This report discusses the Domain Name System (DNS), which is the distributed set of databases residing in computers around the world that contain address numbers mapped to corresponding domain names, making it possible to send and receive messages and to access information from computers anywhere on the Internet.
This report discusses the role of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), including an overview of the history of science and technology advice to the President, issues and options for Congress regarding (OSTP) Director, OSTP management and operations, the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), and the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC). The report also discusses actions taken by the Obama Administration regarding OSTP.
This report discusses the Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA; P.L. 105-277) enacted in 1998, which implemented a three-year moratorium preventing state and local governments from taxing Internet access, or imposing multiple or discriminatory taxes on electronic commerce.
This report provides a short summary of selected federal laws, executive orders, and presidential directives, currently in force, that govern computer security. The report focuses on the major roles and responsibilities assigned various federal agencies in the area of computer security.
This report provides information regarding the role of U.S. and other foreign companies in facilitating Internet censorship by repressive regimes overseas. The report is divided into several sections: Examination of repressive policies in China and Iran, Relevant U.S. laws, U.S. policies to promote Internet freedom, Private sector initiatives, and Congressional action.
This report analyzes National Science Foundation funding trends and selected closely related STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education policy issues in order to place conversations about FY2013 funding in broader fiscal and policy context. It concludes with an analysis of potential policy options.
This report will provide a basic understanding of science and technology policy including the nature of science and technology (S&T) policy, how scientific and technical knowledge is useful for public policy decision making, and an overview of the key stakeholders in science and technology policy.
Nanoscale science, engineering, and technology-commonly referred to collectively as nanotechnology-is believed by many to offer extraordinary economic and societal benefits. Congress has demonstrated continuing support for nanotechnology and has directed its attention primarily to three topics that may affect the realization of this hoped for potential: federal research and development (R&D) in nanotechnology; U.S. competitiveness; and environmental, health, and safety (EHS) concerns. This report provides an overview of these topics-which are discussed in more detail in other CRS reports-and two others: nanomanufacturing and public understanding of and attitudes toward nanotechnology.
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 television (DTV) is a new television service representing the most significant development in television technology since the advent of color television in the 1950s. DTV can provide sharper pictures, a wider screen, CD-quality sound, better color rendition, and other new services currently being developed. A successful deployment of DTV requires: the development by content providers of compelling digital programming; the delivery of digital signals to consumers by broadcast television stations, as well as cable and satellite television systems; and the widespread purchase and adoption by consumers of digital television equipment. A key issue in the Congressional debate over the digital transition has been addressing the millions of American over-the-air households whose existing analog televisions will require converter boxes in order to receive digital signals when the analog signal is turned off.
This report provides an overview of the history of science and technology (S&T) advice to the President. It also discusses selected issues and options for Congress regarding the Office of Science and Technology Policy OSTP's Director, (OSTP) management and operations, the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), and the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC).
This report provides links to selected authoritative resources related to cyber security issues, including: legislation, hearings in the 112th Congress, data and statistics, and cyber security glossaries.
The Technology Innovation Program (TIP) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) was established in 2007 to replace the Advanced Technology Program (ATP). This effort is designed "to support, promote, and accelerate innovation in the United States through highrisk, high-reward research in areas of critical national need," according to the authorizing legislation. Grants are provided to small and medium-sized firms for individual projects or joint ventures with other research organizations.
Continued funding for NIST extramural programs directed toward increased private sector commercialization has been a major issue. Some Members of Congress have expressed skepticism over a "technology policy" based on providing federal funds to industry for development of pre-competitive generic technologies. This approach, coupled with pressures to balance the federal budget, led to significant reductions in funding for NIST. The Advanced Technology Program (ATP) and the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), which accounted for over 50% of the FY1995 NIST budget, were proposed for elimination. In 2007, ATP was terminated and replaced by the Technology Innovation Program (TIP). As part of the American Competitiveness Initiative, announced by former President Bush in the 2006 State of the Union, the Administration stated its intention to double over 10 years funding for "innovation-enabling research" done at NIST through its "core" programs. In April 2009, the current President stated his decision to double the budget of key science agencies, including NIST, over the next 10 years. While additional funding has been forthcoming, it remains to be seen how support for internal R&D at NIST will evolve and how this might affect financing of extramural efforts such as TIP and MEP. The dispensation of funding for NIST programs may influence the way by which the federal government supports technology development for commercial application.
The protection of data, particularly data that can be used to identify individuals, has become an issue of great concern to Congress. This report discusses relevant legislation regarding data security.
This report discusses the debate surrounding Municipal Broadband, which is controversial because it involves governmental entities entering a commercial telecommunications marketplace that had previously been the exclusive domain of private sector providers.
Many computers were designed to store a two-digit number for the year, which makes the year 2000 indistinguishable from 1900. Unless they are corrected, many computers will not be able to process dates beyond the year 2000, and may cause many costly problems in commerce and government. In the 106th Congress, hearings are being held and will continue to provide the public with the most accurate information available on the status of Y2K remediations at federal agencies, state and local agencies, private sector entities, and international organizations. Congress may also consider additional legislation to ensure that private sector systems are compliant, to establish emergency preparedness measures to address problems that might occur, and to limit liability associated with Y2K failures for manufacturers and industry groups.
Many companies or governmental entities provide or use transportation systems that are heavily dependent on computers, software, and other technologies that do not have Y2K problems, e.g., they are Y2K compliant or ready. Some transportation systems, however, still use technologies with Y2K problems, which if left uncorrected, could pose safety risks or efficiency concerns on or after January 1, 2000. The extent and nature of those impacts are expected to vary among the modes of transportation and among various providers or users. In addition, Y2K-related problems occurring in the communications and energy industries could reduce the safety and efficiency of some transportation systems in early January 2000. Operations at some foreign ports and international air traffic control systems with Y2K problems also could adversely affect shipments and flights into and out of the United States. The total amount that has been spent to assess and fix Y2K problems affecting transportation is not known, but estimates suggest that at least $1 billion of private sector, transit authority, and federal funds have been or will soon be allocated for that purpose.
