusses how policy makers and law enforcement officials have dealt with this issue in the past. It discusses the current debate surrounding smartphone data encryption and how this may impact U.S. law enforcement operations. The report also discusses existing law enforcement capabilities, the debate over whether law enforcement is "going dark" because of rapid technological advances, and resulting issues that policy makers may consider. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc770614/
Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS): Commercial Outlook for a New Industry
This report discusses unmanned aircraft systems (UAS)--commonly referred to as drones-- which have become a staple of U.S. military reconnaissance and weapons delivery in overseas war zones such as Afghanistan. Now some new technologies and pending federal regulations are enabling the manufacture and use of UAS in domestic commerce, giving rise to a growing commercial UAS industry. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc770623/
OPM Data Breach: Personnel Security Background Investigation Data
This report provides information on the types of data that may be collected in a typical personnel security background investigation. In a July 9, 2015, news release on the cyber-intrusions of its systems, OPM "concluded with high confidence that sensitive information, including the Social Security Numbers (SSNs) of 21.5 million individuals, was stolen from the background investigation databases." This report is not an official statement of the data that was compromised in the OPM breach. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc743407/
The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act
This report provides a summary and explanation of the provisions in the HITECH Act, which is intended to promote the widespread adoption of health information technology (HIT) for the electronic sharing of clinical data among hospitals, physicians, and other health care stakeholders. It gives an overview of prior actions taken by Congress and the Administrations to promote HIT, and briefly describes efforts by the 109th and 110th Congresses to enact comprehensive HIT legislation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc743451/
Policy Implications of the Internet of Things
This report briefly discusses the Internet of Things (IoT), which is an umbrella term that many policymakers use to refer to the technologies and network structures that interconnect objects, humans, and animals to collect and analyze data and manage processes. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc743651/
Cybersecurity: Legislation, Hearings, and Executive Branch Documents
This report provides links to cybersecurity committee hearings and legislation from the 112th, 113th, and 114th Congresses, as well as a list of executive orders and presidential directives pertaining to information and computer security. Summaries of activities and findings are included as a series of tables. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc743631/