Congressional Research Service Reports - Browse

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Federal R&D Funding Under a Continuing Resolution
This report discusses the continuing resolution, or CR (P.L. 109-383, H.J.Res. 102) which provides spending at FY2006 levels (through February 15, 2007), for those agencies lacking enacted FY2007 appropriations bills.
FEMA Flood Map Modernization Funding
This report discusses the implementation of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)'s Flood Map Modernization (Map Mod) Initiative (FMMI) and its ongoing Map Mod program. FEMA introduced the FMMI in September 1997 as a strategic plan to convert paper flood insurance rate maps (FIRMs) to digital electronic format, or DFIRMs.
Broadband Internet Regulation and Access: Background and Issues
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.
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.
Broadband Internet Access and the Digital Divide: Federal Assistance Programs
This report provides an overview of the "digital divide", which is a term used to describe a perceived gap between those Americans who use or have access to telecommunications and information technologies and those who do not.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
The Transition to Digital Television: Is America Ready?
This report discusses the background and potential effects of the DTV Delay Act, which directs that all over-the-air full-power television broadcasts will become digital only.
Broadband Internet Regulation and Access: Background and Issues
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.
Digital Television: An Overview
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. This report discusses 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.
Broadband Internet Regulation and Access: Background and Issues
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 "two-way" capability, that is, the ability to both receive (download) and transmit (upload) data at high speeds.
Internet Gambling: A Sketch of Legislative Proposals in the 108th and 109th Congresses
This report examines two bills that have been introduced in the 109th Congress to address issues regarding Internet gambling.
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.
State Sales Taxation of Internet Transactions
This report examines state taxation of Internet transactions as well as efforts to achieve uniform state sales and use tax treatment.
Dual-Use Biological Equipment: Difficulties in Domestic Regulation
A question in the current debate over chemical and biological terrorism is: how well do current United States policies limit opportunities to terrorist groups for acquisition of such weapons? The domestic purchase and use of “dual-use” biological equipment, such as fermenters, centrifuges, and other equipment, is one area suggested as potentially providing opportunities for terrorist, biological weapons development. Dual-use equipment has both legitimate civilian and military use. Regulating international sale of dual-use equipment is used as a nonproliferation policy tool. Similar regulation of domestic sales has not been employed. This report will discuss the difficulties of applying domestic controls on dual-use biological equipment and the potential advantages and disadvantages of doing so.
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.
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.
“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.
“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.
Internet Taxation: Issues and Legislation
The Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA) placed a three-year moratorium on the ability of state and local governments to (1) impose new taxes on Internet access or (2) impose any multiple or discriminatory taxes on electronic commerce. The act grandfathered the state and local access taxes that were “... generally imposed and actually enforced prior to October 1, 1998 ....” This report discusses issues of state and local taxation of Internet transactions because commerce conducted by parties in different states over the Internet.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Engineered Nanoscale Materials and Derivative Products: Regulatory Challenges
The purpose of this report is to consider certain challenges faced by federal EHS (environmental, human health and safety) risk assessors, risk managers, and policy makers, and to discuss possible legislative approaches to address those challenges.
Science and Technology Policymaking: A Primer
This report provides a basic understanding of science and technology policy including the nature of S&T policy, how scientific and technical knowledge is useful for public policy decisionmaking, and an overview of the key stakeholders in science and technology policy.
The Transition to Digital Television: Is America Ready?
This report discusses the background and potential effects of the DTV Delay Act, which directs that all over-the-air full-power television broadcasts will become digital only.
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 that would be capable of addressing the problems and issues the government needed to solve and study.
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.
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.
"Spam": An Overview of Issues Concerning Commercial Electronic Mail
This report discusses Spam, also called unsolicited commercial email (UCE) or "junk email." Not only can Spam 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 that is protected by the First Amendment. This report discusses this issue in detail, as well as related legislation.
The Transition to Digital Television: Is America Ready?
This report discusses the background and potential effects of the DTV Delay Act, which directs that all over-the-air full-power television broadcasts will become digital only.
Broadband Internet Access and the Digital Divide: Federal Assistance Programs
This report provides an overview of the "digital divide", which is a term used to describe a perceived gap between those Americans who use or have access to telecommunications and information technologies and those who do not.
America COMPETES Act and the FY2010 Budget
This report discusses in detail the America COMPETES Act, which is intended to increase the nation's investment in research and development (R&D), and in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. This report discusses the funding increases authorized by the act for various relevant institutions, e.g., the National Science Foundation (NSF); the act's education activities intended to enhance the skills of STEM educators; and if Congress will continue to similarly fund the America COMPETES Act in the FY2010 budget.
The Transition to Digital Television: Is America Ready?
This report discusses the background and potential effects of the DTV Delay Act, which directs that all over-the-air full-power television broadcasts will become digital only.
The President's Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP): Issues for Congress
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.
The President's Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP): Issues for Congress
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.
The President's Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP): Issues for Congress
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.
Geospatial Information and Geographic Information Systems (GIS): Current Issues and Future Challenges
This report provides a primer on geospatial data and GIS and provides several examples of their use. The report discusses issues that may be of interest to Congress: sharing, coordination, and management of geospatial information, including examples of legislation. Finally, recommendations are included from several organizations for how to improve the coordination and management of geospatial information at the federal and state levels.
Broadband Internet Regulation and Access: Background and Issues
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.
The U.S. Science and Technology Workforce
This report provides an overview of the status of the U.S. science and technology (S&T) workforce, and identifies some of the issues and options that are currently being discussed in Congress.