Congressional Research Service Reports - Browse

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Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP): History and Overview

Description: This report provides an overview of the history of science and technology (S&T) advice to the President and discusses selected recurrent issues for Congress regarding 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).
Date: March 28, 2016
Creator: Shea, Dana A. & Sargent, John F., Jr.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Encryption: Selected Legal Issues

Description: This report first provides background to the ongoing encryption debate, including a primer on encryption basics and an overview of Apple, Google, and Facebook's new encryption policies. Next, it provides an overview of the Fifth Amendment right to be free from self-incrimination.
Date: March 3, 2016
Creator: Thompson, Richard M., II & Jaikaran, Chris
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Broadband Internet Regulation and Access: Background and Issues

Description: This report discusses broadband Internet, examining what it is and the various technologies that allow for its transmission. Broadband or high-speed Internet access is provided by technologies that give users the ability to send and receive data at volumes and speeds far greater than access over traditional telephone lines; it also provides a continuous, "always on" connection (no need to dial-up) and a "twoway" capability, that is, the ability to both receive (download) and transmit (upload) data at high speeds.
Date: June 14, 2006
Creator: Gilroy, Angele A. & Kruger, Lennard G.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Court-Ordered Access to Smart Phones: In Brief

Description: 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.
Date: February 23, 2016
Creator: Finklea, Kristin; Thompson, Richard M., II & Jaikaran, Chris
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Federal Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Program: Background, Funding, and Activities

Description: 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.
Date: February 16, 2016
Creator: Moloney Figliola, Patricia
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Big Data in U.S. Agriculture

Description: 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?
Date: January 6, 2016
Creator: Stubbs, Megan
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Encryption and Evolving Technology: Implications for U.S. Law Enforcement Investigations

Description: 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.
Date: February 18, 2016
Creator: Finklea, Kristin
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Federal Cybersecurity Workforce: Background and Congressional Oversight Issues for the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security

Description: 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).
Date: January 8, 2016
Creator: Francis, Kathryn A. & Ginsberg, Wendy
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Using Data to Improve Defense Acquisitions: Background, Analysis, and Questions for Congress

Description: 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.
Date: January 5, 2016
Creator: Schwartz, Moshe
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Data Security and Breach Notification Legislation: Selected Legal Issues

Description: 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.
Date: December 28, 2015
Creator: Dolan, Alissa M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Cybersecurity: Overview Reports and Links to Government, News, and Related Resources

Description: 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.
Date: March 2, 2016
Creator: Tehan, Rita
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Renewed Crypto Wars?

Description: 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.
Date: February 9, 2016
Creator: Finklea, Kristin
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Broadband Internet Access and the Digital Divide: Federal Assistance Programs

Description: 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.
Date: October 31, 2006
Creator: Kruger, Lennard G. & Gilroy, Angele A.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Advanced Technology Program

Description: 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
Date: July 25, 2003
Creator: Schacht, Wendy H.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Net Neutrality: Background and Issues

Description: 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.
Date: August 1, 2007
Creator: Gilroy, Angele A.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

America COMPETES Acts: FY2008 to FY2013 Funding Tables

Description: 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.
Date: October 31, 2014
Creator: Gonzalez, Heather B.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Telecommunications Discounts for Schools and Libraries: The “E-Rate” Program and Controversies

Description: 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.
Date: July 28, 2005
Creator: Gilroy, Angele A.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Cybersecurity and Information Sharing: Legal Challenges and Solutions

Description: 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.
Date: March 16, 2015
Creator: Nolan, Andrew
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department