By Camille Tuutti // September 30, 2014
Nearly a decade after late Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, described the Internet as “a series of tubes,” the famous phrase lives on as a reminder of how clueless some politicians remain about technology.
But how bad is that oblivion, really, among our lawmakers? According to Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., it’s pretty bad.
“We still have a significant number of senators or members of Congress who don’t have a computer on their desk,” he said. “That’s not the real world -- we need to bring Congress up to date.”
Traditionally, the government is at least a generation behind in technology, said McHenry, who spoke Sept. 30 at Data Transparency 2014, organized by the Data Transparency Coalition. As an example, he cited one government bureau that until 2006 used Windows 95 with a DOS prompt.
“2006,” McHenry marveled. “So government really needs to be brought up to speed.”
Although the Obama administration has taken strides in understanding and implementing technology, it remains a “lurching bureaucracy,” McHenry said. In particular, the Securities and Exchange Commission “has a great skepticism of technology,” he added.
Not all members of Congress are neo-luddites, of course. Rep. Darrell Issa, who chairs the House Oversight ...