Some policymakers, believing that disparities in broadband access across American society could have adverse economic and social consequences on those left behind, assert that the federal government should play a more active role to avoid a “digital divide” in broadband access. One approach is for the federal government to provide financial assistance to support broadband deployment in underserved areas. Others, however, believe that federal assistance for broadband deployment is not appropriate. Some opponents question the reality of the “digital divide,” and argue that federal intervention in the broadband marketplace would be premature and, in some cases, counterproductive.
Unsolicited commercial e-mail (UCE), also called “spam” or “junk e-mail,” aggravates many computer users. 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. Proponents of UCE insist it is a legitimate marketing technique and protected by the First Amendment. Legislation to place limits on UCE was considered by the last three Congresses (105th-107th), but no federal law was enacted (27 states have anti-spam laws, however). Two bills have been introduced in the 108th Congress: S. 563 (Dayton) and S. 877 (Burns).
This report discusses rules governing acceptance of gifts by government employees and how social media and the concept of being "friends" on a social media network effect the personal friendship clause of the gift ethics rules.
This report focuses on the ways in which the states' efforts to impose requirements on out-of-state retailers are limited by the Constitution. The report discusses recent state legislation as well as legislation introduced in the two most recent Congresses.
This report discusses major provisions of the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 that are set to expire in 2013. This report has been updated to reflect FY2013 enacted funding levels--as contained in P.L. 113- 6 (Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013)--for specified COMPETES related accounts.
This report discusses the idea that all Americans should be able to afford access to the telecommunications network; this is commonly called the “universal service concept” and can trace its origins back to the 1934 Communications Act. The current policy debate has focused on five concerns: the scope of the program; who should contribute and what methodology should be used to fund the program; eligibility criteria for benefits; concerns over possible program fraud, waste, and abuse; and the impact of the Antideficiency Act (ADA) on the USF.
The Clean Coal Technology (CCT) program, started in the 1980's and funded generously in the early 1990's, has completed most of its surviving projects and has not funded any new ones since 1994. However, President Bush’s FY2002 budget outline proposed spending $2 billion over 10 years on a restructured CCT program. It is not clear what kind of projects would be included in the new program.
This report addresses the cyber-vulnerability of critical infrastructure industries which regularly use industrial control systems. Industrial control systems may be vulnerable to infiltration by different routes, including wireless transmission, direct access to control system computers, exploitation of dial-up modems used for maintenance, or through the Internet. This report will specifically discuss the potential for access to industrial control systems through the Internet.
Forty-three countries, including the United States, have signed the Council of Europe’s Convention on Cybercrime of November 2001. The U.S. Senate ratified the Convention on August 3, 2006. The Convention seeks to better combat cybercrime by harmonizing national laws, improving investigative abilities, and boosting international cooperation. Supporters argue that the Convention will enhance deterrence, while critics counter it will have little effect without participation by countries in which cybercriminals operate freely. Others warn it will endanger privacy and civil liberties.
This report provides background on law enforcement's use of technology vulnerabilities in criminal investigations. It also provides information on the government's system by which agencies collectively determine whether to maintain or disclose newly discovered vulnerabilities. The report also outlines a range of policy issues that may arise regarding the use and disclosure of vulnerabilities in technology.
From a public policy perspective, the goals are to ensure that broadband deployment is timely, that industry competes fairly, and that service is provided to all sectors and geographical locations of American society. The federal government -- through Congress and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) -- is seeking to ensure fair competition among the players so that broadband will be available and affordable in a timely manner to all Americans who want it. While the FCC's position is not to intervene at this time, some assert that legislation is necessary to ensure fair competition and timely broadband deployment. One proposal would ease certain legal restrictions and requirements, imposed by the Telecommunications Act of 1996, on incumbent telephone companies who provide high speed data (broadband) access. Another proposal would compel cable companies to provide "open access" to competing Internet service providers.
This is one part in the series of reports that provide a background and analysis, and most recent developments regarding broadband or high-speed Internet access. The report starts out by answering questions; what is broadband and why is it important? This report also discusses broadband technologies, the status of broadband deployment and the related policy issues, as well as the legislation in congress.
This report provides references to analytical reports on cybersecurity from CRS, other government agencies, trade associations, and interest groups. The reports and related websites are grouped under a variety of cybersecurity topics.
This report provides references to analytical reports on cybersecurity from CRS, other government agencies, trade associations, and interest groups. The reports and related websites are grouped under the following cybersecurity topics: policy overview; National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC); cloud computing and FedRAMP; critical infrastructure; cybercrime, data breaches and data security; national security, cyber espionage, and cyberwar (including Stuxnet); international efforts; education/training/workforce; and research and development (R&D).
This report intends to clarify significant issues in the remote sales tax collection debate, beginning with a description of state and local sales and use taxes. Congress has a role in this issue because interstate commerce, in most cases, falls under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution.
This report provides links to selected authoritative resources related to cybersecurity issues. This report includes information on Legislation, Executive Orders and Presidential Directives, Data and Statistics, Cybersecurity Glossaries", Reports by Topic, Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports, White House/Office of Management and Budget reports, Military/DOD, Cloud Computing, Critical Infrastructure, National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC), Cybercrime/Cyberwar, International, Education/Training/Workforce, and Research and Development (R&D)
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.
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